Thursday, July 16, 2009

 

The dog really did eat Gordo's homework, Part II.

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Destruction of e-mail records puts heat on B.C. Premier
Employee ordered to delete records in May, court file says


GARY MASON
From Thursday's Globe and Mail - July 16, 2009

gmason@globeandmail.com

Tapes containing the e-mail correspondence of B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell and members of his cabinet that lawyers in a government corruption trial have insisted are critical to the defence of their clients were ordered destroyed in early May, The Globe and Mail has learned.

According to several sources, the person responsible for managing the government e-mail delivery service has filed an affidavit in court that contains the potentially politically explosive information.

In her affidavit, Rosemarie Hayes, director of Messaging and Collaboration Services, Workplace Technology Services (WTS), states that at the beginning of May of this year, her department requested that backup tapes of government e-mails created prior to May of 2004 be expunged from the system. The e-mails are the subject of a legal proceeding and as such should not have been deleted, according to the government's own guidelines. {Snip} ...

[Are you kiddin' us, Gary? "Collaboration Services" ...? - BC Mary]

The order would have been given during this spring's provincial election, in which questions around Mr. Campbell's involvement in the sale of BC Rail - at the centre of the corruption case - was an issue. Mr. Campbell's Liberal Party easily won the May 12 contest.

The new information would appear to contradict statements made in court last month by government lawyer George Copley. {Snip} ...

The defence has already entered into evidence e-mail correspondence between lobbyists representing one of the bidders for CN Rail - OminTrax - and key government officials.

The defence believes the executive branch e-mails would contain more of this kind of information, which it asserts shows that those outside of government were receiving privileged cabinet intelligence about the BC Rail sale from a number of sources inside the B.C. Legislature, including senior elected officials.

Gary Mason's complete column from The Globe and Mail's national edition HERE.

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The Globe and Mail has almost immediately closed down the Comments section on this story "for legal reasons". - BC Mary.

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Someday soon, we must have a giant celebration of the commentors who provide us with information like this (already posted under "Comments" but worthy of the main page too). Thanks a million, Anon. - BC Mary.


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The dog really did eat Gordo's homework, Part II.":

A selection from the contents of the Document Disposal Act
found at the following site:

Approvals required
3 (1) A document must not be destroyed except on the written recommendation of the Public Documents Committee, which consists of the chief executive officer of the museum or a person designated by the chief executive officer, a person designated by the minister responsible for the administration of this Act, the Comptroller General, and 3 other persons to be named by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

(2) A document must not be destroyed before the expiration of 7 years from the date on which it was created unless one of the following conditions is met:
(a) 2 years have expired from the date on which the document was created and a microfilm copy of it is available to the officer who would, but for the destruction, have charge or custody of the document;
(b) a recommendation under subsection (1) has been approved by the Legislative Assembly on the recommendation of the Select Standing Committee of the Legislative Assembly on Public Accounts and Economic Affairs;
(c) the document is
(i) listed in a records schedule approved by the Select Standing Committee of the Legislative Assembly on Public Accounts and Economic Affairs, and
(ii) destroyed in accordance with the instructions in the records schedule.
(3) Subject to subsections (1) and (2), the Lieutenant Governor in Council may, on the recommendation of the minister having jurisdiction over the ministry concerned, order
(a) that any public document or any class or series of documents then in charge of the ministry be transferred to the archives or Provincial Library immediately or on the expiration of the periods after the dates at which they were created as are specified in the order, and
(b) that any public document or class or series of documents then in the charge of the ministry be destroyed immediately or on the expiration of the periods after the dates at which they were created as are specified in the order.
(4) A document deposited in a record office must not be destroyed without the approval of the Attorney General, and
(a) in the case of an office of the Court of Appeal, without the further approval of the Chief Justice of British Columbia, and
(b) in the case of an office of the Supreme Court, without the further approval of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
(5) Every approval under subsection (4) must
(a) be in writing,
(b) designate the document to be disposed of, and
(c) be kept on file in the ministerial office, or record office to which it relates.
Municipality may deposit documents in archives
4 With the consent of the chief executive officer of the museum, a municipality or regional district, or a board of education or francophone education authority as defined in the School Act, may deposit any of its noncurrent documents with the museum for preservation in the archives.

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Comments:
Mary,

There's another issue here that Gary Mason should look at. There are specific protocols which cover the whole of the public service relative to FOI and court discovery processes.

It's my understanding that this issue is a bigger one than the destruction of the emails...all such materials should already have been forwarded to the Court (or sequestered because privilege was claimed) long before there was any chance they could be destroyed 'by mistake'.

All such requests for compliance, including FOI requests, go to all ministries requiring them to search their files and forward this information.

Mason should talk to someone in legal services to confirm this because what's going on here is both blatant AND contrary to standard practice.

In other words, the destruction could not have been accidental....
 
This is pretty much going to make for a good day in court today. Sure wish I could make it there.

I can't help thinking that Campbell was in a paranoia mode just before the election. About the time the polls were contradicting each other. If that theory is correct then the timing of the destruction of these emails would make sense.
How many other documents were destroyed at that time?
 
A selection from the contents of the Document Disposal Act

found at the following site:

http://www.bclaws.ca/Recon/document/freeside/--%20D%20--/Document%20Disposal%20Act%20%20RSBC%201996%20%20c.%2099/00_96099_01.xml#section3


Approvals required
3 (1) A document must not be destroyed except on the written recommendation of the Public Documents Committee, which consists of the chief executive officer of the museum or a person designated by the chief executive officer, a person designated by the minister responsible for the administration of this Act, the Comptroller General, and 3 other persons to be named by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

(2) A document must not be destroyed before the expiration of 7 years from the date on which it was created unless one of the following conditions is met:
(a) 2 years have expired from the date on which the document was created and a microfilm copy of it is available to the officer who would, but for the destruction, have charge or custody of the document;
(b) a recommendation under subsection (1) has been approved by the Legislative Assembly on the recommendation of the Select Standing Committee of the Legislative Assembly on Public Accounts and Economic Affairs;
(c) the document is
(i) listed in a records schedule approved by the Select Standing Committee of the Legislative Assembly on Public Accounts and Economic Affairs, and
(ii) destroyed in accordance with the instructions in the records schedule.
(3) Subject to subsections (1) and (2), the Lieutenant Governor in Council may, on the recommendation of the minister having jurisdiction over the ministry concerned, order
(a) that any public document or any class or series of documents then in charge of the ministry be transferred to the archives or Provincial Library immediately or on the expiration of the periods after the dates at which they were created as are specified in the order, and
(b) that any public document or class or series of documents then in the charge of the ministry be destroyed immediately or on the expiration of the periods after the dates at which they were created as are specified in the order.
(4) A document deposited in a record office must not be destroyed without the approval of the Attorney General, and
(a) in the case of an office of the Court of Appeal, without the further approval of the Chief Justice of British Columbia, and
(b) in the case of an office of the Supreme Court, without the further approval of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
(5) Every approval under subsection (4) must
(a) be in writing,
(b) designate the document to be disposed of, and
(c) be kept on file in the ministerial office, or record office to which it relates.
Municipality may deposit documents in archives
4 With the consent of the chief executive officer of the museum, a municipality or regional district, or a board of education or francophone education authority as defined in the School Act, may deposit any of its noncurrent documents with the museum for preservation in the archives.
 
Beautiful, just beautiful. That's the funny thing about building a house of cards. Eventually, they always fall.
 
I'll have to address this at the House - it could be a bombshell but a hint of what will be at the House is this

Rose Mary Woods was to Richard Nixon as Rosemarie Hayes may be to Nixon's minor league protege in crime - Gordon Campbell.

Maybe history doesn't so much repeat itself as ripple with similar patterns.
 
koot--

It's not the crime that get's 'em in the end.

It's the cover-up.

.
 
G West's bold point is an important one, "In other words, the destruction could not have been accidental..."

Gordon Campbell 2001:
"after winning a landslide victory, Campbell told reporters, 'We intend to open up our legislative institutions and we intend to be the most open and accountable government in the country.'"
http://thetyee.ca/News/2009/05/08/FOI/

I can't imagine what goes on in the mind of Gordon Campbell. And really, I don't want to know. I just want to know every action that he and his toadies have taken on "behalf" of the people of BC. I want it all to come out! We deserve to know: the BC Liberals have supposedly been in our employ.
 
The Premiers documents and those of his Ministers would fall under the Executive Records Schedule I believe, and that schedule is a bit different than the usual:

Executive Records (schedule 102906)
________________________________________
A SA FD
SO 10y SR
Executive records are the administrative and operational records of the offices of ministers, deputy ministers, assistant deputy ministers, and equivalent positions.
Included are records in all formats and media and records classified and scheduled under all primaries of the Administrative Records Classification System (ARCS) and Operational Records Classification System (ORCS) or other records schedules.
This special schedule for executive records takes precedence over retention periods and final dispositions indicated in ARCS and ORCS, unless one of those records classification systems specifies a longer retention period or full retention for a given record series.
SO = when file is closed
NOTE: Contact your Records Officer before disposing of any records from executive offices. Off-site storage and retrieval services may be arranged through Records Centre Services at (250) 387-1583.
10y = All executive records will be retained for a minimum combined active and semi-active retention period of ten years from the date of file closure. In some cases, a longer combined active and semi-active retention period may be required under ARCS or ORCS.
SR = The government archives will selectively retain executive records because of their significant operational, legal, historical, evidential, informational, or other values.
Executive records often document the development, implementation, operation, and evaluation of government legislation, programs, and services. Such records are unique primary source documents and will be retained.
The government archives will fully retain records which pertain to legal precedence, audits or special investigations.
The government archives will fully retain for their evidential value all policy and procedure files created by offices having primary responsibility for policy and procedure development and approval. Draft and duplicate materials which hold no evidential value may be purged and discarded.
Executive records may contain a large volume of transitory and ephemeral material. For example, ministers often receive high volumes of form letters relating to a single issue. In most instances, a sample will be retained and the rest will be discarded. In unusual instances, all letters may be retained.


I would think the BC Rail documents (no matter who generated them, or what they were) would have to be kept for 10 years under this ruling?
 
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