Government quizzed over fired employee's computer
The Saskatchewan Party continued its attack on the government over the Murdoch Carriere case Thursday, demanding to know who gave an order to erase the civil servant's computer data.
Carriere is the former director of fire management and forest protection in Prince Albertwho was fired in 2003 after allegations were made that he sexually harassed some female government employees.
He sued the government and several newspapers over information released to the media in connection with the case.
In 2006, he was found guilty of assaulting two women, but not guilty of two counts of sexual assault.
Last week, the Saskatchewan government confirmed he received $275,000 in an out-of-court settlement.
For a second day in a row, the Saskatchewan Party spent most of question period quizzing the New Democrats about the case, accusing the government of a coverup and asking why Carriere got $275,000 while the complainants got $15,000 apiece.
The debate turned hot when Saskatchewan Party MLA Ken Krawetz started asking Public Service Commission Minister Pat Atkinson about a Queen's Bench court decision from August 2005.
The judge in that case referred to an April 2003 RCMP memothat referred to concerns raised by Environment Department employee Jim Pattison.
"Pattison has been directed by senior management to erase Carriere's hard drive off of his computer. Pattison is afraid that evidence may be destroyed and wanted the RCMP to be aware. End of quote,"Krawetz said, quoting from the decision.
"Mr. Speaker, who gave that order and was Murdoch Carriere's hard drive eventually erased?" Krawetz asked.
Atkinson didn't answer the question directly, accusing the Opposition of trying to smear the government.
"No cabinet minister interfered with this case," she said.
Later, the government confirmed it still has Carriere's hard drive and it was not erased.
Atkinson told reporters she doesn't know who gavethe order to erase the hard drive,if in fact it was given.
The government will be looking into that over the weekend, Atkinson said.