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Alliance of more than 30 citizen groups calls for immediate release of report on more than 220 past whistleblower complaints

Conservatives could have avoided more than $500,000 payoff to former Integrity Commissioner if they had waited for Auditor General's report and Deloitte report

None of the federal parties have promised to strengthen whistleblower protection, nor to get the $500,000 back

Join the Facebook group to get the $500,000 back, and to strengthen the federal whistleblower protection system

Monday, April 18, 2011

OTTAWA - Today, an alliance of more than 30 organizations called for the immediate release of the recently completed report reviewing more than 220 whistleblower complaints rejected by disgraced former federal Public Sector Integrity Commissioner Christiane Ouimet.

In December 2010 Auditor General Sheila Fraser issued a scathing report on Ouimet’s conduct in office, including her failure to investigate several complaints properly, and called for an independent examination of the entire backlog of closed files.

Interim Integrity Commissioner Mario Dion commissioned Deloitte to conduct a study of all the complaints and promised that Deloitte’s report would be published when available -- it was completed at the end of March.  Unfortunately, Dion announced recently that he would hold back the report until after the election.  (To see his announcement, click here)

Unlike the much-discussed Auditor General’s report on unjustified spending for last June's G8 summit, there is no requirement that the Deloitte report be tabled in Parliament -- it can and should be released immediately as promised.

"The public service is rightly required to remain neutral during an election, but keeping reports about past government actions secret is not a neutral act because it hides information voters have a right to know, and in this case prevents informed discussion about the actions of a key good government watchdog agency since the last federal election.  The right of voters to know the full record of decisions and actions since the last election must always be upheld, so this report must be released immediately, and federal laws must be changed to require the release of all watchdog agency reports in the future as scheduled or as soon as they are completed," said Duff Conacher, Coordinator of Democracy Watch and Chairperson of the 31-member group, nation-wide Government Ethics Coalition"If the rule continues to be that watchdog agency reports cannot be released when Parliament is shut down, governments will continue to be able to use proroguing Parliament and calling elections as ways of delaying or avoiding accountability."

Incredibly, despite continuing disclosure of recent scandalous bad government actions, none of the major federal parties has included in their election platform any comprehensive pledges for a "Real Accountability Act" to clean up the federal government.  Such an Act is needed because inaction by past governments (including by the Conservatives who failed to keep more than half of their 2006 so-called “Accountability Act” election promises) has left 100 undemocratic and accountability loopholes in the federal government.

Part of the neglect of key good government issues is that none of the federal parties' platforms include promises to strengthen the federal Public Sector Disclosure Protection Act to effectively protect whistleblowers in the future (To see the list of needed reforms, click here).  Nor has any federal party committed to send a signal to wrongdoers by penalizing Ouimet for her misconduct and by clawing back her obscene, undeserved $500,000 severance payoff (NOTE: The alliance has demanded that the payoff be cancelled and has also requested that the Auditor General audit the payoff and all other similar recent payoffs by the federal government).

Democracy Watch will be releasing its regular election Report Card on the Federal Parties’ Good Government Platforms next week, so there is still time for the parties to promise a  “Real Accountability Act” including changes to ensure effective whistleblower protection (To see the 2008 federal election Report Card, click here).

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For more information, contact:
Duff Conacher, Coordinator of Democracy Watch and Chairperson of the Government Ethics Coalition
Tel: (613) 241-5179

Democracy Watch's Federal Election 2011 and Open Government Campaign pages


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