Alberta Politics

ted morton aka frederick lee and the shredder.

 Ted Morton, Alberta Progressive Conservative leadership candidate
Ted Morton aka Frederick Lee

After a week of dodging questions from intrepid CBC reporter Charles Rusnell about a covert email alias and shredded ministerial documents, former Finance Minister Ted Morton‘s campaign for Alberta’s Progressive Conservative leadership has taken its first big hit with just more than a week before the first ballot vote.

After making ‘government transparency’ a key theme of his campaign, squeaky clean conservative Dr. Morton’s commitment to the pledge is being questioned when it was revealed that he used a covert email address under his little known full first- and middle-names “Frederick Lee” to conduct government business. It is being suggested that Dr. Morton’s covert email alias could have foiled Freedom of Information requests.

CBC discovered that correspondence and documents, including those connected to the covert email alias, were shredded or destroyed when Dr. Morton left his ministry to seek the PC leadership earlier this year.

A spokesperson for Alberta’s Information and Privacy Commissioner told the media that the Office would be launching an immediate investigation into the shredding allegations.

Dr. Morton downplayed the criticisms yesterday, but that did not stop his right-wing competitors Rick Orman and Wildrose leader Danielle Smith from tackling him in the media. Ms. Smith claimed that because the documents belonged to the people of Alberta, Dr. Morton’s staff had no right to feed them to the paper shredder on a whim.

Will these revelations hurt Dr. Morton’s chances in next week’s leadership vote? It is difficult to say. Dr. Morton has run a stealth campaign during this contest, which has focused on low-profile events and selling memberships. This is very different from his run in 2006, which publicly stressed his social conservative values on issues like same-sex marriage.

Watch for the other PC candidates to train their guns on Dr. Morton’s last minute weakness in the final week.

8 replies on “ted morton aka frederick lee and the shredder.”

As bad as it appears, sure, Ted should not have used an alternate name, fine that was poor judgement and he shouldn’t have done that. But this pales in comparison on a grandscale what other MLA’s have done and are still probably doing.

If Ted is getting skewered for this little thing, just a food for thought, just imagine what the entire Tory elected officials have been engaged in and we don’t even know. When you contemplate things in that manner, it becomes clear that what Ted did is just the tip of the iceberg and saintly in comparison to what is going on elsewhere in this regime.

Just some food for thought.

It’s all well and good for Orman to play the squeaky clean one here. E-mail had not been invented when he was last in government busily destroying the province’s economy.

@whatever. If trying to pervert democracy by evading FOIP and breaching the government’s internet/e-mail usage policy are just “little things,” what would Rev. Doctor Professor Morton have to do before it would register on your obviously low-ball ethics scale?

Non issue. Most if not all Ministers have private email. I don’t want the Ministers usuing a generic email when they have to wade through 500 emails per day. They have staff for that. Then they pick out the most important emails and forward them to the Minister’s private email.

This is not about avoiding FOIP. It is about allocating resources properly.

As for the shredding, if it an important document – the department will have it somewhere. Minister’s offices are not that large and in Dr. Morton’s case he was moving to a much smaller office. No need to haul boxes and boxes of invitations and letters from lobbyists around with him everywhere he goes.

Only one of the candidates to date has kept focused on the campaign, listening to Albertans and not become embroiled in controversy or grandstanding . That candidate is Doug Horner and his leadership has shone through in this campaign.

I’m still trying to find out if Morton was using a private email or a email for this Frederick Lee profile. It would not matter much anyway, a ministers office would have all kinds of email addresses for the minister and there staff. Shredded documents? Pfft. Anything that matters is tracked with other offices having other copies.

The real story here is the CBC taking the word and assertions of an accused bad apple and putting it out to a public who doesn’t understand the finer points of how gov administration is conducted. Shredded documents is so 1980s.

What puzzles me about this is how did he get to be “Ted” with a legal first name of Frederick? “Ted” is a common diminutive for “Theodore”, and occasionally also for “Edward” (think the late US Sen. Ted Kennedy), but for Frederick? Why isn’t he called “Fred”?

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