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The lost emails

Re: the “lost” emails in the Virk Basi case.

This travesty is being played up as either a matter of following normal procedure or an error or both.

It’s clear that the government was under no obligation to delete this information.

Here is the sticking point for the government.

The Attorney General is the law officer of the Crown and has a duty to see that the administration of public affairs is in accordance with the law.

Here is what the Act, in part, says:

Duties and powers

2 The Attorney General

(a) is the official legal adviser of the Lieutenant Governor and the legal member of the Executive Council,

(b) must see that the administration of public affairs is in accordance with law,

(d) must advise on the legislative acts and proceedings of the Legislature and generally advise the government on all matters of law referred to the Attorney General by the government,

(f) must advise the heads of the ministries of the government on all matters of law connected with the ministries,

(g) is charged with the settlement of all instruments issued under the Great Seal of British Columbia,

Surely even the most narrow of interpretations of the above would compel the Attorney-General, from the outset to make it clear that all documentary evidence including emails, especially emails, must be retained and made available to Crown Counsel and, upon demand, by defense counsel.

I don’t say that the “fix was in” only that this is an interpretation one might suspect given that the case is an embarrassment to the government, at least one former cabinet minister is under a cloud, and that it would be in the government’s interest to have this case go away.

This simple question must be directed to former Attorney-General Wally Oppal “Did you, upon learning about the Virk/Basi case immediately advise all government ministries and, particularly Premier Campbell that ALL documents in possession of the government concerning this case be retained and made available to Crown Counsel?”

Whatever answer Mr Oppal gives will cast some light on whether or not the Campbell government behaved properly.

One Response to “The lost emails”

  1. Dan says:

    Good afternoon Rafe,

    If memory serves me correctly, in his first term as Premier Gordon Campbell issued a directive to his cabinet ministers that sensitive issues were to be handled with face to face meetings. (No minutes to be taken.) As little as possible should be put in letters or memos, and by extension that would include e-mails. Paper communication has to be saved but there are no such requirements on e-mail.

    Best regards,

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