Canadian Security Magazine

Saskatchewan premier criticized for using private email to do government work

By The Canadian Press   

News Data Security brad wall david wilkins emails government email ndp private email saskatchewan security trent wotherspoon

REGINA — Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is facing criticism from the Opposition for using a private email server to do government business.

The NDP says documents show Wall used those emails to correspond with former U.S. ambassador David Wilkins, who now works for a law firm hired by Saskatchewan to represent the province in Washington.

Interim NDP Leader Trent Wotherspoon says it’s risky and wrong for the premier to use a private server for government business.

“Is this server protected because this is very sensitive information to Saskatchewan, to Canada, to private and commercial interests, but also to the United States, so the integrity of that server is very important,” Wotherspoon said last week.

“If he’s utilizing the resources of Saskatchewan people and keeping that information in some sort of personal server, that’s wrong and it also begs the question, why and what else is he doing from that server?”


Wotherspoon also notes that the private server would not be subject to freedom of information laws.

The situation should be referred to the privacy commissioner and conflict of interest commissioner, he said.

Wall said he has a couple of personal email accounts, none that use the government server, and he’s used those accounts while working at home or on weekends.

“It’s communications with fellow cabinet members, it’s communications with MLAs, it’s representations to other parties that are in the interest of the province,” Wall told the Saskatchewan legislature Thursday.

“Maybe the member doesn’t trust the fact that I would be careful and secure in this work, but he can, notwithstanding his questions this morning. And I don’t intend to change the practice.”

Wall said there’s nothing of any particular sensitivity in the emails and the server was secure.

A spokeswoman from Wall’s office later said that any email to or from the premier on a private server would be subject to the same freedom of information access rules as government email.

She also said appropriate steps are taken to ensure the email account is secure using an IT company that uses the same standards and software as the government servers.

“However, to remove any concern at all, the premier says he will use a government email,” said Kathy Young.

– Jennifer Graham

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc. 2017

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