A former executive assistant to B.C.'s minister of transportation and infrastructure has accused Christy Clark's B.C. Liberal government of "widespread and most likely systemic" abuse of the freedom-of-information process.
Tim Duncan says he was ordered in November 2014 to delete email records of ministry officials' meetings related to the missing women on the Highway of Tears. In a bombshell May 18 letter to the B.C. information and privacy commissioner, Duncan alleges that a ministerial assistant ordered him to delete them.
"When I hesitated, he took away my keyboard, deleted the emails and returned the keyboard stating, 'It's done. Now you don't have to worry about it anymore,'" Duncan wrote.
In January 2015, Duncan claims he "again questioned the appropriateness of deleting emails after an FOI request", this time to B.C. Liberal caucus research director Jen Wizinsky.
"It's like in the West Wing. You do whatever it takes to win," Duncan alleges Wizinsky said.
According to Duncan, the 2014 event was "not an isolated incident".
"When Freedom of Information (FOI) requests are made for ministerial staff emails, it concerns me that political appointees are allowed to self-report their response. This allows for misconduct to occur, and often a 'No records' response to be reported," Duncan wrote in his letter.
The B.C. NDP has pounced on the allegations.
“These are shocking accusations,” NDP Leader John Horgan stated in a news release. “If these claims are true, they speak volumes about this government’s obsessive need for secrecy and its contempt for the public. This is like keeping the paper shredder running in the back room all night; it’s a symptom of a sick government.”
Horgan also said: “The letter says it all about how Christy Clark’s government approaches its responsibilities to the people of B.C. 'You do whatever it takes to win.’ Even when it involves missing and murdered women.”