The B.C. government is coming under heavy fire following the release of a report that revealed a culture of deleting emails in order to skirt freedom of information laws.
Speaking on CBC.'s B.C. Almanac Thursday, NDP leader John Horgan expressed disbelief at the level of suppression of information B.C.'s Privacy Officer Elizabeth Denham's report uncovered.
"[Cadario has] been cited as having no records," Horgan said. "Working in a location for two years and not one single email? You, the second most powerful person in the premier's office and you don't use email? That's hard to get your head around."
Denham's report, Access Denied, found that Michele Cadario, deputy chief of staff in the premier's office, routinely deleted emails in contravention of laws protecting the public's right to hold politicians accountable for their actions.
- Highway of Tears email deletion referred to RCMP by B.C. privacy watchdog
- Access Denied: Elizabeth Denham's full report
Denham also found that a staffer in the transportation ministry, George Gretes, could face charges after he lied under oath when he denied that he intentionally deleted emails and records connected to the Highway of Tears.
Delete, delete, delete
"People need to understand that it's not just about politics," Horgan said. "We're supposed to have freedom of information so the public understands why their government was making decisions on their behalf.
"Instead what the B.C. Liberals have done is make a culture of delete, delete, delete. They're scouring their computers at the end of the day so the public doesn't know what they're up to."
Also speaking on B.C. Almanac, freelance investigative journalist and FOI expert, Bob Mackin, said he believed today's revelations would prove to be "just the tip of the iceberg".
He also questioned the appointment of former B.C. Privacy Officer David Loukadelis as an advisor to help the government get back on track.
"He's been brought in at the expense of the taxpayer when they already have Elizabeth Denham who's already made so many recommendations that have fallen on deaf ears," he said.
"Why don't they just adopt everything she's already said?"