The article you just read was brought to you by a few thousand dedicated readers. Will you join them?

Thanks for coming by The Tyee and reading one of many original articles we’ll post today. Our team works hard to publish in-depth stories on topics that matter on a daily basis. Our motto is: No junk. Just good journalism.

Just as we care about the quality of our reporting, we care about making our stories accessible to all who want to read them and provide a pleasant reading experience. No intrusive ads to distract you. No paywall locking you out of an article you want to read. No clickbait to trick you into reading a sensational article.

There’s a reason why our site is unique and why we don’t have to rely on those tactics — our Tyee Builders program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip in a bit of money each month (or one-time) to our editorial budget. This amazing program allows us to pay our writers fairly, keep our focus on quality over quantity of articles, and provide a pleasant reading experience for those who visit our site.

In the past year, we’ve been able to double our staff team and boost our reporting. We invest all of the revenue we receive into producing more and better journalism. We want to keep growing, but we need your support to do it.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
Before you click away, we have something to ask you…

Do you value independent journalism that focuses on the issues that matter? Do you think Canada needs more in-depth, fact-based reporting? So do we. If you’d like to be part of the solution, we’d love it if you joined us in working on it.

The Tyee is an independent, paywall-free, reader-funded publication. While many other newsrooms are getting smaller or shutting down altogether, we’re bucking the trend and growing, while still keeping our articles free and open for everyone to read.

The reason why we’re able to grow and do more, and focus on quality reporting, is because our readers support us in doing that. Over 5,000 Tyee readers chip in to fund our newsroom on a monthly basis, and that supports our rockstar team of dedicated journalists.

Join a community of people who are helping to build a better journalism ecosystem. You pick the amount you’d like to contribute on a monthly basis, and you can cancel any time.

Help us make Canadian media better by joining Tyee Builders today.
We value: Our readers.
Our independence. Our region.
The power of real journalism.
We're reader supported.
Get our newsletter free.
Help pay for our reporting.

Police Called, then Stalled on Health Firing Probe

Two years in, Mounties still waiting for instruction on how to proceed in health ministry scandal.

By Andrew MacLeod 19 Feb 2015 |

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee's Legislative bureau chief in Victoria. Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

When the British Columbia government fired seven people from the health ministry in 2012 it said the RCMP was conducting an investigation related to data management, contracts and potential conflicts of interest.

But more than two years later, the police force was still waiting for information from the province that would allow it to decide whether there was anything to investigate, according to documents released yesterday by the New Democratic Party official opposition after obtaining them through a freedom of information request.

"Now we find that the government... hasn't provided the evidence and any information of substance to the RCMP at all that would lead to an investigation," Adrian Dix, the MLA for Vancouver-Kingsway, said during question period in the Legislature.

"It was a smear and the authors of the smear are being protected by the premier and her cabinet."

The evidence, Dix said, was in an email that Dean Miller, a constable in the RCMP’s Federal Serious and Organized Crime unit in Victoria, wrote on Nov. 6, 2014 to Wendy Taylor, who was one of the lead investigators in the process that led to the firings in 2012.

"I have seen mention of your investigation in the media these past few weeks," Miller wrote to Taylor. "Are you any closer to being in a position to forward us your findings?"

'Mistakes were made': minister

The RCMP has previously said publicly that it was waiting for more information from the provincial government before deciding whether to open an investigation.

The records in the FOI package do not include a response to Miller, but show Taylor forwarded the constable's inquiry to Dan Peck, the director of the investigation and forensic unit, who in turn forwarded the message to Stuart Newton, the comptroller general.

Health Minister Terry Lake said in the Legislature that the government ordered a review by employment lawyer Marcia McNeil, released in December, so that it could learn from mistakes that were made with the firings.

"We've acknowledged that mistakes were made and apologies have been given in this house," he said. "There's no question that some of the conduct was not acceptable."

Lake did not say in the Legislature why the RCMP was still expecting to receive information from the government in November and he was unavailable to reporters after question period.

The government has no more information to provide to the police, a spokesperson for the Public Service Agency said in an emailed statement.

"Government has an obligation to report to the RCMP when government property goes missing, and our investigation found that a large amount of health data had been downloaded onto unencrypted flash drives and shared with unauthorized people," it said. "The Ministry of Health notified the RCMP at the time and provided them appropriate details about that privacy breach."

Since the government has no more information, the spokesperson said, "It is up to the RCMP to determine if they will conduct an investigation based on the information that they have."

Dix calls for inquiry

Dix said Premier Christy Clark is responsible for the smear against the former health employees and that the government needs to order a public inquiry on the matter where senior officials would have to testify under oath. "The people who decided on the smear report to her."

"It's been an ongoing smear," Dix said in an interview. "Government smeared these employees right off the top in Sept. 2012 with an RCMP investigation that never existed and the RCMP was still looking for information from them, any information that would be relevant, two and a half years later and it still wasn't provided."

He said that the decision to include the reference to the RCMP in the government's 2012 press release and news conference had to come from the premier's political staff. "The decision to include the reference to the RCMP was made at the highest level of government," he said.

The government's actions had terrible consequences for the people who were fired and for independent drug research in the province, Dix said.  [Tyee]

Read more: Health, BC Politics

Share this article

The Tyee is supported by readers like you

Join us and grow independent media in Canada

Facts matter. Get The Tyee's in-depth journalism delivered to your inbox for free


The Barometer

Tyee Poll: What Coverage Would You Like to See More of This Year?

Take this week's poll