Thursday, January 26, 2023

Danielle Smith's Magical Email Investigation

So, last week very serious allegations of the Premier's office attempting to intervene in the prosecutions resulting from the Coutts blockade last year. By Saturday, the Premier's office was going to "investigate" by reviewing the GOA e-mail servers.  On Monday, the Premier issued a "we found nothing" statement. 

There are more than a few problems with this approach. 

First, let me cast your memories back to the days of Jason Kenney running the UCP show

In other words, it was already well established that the UCP has a sophisticated set of tools for stepping around the normal tools that are used to ensure government accountability. It would be utterly naive of us to believe that those same constructs went away with Jason Kenney's departure. 

To give you a greater picture of how extensive this is, consider the following:

Now, consider what Danielle Smith did in light of this. Inspecting the GOA e-mail servers is quite unlikely to turn up anything truly useful.  Because things like personal phones, Slack and WhatsApp are completely outside the GOA's control, they are obvious blind spots in this investigation.

We should also be quite suspicious of the scope of investigation carried out on the GOA e-mail.  I have some background in doing forensic analysis of IT systems myself, and I find it very questionable to claim that an adequate investigation was carried out in a period of 36 hours.

While die-hard UCP supporters are running around claiming that the CBC is out to "lynch" Danielle Smith, the bigger problem is that the UCP has already demonstrated that it has an active program to avoid accountability, and now they want us to believe that a simple pattern scan of the e-mail servers is adequate to prove or disprove these allegations.  It simply is not, and the Premier should realize that when her office is implicated in a serious breach of this nature that anything less than a full investigation carried out by a non-partisan investigator with full access to the people, technologies, and records is not going to be persuasive. Of course, I really don't expect any such investigation to turn up anything concrete simply because the tools being used lack adequate audit trails to capture activity such as message deletions.  

The fact that any government would operate on a basis of "keep no records" should worry us greatly, as these people can no longer be considered to be the legitimate representatives of the people. If you feel that any records are a bad thing, then clearly you have less than honourable intentions in the first place. 

What is the solution to this? To be honest, I'm not certain. My first reaction is very much to argue for dismantling the party system entirely. Clearly it can be overridden by bad faith actors to such an extent that the level of corruption begins to approach that seen in organized crime rings. But, alas, that is a much bigger job than we might wish it to be. 

In the shorter term, we need to campaign vigorously to unseat the UCP government, and that party cannot ever be allowed to hold power again. It was formed in corruption and dishonesty, and I do not see a way that it can shed that history. 

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