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Ball says Coady rarely used Gmail for government business

Premier Dwight Ball insisted there was no issue with Natural Resources Minister Siobhan Coady’s use of a personal email to conduct government business when he spoke to members of the media on Thursday.

Siobhan Coady.

For more than three weeks Ball has refused to make himself available to answer questions from The Telegram on the topic, but he fielded questions at the end of a two-day cabinet retreat in St. John’s.

Ball said Coady only sent or received a handful of Gmails.

“If you look at the response from Minister Coady, she does her work on government email,” Ball said.

“I think there were seven or eight Gmails there, most of those have come from her government account, sent to a device that she was using — speaking notes and speeches and such.”

Using a Gmail account could serve to obscure official government correspondence from access to information requests, and could open the government up to security concerns.

Using a personal email address for government business is forbidden under guidelines published by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC).

During the Ed Martin Nalcor severance scandal this spring, it was revealed that one of the key emails documenting the decision to award severance to Martin was sent from then Nalcor chairman Ken Marshall to Coady’s Gmail account.

The Telegram filed an access to information request for all emails in Coady’s Gmail inbox that contained any sort of government business, but when the request was fulfilled, the response only looked at emails which were sent between government servers and Coady’s Gmail account.

That means there could be more emails in Coady’s Gmail account that have not been disclosed because they never touched government’s official IT infrastructure.

The Telegram is appealing to the OIPC to determine if there have been more emails that have not yet been disclosed.

Coady said as far as she’s aware, there are no more emails in her personal account pertaining to government business.

“We’ve looked at my Gmail, and I’ve had people sit with me while I was looking at the Gmail,” she said. “They’ve gone through the Gmail. We’ve had witnesses go through the Gmail accounts.”

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