“Mr. Speaker, it is, of course, the responsibility of all employees to follow the applicable rules.” That was yesterday’s word from the Prime Minister on allegations swirling around former PMO legal adviser Ben Perrin, an ex-employee whose emails were thought to have disappeared. Some of those emails, which may be relevant to RCMP investigations of the Wright-Duffy affair, were actually retained in connection with unrelated litigation. The Privy Council Office admitted its mistake in not uncovering the emails, and the PMO was happy to pin the blame on the PCO. Now, the blame is migrating to Perrin himself, as the CBC’s Kady O’Malley reports.
The rules the PMO is referencing are outlined in a Treasury Board document entitled, Guideline for Employees of the Government of Canada: Information Management (IM) Basics. The relevant section of those guidelines talks about procedure for federal employees leaving their jobs, and includes the following key directive: “Ensure that information resources of business value, in all media, are organized and filed according to the policies, standards, and procedures established or adopted by your institution so that the information continues to be accessible to other employees.”
Emails related to the Wright-Duffy affair are “of business value.” When Perrin left his job, the guidelines dictate that he should have ensured the survival of those relevant emails. The PCO has confirmed those rules, and the PMO now says it expects staff to follow them. The PM turned his back on Nigel Wright, his ex-chief of staff. Now, it seems, he’s bestowing the same fate on his former legal adviser.
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