The former government staffer behind an accusation the Clark government is deliberately destroying emails linked to Freedom of Information requests says the problem is widespread across government.
“I had to write something. I had to do something. If it is not me, then who?”
Tim Duncan was asked if what he says happened to him happens elsewhere in government.
“This is a cultural thing. This is widespread. This is systemic.”
“There is a lot of email going through those offices and a lot of people are just treating them as transitory, which just means there are certain rules in the FOI system on what you have to report and what is not allowed. The joke is around the ministerial office is, is that everything is transitory so we can delete everything.”
Duncan says emails are deleted all the time.
“Everyone likes to delete everything they can so they don’t have to turn it over.”
As for being made out to be a disgruntled employee by the province, Duncan says that is the typical response from the provincial government anytime a whistle-blower steps forward.
“Instead of criticizing me and criticizing others who have done this type of thing I wish they would spend the time and effort they are taking doing this and looking for a better solution looking to fix the system they are using.”
Ordered to delete emails subject to Freedom of Information request
Duncan says the emails he was ordered to delete concerned BC’s so-called ‘Highway of Tears’, where women have been murdered or gone missing since the late 1960s.
When he pushed back on the order, a Ministerial Assistant took his keyboard and deleted the emails for him.
“I would have liked to have spoken to the Chief of Staff of government Dan Doyle. Unfortunately, they made it very clear to me that should I talk to them on any matter, I would not be employed in their office any longer.”
Duncan says the process under the Freedom of Information Act needs to change.
“I can’t understand for the life of me why political appointees are allowed to self report their email. Everything I believe is backed up to a server. So why don’t they go to the server and take the FOI request, when they get an FOI request why don’t they go to the server and get the emails directly from there.”
The Ministry of Transportation has confirmed a staff member has been suspended with pay, while B.C.’s privacy commissioner investigates.