As Premier Brad Wall once again comes under fire for his use of private email for public business, a former assistant deputy minister says he was told that using his personal email account to hide communication on sensitive topics was “the cardinal rule.”
In the fall of 2008, not long after the Saskatchewan Party came to power, Tim Korol was hired by then-minister of social services Donna Harpauer to help tackle some staffing and programming problems for the fledgling government.
Korol, a former police officer and human rights commission investigator, said he was told by Harpauer’s then-chief of staff, Laurie Pushor, “if we had issues that popped up or something that we thought might be a little bit more sensitive then it should be through our own private emails.”
“That was the cardinal rule. I didn’t have very many rules but that was the one that was really important to him,” Korol said, though in an email to CBC, Pushor cast doubt on that claim.
This is wrong. This is not the way we should expect our government to work.
– Tim Korol, former assistant deputy minister in social services
Korol said that at the time he asked Pushor why that was the “rule” and “he said we wanted to keep things under the radar from freedom of information requests, and that there was certain conversations that we wouldn’t want others to be privy to and that’s why we needed to use our personal emails.”
Korol estimates more than half of the emails he wrote to the minister’s office during his nine months in that position were from his private account.
Dozens of private emails
Korol said he was not told to archive those private emails and most of them no longer exist.
But he did hang on to some.
Korol gave CBC dozens of emails he received from Harpauer’s private Gmail account. From 2008 to 2014, Korol and Harpauer, who’s now Saskatchewan’s minister of finance, discussed many sensitive issues related to ministry staffing and programming.
Korol points out that…