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MLA Harry Bloy apologizes for leaking information related to Province investigation

By Cassidy Olivier, The Province
March 15, 2012



Harry Bloy, the minister of state for multiculturalism, has admitted to leaking information found in an email sent by The Province to the ministry of advanced education relating to an examination of the Eminata Group.


EARLIER: Harry Bloy, the minister of state for multiculturalism, has admitted to leaking information found in an email sent by The Province to the ministry of advanced education relating to an examination of the Eminata Group.

Bloy, the only MLA to support Premier Christy Clark during her leadership run, apologized to The Province for his indiscretion in an email sent Wednesday afternoon.

“Looking back, I now realize that it was an error in judgement,” Bloy said. “And I apologize for that.”

The initial email to the ministry of advanced education sought comment on Eminata founder Peter Chung, a frequent donor to the B.C. Liberal Party, after The Province reported on court documents from the Superior Court of California dating back to the early 1990s.

In the documents, it was alleged Chung and his companies (Wilshire Computer College) had committed more than 10,000 violations of state business code, including misleading students on employment opportunities and the school’s accreditation.

The school was ordered closed and Chung, who never admitted to wrongdoing, was fined $12 million. Chung founded the Eminata Group, an education conglomerate worth millions, in Vancouver about two years later.

“I never admitted to wrongdoing ­ to this day I don’t,” he told The Province when interviewed as part of an investigation into student complaints at three of Eminata’s six for-profit schools in B.C. ­ University Canada West, Vancouver Career College and CDI College.

During that same interview, Randy Cox, Eminata’s president and CEO, was seen to be in possession of a printout of the email sent to the ministry of advanced education by The Province.

Asked how he came to be in possession of it, Cox replied: “People care about what we do.”

NDP education critic Michelle Mungall, who has brought up the issue of the leaked email twice this week in the legislature, said Bloy’s apology does not go far enough in addressing exactly how or why the information was passed along.

“How did he get that letter?” Mungall asked. “He’s not within her [Advanced Education Minister Naomi Yamamoto’s] ministry. How is he viewing her emails?”

“And why is he passing them on to Eminata? What’s his relationship with them that he feels comfortable to pass them on? Someone in cabinet should have better judgment than that.”

Yamamoto told The Province that a senior staffer in her minister's office passed the email to Bloy. She said it’s not unusual for MLAs to share information, but she said it was inappropriate that Bloy passed on the email to a third party.

“Let’s be clear. No rules were broken, but I think it was poor judgment,” she said.

Bloy did not return a call from The Province seeking comment on the Eminata Group.

A veteran player in B.C.’s education industry described Bloy as “very friendly” to his counterparts in the business.

“Harry will turn up at short notice when invited to meet foreign delegations to represent the government,” he said.

“This is an awful mistake on his part and one that makes this whole issue look more sinister than it already is.”

Bloy, the former minister for social development, was demoted to his current post in September amid growing criticism of the government’s handling of the developmentally disabled.

The Province’s editor-in-chief, Wayne Moriarty, said the leaking of the email was a deeply troubling development for media in B.C. and, by extension, all British Columbians.

“We went through the proper channels in our investigation of this story and, it appears now, we were seriously undermined by a minister of the government,” said Moriarty. “We need to know exactly what the minister’s motivation was for alerting the very organization we were investigating.”


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