Canadian government employee faces criminal charges in leak of environment plan

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

RCMP police car in Ottawa, Canada.
Image: Neil Carey.

A Canadian government employee of Environment Canada was arrested Wednesday for criminal breach of trust with respect to a leak of the Conservative government's green plan days before it was due to be made public.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) arrested the unidentified male employee following a complaint from Environment Canada's security department. The department alleges that a secret draft copy of the government's regulatory framework, Climate Change Section of the Eco-Action Plan, had been leaked to the media prior to being released officially to the public.

"An employee who violates the terms of their workplace security clearance, including the release of secret documents, may be subjected to legal consequences, including criminal charges," said Superintendent Stan Burke, officer in charge of the RCMP's financial integrity division. There was also concern that if the details were leaked, securities laws could be compromised if stock trades were made based on privileged information.

Environment Minister John Baird was forced to reveal details of the government's climate change plan on April 24, in an opinion piece published in the media. The move came after a copy of a speech describing the plan was faxed by mistake, a day earlier, to an opposition Liberal party member and environment critic, David McGuinty. It is not clear whether the police action Wednesday was related to that incident.

The RCMP stated that the matter remains under investigation and, as such, no further details would be released at this time.

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