Saskatchewan’s opposition NDP is renewing calls for an investigation into Premier Brad Wall’s use of a private email server.
A new report from Saskatchewan’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Ron Kruzeniski encourages government leaders to use government email systems provided by the Ministry of Central Services.
“Central Services’ has the mandate, resources, and expertise to support and manage the Government of Saskatchewan email system, including ensuring the security of email accounts. The public can also be reassured that Central Services’ practices are adequate through audits conducted by the Provincial Auditor,” wrote Kruzeniski in the report, which is a result of an access to information request appeal filed by the NDP.
Wall’s use of private emails came to the fore in May, when the NDP requested documents relating to a 2016 trip he had taken to Texas. The premier’s office responded to the access to information request by releasing a portion, but not all, of the documentation requested.
The NDP learned one of the documents involved contained a private email address belonging to Wall, and an appeal was filed to obtain the outstanding documents. In his ruling, Kruzeniski recommends that the premier’s office should release portions of the documents it had previously withheld.
He also writes, “Questions about security and records management arise if and when government leaders or employees use non-government email accounts to do government-related activities.”
Wall told reporters and the Legislative Assembly in May he would, from time to time, use his Sask. Party email for government business.
“The server is provided by a Regina company that’s housed at the Sask. Party headquarters. It’s a Sask. Party domain name that has been my email, this particular email account that I’ll use from time to time,” he said on May 15.
The premier later said he would be stopping the practice and using a government email account for government business.
Interim NDP leader Trent Wotherspoon says the report, “really exposes the premier for hiding this from Saskatchewan people, and of course it also exposes the fact they were hiding the domain name, hiding the fact they were using this private political server housed at their party office. The question is why are they hiding that? Why are they housing this information inappropriately over at their party office?”
He is renewing calls he made in May to have the matter of Wall’s private email use fully investigated by Kruzenski’s office.
“Clearly the premier and the Sask. Party cabinet have been hiding information from Saskatchewan people and from authorities, like the auditor and the privacy commissioner, by using and housing information on their private political server that’s located over at the Sask. Party office,” said Wotherspoon.
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