Three women seek in ex­cess of $1.8 mil­lion in dam­ages after pri­vate in­for­ma­tion leaked

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE -

Three whistle­blow­ers seek in ex­cess of $1.8 mil­lion in dam­ages after pri­vate in­for­ma­tion leaked

Three for­mer civil ser­vants who came for­ward with al­le­ga­tions of fraud and bribery in P.E.I.’s busi­ness im­mi­gra­tion pro­gram have for­mally filed a law­suit against the provin­cial gov­ern­ment.

The three plain­tiffs - Su­san Holmes, Cora Plourd Ni­chol­son, and Svet­lana Tenetko – say the P.E.I. gov­ern­ment, for­mer premier Robert Ghiz, Al­lan Camp­bell and Michael Mayne breached their pri­vacy rights by leak­ing pri­vate in­for­ma­tion after they came for­ward publicly with their al­le­ga­tions.

The three plain­tiffs are seeking dam­ages in ex­cess of $1.8 mil­lion.

The three women say that after they came for­ward at a 2011 news con­fer­ence with al­le­ga­tions of bribery and fraud in the busi­ness im­mi­gra­tion pro­gram, per­sonal in­for­ma­tion de­signed to dam­age their claims was de­lib­er­ately given out to the me­dia, in­clud­ing The Guardian, by top Lib­er­als.

A re­port by the prov­ince’s pri­vacy com­mis­sioner, com­pleted in 2017, found the prov­ince had breached the women’s pri­vacy rights, though it couldn’t specif­i­cally say how the leak oc­curred.

The state­ment of claim said per­sonal in­for­ma­tion was printed out on Sept. 15, 2011, in the in­no­va­tion min­is­ter’s of­fice as the prov­ince was just weeks away from an Oct. 3 provin­cial elec­tion.

The claim filed Mon­day is re­lated to a pre­vi­ously filed claim that was is­sued in Fe­bru­ary 2019. Rather than at­tempt­ing to re­solve the case at the time or pro­ceed with lit­i­ga­tion, the de­fen­dants de­manded no­tice un­der provin­cial leg­is­la­tion, which made this new fil­ing nec­es­sary.

The law firm, Wad­dell Phillips Pro­fes­sional Cor­po­ra­tion, rep­re­sent­ing the plain­tiffs, said this new law­suit was filed Mon­day in the Supreme Court of Prince Ed­ward Is­land.

“We were very dis­ap­pointed that the gov­ern­ment did not hold it­self im­me­di­ately ac­count­able, par­tic­u­larly given the com­mis­sioner’s find­ings and the dam­age that was done to our lives and ca­reers,” said Holmes.

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