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PostPosted: Fri Oct 20, 2017 10:02 am    Post subject: McGuinty's chief of staff took lessons in deleting emails! Reply with quote

McGuinty’s chief of staff ‘learned’ how to double delete e-mails amid gas-plant backlash: court docs

OCTOBER 19, 2017

Former Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty's chief of staff got instructions on how to double delete e-mails in the summer of 2012, a period when the government was under mounting pressure to release documents related to the controversial cancellation of two gas-fired power plants, court documents show.

"I don't really have a strong desire to be email monitor for the Premier's Office," David Livingston, the chief of staff, says in an e-mail tabled as part of an exhibit at a criminal trial. But he says he has "learned a couple of things" after talking to David Nicholl, Ontario's corporate chief information officer: "if e-mails are 'double deleted' (meaning deleted from an INBOX and DELETE file) then they are gone and cannot be retrieved;" and if an e-mail that is to be double deleted has been forwarded, it will also have to be deleted from the "sent" file.

"Having said all of this, nothing is more confidential than talking rather than writing!" Mr. Livingston says in the e-mail dated Aug. 9, 2012, which was distributed to several staff members in the premier's office, according to the exhibit. "Just reading this, so no more triple delete?" one staffer asks. "Apparently not!" came the reply from another staffer.

Mr. Livingston and former deputy chief of staff Laura Miller are facing criminal breach of trust and mischief charges in connection with the destruction of e-mails and other government records related to the cancellation of the two power plants before the 2011 provincial election. Each has pleaded not guilty.

The charges stem from police accusations that Mr. Livingston hired a non-government IT expert, Ms. Miller's spouse, Peter Faist, to "wipe clean" computer hard drives in the Premier's Office just days before Mr. McGuinty stepped down in February, 2013.

The trial at Toronto's Old City Hall has heard from two witnesses about meetings they had with Mr. Livingston in August, 2012, when a legislative committee was demanding the release of gas-plant documents from the minority Liberal government. Peter Wallace, secretary of cabinet at the time, testified on Monday about a "tense conversation" he had with Mr. Livingston during a meeting that month, in which he told him he was "acutely worried" that the premier's office had not complied with a legally binding order to hand over documents in connection with the power plants.

Mr. Nicholl also testified last week that he met with Mr. Livingston in August of 2012, when the chief of staff asked about the process for deleting e-mails and expressed concern about e-mail accounts that were still open after some employees had left the premier's office.

Mr. Nicholl played a key role in helping Mr. Livingston get special access to computer hard drives in the premier's office during the transition from the McGuinty government to Premier Kathleen Wynne in early 2013, the trial was told.

While Mr. Wallace, now city manager of Toronto, approved the special access for Mr. Livingston, he testified that he did so after Mr. Nicholl told him seven people in the premier's office already had special access. Mr. Wallace said he was not aware at the time that the access given to Mr. Livingston was much more extensive, and said it is inconceivable that he would have approved it had he known that the chief of staff would use it to access government records held by other staff members.(Bolding added,)

On Jan. 31, 2013, the day Mr. Livingston got the special access, he sounded pleased, the e-mail exhibits show. "We have broken through," he said in response to an e-mail from Ms. Miller, asking "Any luck w the admin code?" Mr. Livingston adds in his e-mail that he will be talking to Mr. Nicholl that afternoon about how to "actually get the codes and move forward."

I don't know how this guy can plead "not guilty"? Are we expected to believe that Dalton McGoofs chief of staff did not know that computers are management tools, and that destroying government emails is something that might be frowned upon. And the present city manager of the City of Toronto aided and abetted him.

Does anybody take any responsibility for their decisions? It seems like a lost concept.
Particularly amongst all the emerging allegations at the time, is it possible that civil servants this senior didn't know what was in the background?

I simply find this implausible in the extreme. All these pliant civil servants had to know what was going on because scandal was heavy in the air.
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McGuinty's chief of staff took lessons in deleting emails!

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