Internal emails show there was tension between the head of the provincial government's gaming policy and enforcement branch and the then commander of British Columbia's now-defunct anti-illegal gaming team. At issue: back in March 2006, the branch wanted to include information about the number of illegal gaming cases opened and closed by the government-funded RCMP team in its upcoming annual report. But that didn't sit well with its commander Fred Pinnock.
"We are unable to accede to your request," Mr. Pinnock stated in an email to the branch's general manager Derek Sturko and exclusively obtained by Public Eye via a freedom of information request. "Statistical analyses of criminal code activity within the realm of illegal gaming will remain the responsibility of the police and not GPEB."
"Given the nature of our relationship with government, it is incumbent upon me to protect our IIGET operations from the appearance of political interference at all costs," he continued. "It is inappropriate for GPEB to be commenting upon policing matters."
But that view wasn't shared by Mr. Sturko, who was "quite surprised and disturbed" by Mr. Pinnock making reference to the "appearance of political interference."
"The Province has a responsibility to report on the extent of illegal gambling in BC," the general manager wrote back. "I believe your comments are premature and based solely on speculation."
"I do not understand what operational matters may be compromised by the publication of some high level summary stats that are almost a year old," he continued.
Asked about how that dispute was resolved, a spokesperson stated that while Mr. Pinnock was "initially" opposed to the release of those statistics, they ended up being included in the branch's fiscal 2005/06 annual report.
Mr. Pinnock's team was controversially shutdown three years later. The following is a complete copy of the aforementioned emails.