Documentary evidence

It was inefficient, it had a high staff turnover rate, it hadn't prepared a business plan was redundant. These are the explanations gaming minister Rich Coleman has given for why the province's anti-illegal gaming team was shutdown. This, despite warnings such a decision would mean many of those crimes would go uninvestigated, allowing high-level criminals to operate with impunity. Records obtained by Public Eye via freedom of information requests show there is something to what the minister has been saying.

For example, an effectiveness review submitted to the ministry of public safety and solicitor general in January 2008 acknowledged, that turnover - which was part of larger trend within the RCMP - had resulted in some vacancies within the integrated illegal gaming enforcement team. Other vacancies "were deliberately held open to free up resources" to fund a major Internet gaming investigation.

But, according to the meeting minutes for the team's consultative board, staffing levels "continued to be an issue" as of December 2008. And a December 2007 business case prepared by the team's two senior members described IIGET's results as being "modest" due to budget limitations.

But here's what continues to confound us: neither of those reports recommended shuttering the team - quite the opposite. Other records obtained by Public Eye also show the RCMP and the minister's own communications staff were offering opposing explanations for its closure - citing funding pressures and the need to focus on other policing priorities. And those explanations are more consistent with what the team's former unit commander Fred Pinnock told us last year during an interview in which he questioned the government"s commitment to "meaningful" illegal gaming investigations.

So what was the minister's response to that inconsistency? Well, you can see for yourself what he had to say when we spoke to him last week in his office.

The following is a complete copy of the aforementioned public affairs bureau and RCMP documents explaining the closure of IIGET.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police and public affairs bureau messaging


This is my knee-jerk response to your piece about policing crooks though you didn’t frame it that quite that way

My current soapbox rant is about TransLink employing armed police officers to check my fare receipt/ticket before I board the Skytrain or CanadaLine!
Without a word of a lie, that happened to me yesterday when on my way to an executive meeting (of a retiree group) in Burnaby around 9:30 am – and there were two officers, not just one.

I’ll spare you the details of the rant – just use your imagination. Thank heavens I didn’t have a “senior moment” forgetting to purchase a 2-zone ticket otherwise this would have been a much longer story.

Have we lost our minds? Whare are our governments' priorities?

Gudrun Langolf

Way to go, Gudrun! More rants needed, not less (and not abridged).

We all have our breaking point. For you: 2 armed police checking your TransLink ticket.

Me? When I discovered that British Columbia is blessed by its own 4-person embedded "volunteer" BC Supreme Court Media Accreditation Committee made up of 3 CanWest and 1 CTV ...

One of the best reporters on the BC Rail Trial (a.k.a. Basi-Virk) is Professor Robin Mathews, who has attended most of the pre-trial hearings over the past 3 years; his columns are informative, educational, analytical, extremely useful, and widely published.

As the trial approaches (Mon., May 17), he asked the appropriate BC Supreme Court officials for permission to record the proceedings for accuracy, once the trial begins. Court officials shuffled him off to this co-called Media Accreditation Committee. One of them -- only one -- decided that he (Robin Mathews) doesn't qualify.

Wow. That was my "Two armed cops and a Translink Ticket" moment, Gudrun.

The story is laid out on my blog. I hope you'll drop in, because this is about a free press, about a judicial system which should be at arm's length from the local media, about the obvious lines of possible interference, and about journalism in B.C. today.

Sheesh. You'd think it's the backwoods of Zimbabwe or something.

Leave a comment

Copyright © 2004 - Public Eye Mediaworks. Reproductions of any portion of this Website are permitted only with the expressed permission of Public Eye Mediaworks.
Canadian Web Hosting graciously provided by dotcanuck Web Services. Layout and graphics courtesy of Art Department Design.