CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — Whose e-gaming emails were deleted? Islanders finally have the answer.
Auditor General Jane MacAdam told the public accounts committee Wednesday the missing emails belonged to:
• Chris LeClair, former chief of staff to former premier Robert Ghiz
• Melissa MacEachern, former deputy minister of Tourism and Innovation
• Rory Beck, former clerk of executive council who passed away suddenly of natural causes in April 2012
MacAdam also clarified this was not simply a matter of email accounts removed after these individuals left the employment of government.
There were important government records contained in these three email accounts that should have been kept and saved externally. In the course of her investigation into e-gaming, MacAdam discovered these records were not kept and saved, as is required by law.
“The issue is not so much that the accounts were removed, the issues is that when they were removed there were government records that were not retained,” MacAdam told the public accounts committee Wednesday.
“We know that to be a fact because we received emails to and from those individuals… from a separate public body. They should have been maintained within that office or within that department because that’s what the legislation requires.”
The issue of the deleted emails was a dominant one during the recent fall session of the legislature. The auditor general raised concern about the missing emails in her e-gaming report, but since she does not identify individuals by name in her reports, the identity of the email account holders was unknown.
Opposition MLAs took to asking the government every day in the legislature, “Whose emails accounts were deleted?” And every day, government ministers and the premier replied with different reasons about why they could or would not answer this question.
In year-end interviews, Premier Wade MacLauchlan said the email accounts were removed and overwritten as part of normal practice in government when individuals leave the employment of the province. He even suggested he might release the names of all 2,500 former employees whose accounts have been removed as a response to the Opposition’s question.
But the auditor general said Wednesday this was not a simple matter of email accounts being overwritten after employees left the province.
“In these three cases… we didn’t receive any records for these individuals, and we would have expected to receive records based on our knowledge of the file,” MacAdam said.
“Based on our knowledge of the file, it didn’t seem reasonable that there wouldn’t be any records for these individuals, and in fact we determined that there were records. They just weren’t retained by government because we got them from other sources.”
During the meeting, Opposition MLAs voiced their frustration over the lack of repercussions for MacEachern and LeClair, who not only failed to retain emails, but also were found to be in perceived conflicts of interest on the e-gaming file, according to the auditor general.
“There’s no consequences for breaking policies. Period,” Trivers said.
“What consequences do you want? Their names are in a public report and they’ve just been listed. Would you want your name in there?” Brown replied.
Steven Myers says he has been hearing from many Islanders who have noted that people in the private sector who break rules or laws face consequences.
“The only way to fix this is for there to be some sort of a punishment when you do break rules, because they’re flagrant about it and when they do break the rules nothing happens,” Myers said.