Begg's the question

Housing and Social Development Minister Rich Coleman has said the province's anti-illegal gaming team was disbanded on the advice of the RCMP unit's consultative board. But, according to internal documents obtained by Public Eye, the top bureaucrat responsible for overseeing policing in British Columbia wrote about shutting down that government-funded unit "ASAP" three months before the board made its recommendation.

On October 23, 2008, the then director of the province's police services Kevin Begg sent an email to the general manager of the government's gaming police and enforcement branch Derek Sturko with the subject heading "IGET (sic)" - the acronym for the province's now disbanded integrated illegal gaming enforcement team.

In that email Mr. Begg stated, "I need to give RCMP directions to shut the unit down ASAP so that we do not have any financial obligations beyond Mar 31. Not sure how this impacts your unit."

"Can you talk before you do so," Mr. Sturko replied, offering to phone Mr. Begg's office at 1:00 on October 24.

But, according to Minister Coleman, it would be another three months before the team's consultative board issued the advice that resulted in that shutdown.

Asked about the matter, a ministry spokesperson stated in an email, "As early as 2007, the Board was reviewing IIGET's role and effectiveness. At that point, there were preliminary discussions about the future of the team, whether it should be continued in the long run and, if so, how it should be funded."

Last month, Coleman also told reporters he made the decision to shutdown the team. But he backed away from that statement during estimates debate, telling gaming critic Shane Simpson "probably I said that I'd take responsibility for the decision."

***

-----Original Message-----
From: Begg, Kevin L SG:EX
Sent: Thu, October 23, 2008 3:51 PM
To: Sturko, Derek HSD:EX
Subject: IGET

Derek - (s.13) I need to give RCMP directions to shut the unit down ASAP so that we do not have any financial obligations beyond Mar 31. Not sure how this impacts your unit.

Kevin

Kevin L. Begg
Assistant Deputy Minister
Policing and Community Safety Branch

-----Original Message-----
From: Sturko, Derek HSD:EX
To: Begg, Kevin L SG:EX
Sent: Th Oct 23 15:54:07 2008
Subject: RE: IGET

Can we talk before you do so.

Derek Sturko
ADM, Gaming Policy & Enforcement
Know your limit, play within it.

-----Original Message-----
From: Begg, Kevin L SG:EX
Sent: Thu, Oct 23 16:49:11 2008
To: Sturko, Derek HSD:EX
Subject: Re: IGET


Sure. (s. 22) will be back to Victoria by noon tomorrow. Or available on phone.

Kevin

Kevin L. Begg
Assistant Deputy Minister
Policing and Community Safety Branch

From: Sturko, Derek HSD:EX
Sent: Thu, October 23, 2008 4:50 PM
To: Begg, Kevin L SG:EX
Subject: Re: IGET

How be I call you in your office at 1:00?

Derek Sturko
ADM, Gaming Policy & Enforcement
Sent from my BlackBerry

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