Friday, June 7, 2013

By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday, June 7, 2013

Dalton McGuinty staffers deleted gas plant emails

Senior staff members in the offices of both the Ontario energy minister and former premier Dalton McGuinty intentionally deleted emails about the cancellation of gas plants in Oakville and Mississauga, according to the province’s privacy commissioner.

The finding, published in a special report Wednesday called Deleting Accountability: Records Management Practices of Political Staff, adds fuel to opposition accusations that Ontario’s Liberal government was trying to cover up the cost of cancelling the controversial projects.

After conducting a special investigation into NDP complaints, Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian determined that senior Liberal staff in McGuinty’s office broke the law by deleting all emails sent and received on the matter by former chiefs of staff.

The investigation was sparked after the NDP complained to Cavoukian that documents they had obtained through Freedom of Information requests did not contain emails for several top McGuinty aides.

“It is difficult to accept that the routine deletion of emails was not in fact an attempt by staff in the former minister’s office to avoid transparency and accountability in relation to their work,” Cavoukian wrote in her report.

“Further, I have trouble accepting that this practice was simply part of a benign attempt to efficiently manage one’s email accounts.”

She singled out David Livingston and Craig MacLennan, the former chiefs of staff for McGuinty and the energy minister respectively, and concluded that the offices violated the Archives and Recordkeeping Act and undermined the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. (Source: CBC News0 http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/dalton-mcguinty-staffers-broke-law-by-deleting-gas-plant-emails-1.1328461