File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS Manitoba PC leader Brian Pallister and his wife, Esther, celebrate his party’s election victory with candidates and supporters in Winnipeg. Pallister’s secret, security-conscious method for working while at his vacation home in Costa Rica involves his wife’s personal email account and her cellphone.

Pallister bristles at questions about email

WINNIPEG — Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister is bristling at questions about his use of his wife’s personal email account and cellphone to conduct government business while at their vacation home in Costa Rica.

While government records indicate he didn’t communicate with his staff each day, he said was “accessible” every day.

“Frankly, if sending emails and phone calls is your measure of effectiveness, we should have a teenager as the premier of Manitoba,” Pallister said at a news conference Wednesday.

Last December, documents show government staff reached out to his wife, Esther, through her email account while trying to set up a conference call with Health Minister Kelvin Goertzen.

A document obtained by the Opposition New Democrats shows a draft of this year’s budget speech was emailed to Esther Pallister nine days before the budget was delivered.

Pallister took exception to questions about his wife’s access to confidential government information.

He said he has shared information with his wife for 25 years and they have never been associated with a leak. His wife has acted for years as his gatekeeper, including screening calls and emails to allow him to spend time with his family, Pallister said.

Pallister appeared to take umbrage when asked if his wife is a government employee.

“No. Are you questioning my wife’s integrity?” he said. “She doesn’t receive a salary from the taxpayers of Manitoba. She is my principal adviser and confidante in my life and she will remain so.”

Pallister said it’s possible he used his wife’s email account during his career as a Conservative MP, including when he served as chairman of the Commons finance committee and as a parliamentary secretary.

He reiterated that he now uses government equipment and accounts.

“Because I take it seriously, we have stepped up the practices,” he said.

“We are taking action to change those rules to make them more effective. We are trying to stay ahead of those who would try to access government information for mischief or personal gain.”

Pallister said his position about the emails and his work habits haven’t really changed and the media need to figure that out.

“A few weeks ago, I was a totalitarian dictator and a control freak and now I am supposed to be lazy.”

His vacation home in Costa Rica has been an ongoing issue for Pallister since last December when he said he planned to spend up to eight weeks a year there.

When the issue came up again in May, Pallister said he didn’t have to reveal how he communicates with staff while at his vacation home.

“I work harder than any premier that’s been around here for a long, long time,” he said. ”I don’t have to defend my work ethic to you or anyone else.”

Just Posted

Christmas season in Red Deer begins with Festival of Trees

The kickoff to the Christmas season in Red Deer is upon us.… Continue reading

Judge allows Mr. Big evidence in murder trial

Two men accused of triple-murder admitted their involvement to undercover police

Red Deer agency supporting for LGBTQ2S+ youth

New report on LGBTQ2S+ youth from the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate

Four people arrested after gas and dash

Four people were arrested after an alleged gas and dash in two… Continue reading

VIDEO: Replay Red Deer: Nov. 19

Watch news highlights from the week of Nov. 13

Red Deer Christmas Bureau to help 1,300 children this year

Demand is high, but Red Deer always provides

CP Holiday train to stop in Ponoka for another year

The popular train will feature entertainment from Colin James and Emma-Lee

Kittens rescued after allegedly being tossed from vehicle

Couple finds abandoned kittens new home through Facebook

VIDEO: ‘Party bus’ goes up in flames in Vancouver

Fire crews responded to the late night blaze

Chicken crosses B.C. road, stops traffic

Rooster makes early morning commuters wait in Maple Ridge

Red Deerian honours her brother who died in a motorcycle collision

Houaida Haddad is encouraging Red Deer residents to donate blood

Red Deer County firefighters to be recognized for Waterton help

RCMP brass will give formal recognition Monday

Ron James tries to lighten humanity’s load through humour

The comedian returns to Red Deer for shows Dec. 1 and 2

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month