Dr.Dawg

Whistle at your own risk

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Whistleblowing is something I’ve blogged about before. Exposing wrongdoing in the public service is a key public responsibility, or so one might have thought. Yet we never get closer to making it less risky for the conscientious federal public sector worker who wants to speak up.

In 2006, shortly after being elected, the Conservative government pledged to make the public service safe for whistleblowers. Here’s Pierre Poilievre on the subject: “The plan is to protect all whistleblowers regardless of the approach they take to expose the corruption.” Poilievre was Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board at the time.

A process was put in place in 2007 under the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act (PSDPA), permitting whistleblowers to have their allegations investigated. That year Christiane Ouimet, the first Public Sector Integrity Commissioner, was appointed. She sat, and I mean sat, for more than three years in her office, never upheld a single complaint (and indeed refused to investigate all but 7 out of the 228 her office received), bullied and persecuted her staff, and was released after a damning Auditor General’s report—with a payout of $500,000.

Apparently the number of complaints since the Office was established has now risen to 650, a whopping 10 of which have been investigated. The legislation calls for an independent five-year review of the PSDPA, but 18 months after the deadline, Treasury Board President Tony Clement has still not bothered to do so.

Allan Cutler, a former whistleblower who exposed the Liberal sponsorship scandal, estimates that, despite supposed legal protection for whistleblowers, up to 85% of those who attempt to report wrongdoing suffer negative consequences. Want to lose your job? You just put your lips together and… blow.

Meanwhile Pierre Poilievre, once the great public service whistleblower champion, has moved on to become the Minister of State for Democratic Reform.

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This page contains a single entry by Dr.Dawg published on December 3, 2013 8:02 PM.

Are they Rob Fords or Mike Duffies? was the previous entry in this blog.

Civilization and its malcontents is the next entry in this blog.

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