Manitobans still remain in the dark when it comes to how their premier communicates while in Costa Rica and a series of odd, often contradictory statements by Brian Pallister have only added to the mystery.

Does he use a government-issued cell phone or government email? How do staff reach him while he is on vacation? What is the communication protocol for when the premier is abroad?

It all began when a freedom-of-information request by the New Democrats revealed no records of him emailing or phoning senior staff while at his vacation home in the Central American country. If you ask the NDP, it's a sign the premier is unplugged while he is abroad.

Pallister says that isn't so, but has refused to offer more details. He said it would be a security risk to give out that information. He contends that while records may not show up through a freedom-of-information request, it also means information and communications sent to him are secure. 

CBC News went through two media scrums with Pallister and Hansard from the legislature this week in an effort to fact-check and clarify some of his statements.

Pallister on using a government phone and government email

What he said: "I understand that is a challenge, with certain means of communication, it is a difficult thing to track. And I also understand it is difficult to track if you are not using a government-issued device. But you have to marry that will concern about access and protection. So I am trying to find the best possible system to safeguard both of those things. To be transparent, which why I am out here, because I value that. At the same time I want to make sure Manitobans aren't reluctant to contact me on the basis they are concerned that information will get out."

Pallister on government communication protocols

He said: "I am following the same protocols that the previous government utilized, no one asked the previous government anything about these questions. I am answering the same way they would have if they had been asked because our instructions are clear: don't outline how you communicate too clearly because it would facilitate those who might try to find out what the confidential info that you are dealing with is.

"I'm in contact everyday, I am available everyday, not to suggest every Sunday someone on staff is going to give me a phone call. I endeavour to make sure I am available."

Pallister on how every government would refuse to offer this information

He said: "The system that hasn't facilitated leaks because it is not fully known to the world and that is part of maintaining security. I am told that was the same instructions given to the (previous government) and that they followed it. They did not share with you how exactly they communicated.

"If you ask me questions about specific protocols to how I communicate I will not be forthcoming, nor would the previous government, nor would any government in Canada."

Pallister on vacation days

He said: "I work harder than any premier that has been here for a long, long time. I don't have to defend my work ethic to you or anyone else and I won't. I take less vacation than the previous premier and the one before that. Yet nobody asks those questions. I know that. You do your research."

Breaking down Pallister's communications5:07