B.C. Liberal Party rehires executive director despite criminal charges related to deleted emails

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      The B.C. Liberal Party has rehired Laura Miller as its executive director.

      Miller faces criminal charges in Ontario related to the destruction of government records during her time as deputy chief of staff to former Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty. She's accused of deleting emails that related to the cancellation of two gas-fired power plants.

      Miller previously held the position of executive director for the B.C. Liberal Party beginning in 2013. She resigned from that position last December so that she could focus full-time on her defence.

      Now, the Liberal party says Miller is ready to resume her work in B.C.

      Premier Christy Clark is quoted in a media release throwing her support behind the move.

      “It’s the fair and right approach—one that respects our court process, including the fundamental principle that every person is innocent unless proven otherwise,” Clark said quoted there.

      “We all know Laura for her hard work and her integrity. Her return means she can continue to make an outstanding contribution to our party.”

      Several members of Clark’s own government have been accused of deleting emails. One of them is George Gretes, a former ministerial assistant who on March 11 was charged under the B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Protection Act with two counts of willfully making false statements to mislead or attempt to mislead.

      Those charges relate to an investigation by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of B.C. (OIPC) which found that several offices of the B.C. Liberal government failed to adequately create and maintain records. It also found evidence of at least two government employees “triple deleting” emails to permanently clear their systems of any trace of those records.

      Since the OIPC’s report was released last October, the Straight has compiled a list of Liberal politicians and government employees who have been caught deleting emails, have claimed they don’t use email, or who have otherwise aroused suspicion for questionable communication practices.

      The list stands at 10 names.

      In addition to Gretes, the premier’s deputy chief of staff, Michele Cadario, was also found to have deleted emails.

      The OIPC report also singles out Nick Facey, chief of staff to the minister of advanced education, for failing to adequately maintain email records.

      Meanwhile, the Straight reported last October that the B.C. NDP has evidence of missing emails from accounts used by John Dyble, deputy minister to the premier; Tobie Myers, chief of staff to the minister of natural-gas development; and Stephen Brown, deputy to the health minister. Freelance journalist Bob Mackin has also said he has information that suggests emails were missing from accounts belonging to Sam Oliphant and Maclean Kay, both of whom worked in the premier’s office as media-relations officers.

      Finally, earlier this month it was reported B.C. finance minister Mike de Jong doesn't use email. The premier herself has similarly said she prefers to communicate orally.

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