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

Police is still looking for Second World War army passport owner

No one has claimed a rare Second World War German army passport… Continue reading

Red Deer readies for supervised drug consumption site

Now all we need is an application for one

Rent subsidies for Asooahum Crossing tenants sought from Red Deer city council

Coun. Lee feels the city should be ‘last resort’ for housing subsidy requests

Castor murderer denies he’s a killer

Jason Klaus tells courtroom he loved his family who were murdered in December 2013

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

RDC chosen to host 2019 men’s volleyball national championship

Sports enthusiasts in Red Deer will have more to look forward to… Continue reading

Police is still looking for Second World War army passport owner

No one has claimed a rare Second World War German army passport… Continue reading

DJ Sabatoge and TR3 Band kick off Sylvan Lake’s Winterfest 2018

Central Alberta’s youngest DJ will open for TR3 Band kicking off Town… Continue reading

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

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