All posts tagged accountability

Unidentified Remains: An Update

Bruce Ricketts

On this blog in April 2014 I discussed a case of a set of Unidentified Remains recovered by the Niagara Regional Police in 1998. In the entry I told of the unusual lengths that the Ontario Coroner and the Niagara Police were going to not release any information on the case. I specifically mentioned a pending DNA analysis which was to be done on the remains so we could compare this to a missing persons (MP) case. Well the fun continues on this case. Here is a bit of an update.

The family of the MP were told by police that the DNA profile had been done by the Coroner but when I met with the Coroner face to face (it took a complaint to the Ontario Ombudsman to get that meeting) I was told that the analysis had NOT been done. Why not? I asked. Apparently the Niagara Police could not find the evidence; including the bones. It was stated that the box in which the evidence was contained had been moved during a renovation sometime in the past 18 years and was only recently found and turned over to the Coroner. While the DNA profile had not be done at the time of the meeting, the Coroner was able to give tell me their description of the evidence and lo and behold, their description did not match that of the Niagara Police from back in 1998.… Read the rest

There’s a failure of leadership in the public service

Ian Bron and Allan Cutler

Three years ago, we attended a conference of government administrators in Victoria, B.C. Wayne Wouters, Clerk of the Privy Council and the most powerful bureaucrat in Canada, was a keynote speaker. Someone asked him what he considered the qualities of the ideal public servant. We expected an answer that included things like integrity, devotion to the public interest, competence, and non-partisanship. Instead, we were treated to his reminiscences of the flag debate in the 1960s.

This says much about the current state of leadership in the public service, how distant it is currently from golden age ideals and out of touch with modern public expectations. The latest federal government re-visioning exercise, Blueprint 2020, reinforces this reality. During Wouters’ recent testimony before a Parliamentary Committee, he patted himself on the back for doing such a fine job, arguing that there was no evidence of a morale problem in the public service. “I want to do a good job. I think I’m doing a good job,” he said.

Wouters is hardly neutral on the subject. However, is he really doing a good job? More broadly, are senior bureaucrats leading the public service well, and, by extension, the working in the public interest?… Read the rest

Canadian Forces can’t sweep sexual assaults under the carpet, again

National Defence Minister Rob Nicholson, right, and General Tom Lawson, Chief of Defence Staff

Two weeks ago, L’actualité, and its sister magazine, Maclean’s, broke a major story on sexual assault in the Canadian Armed Forces. The numbers were stunning: it estimated an average of five assaults every day. What was worse, the victims reported being intimidated into not making or dropping complaints, being harassed if they persisted, and assailants getting off scot-free. The Minister of National Defense immediately ordered an investigation. Senior officers claimed to be shocked by the report.

Even I was surprised. The figures must be too high, I thought. They mean that a little over 2.6% of members would be assaulted in any given year – a rate about two times higher than that estimated for the general public, depending what figures are used. But a review of statistics from the U.S. and a lengthy conversation with a journalist convinced me that it was accurate. I also recalled a conversation with a colleague who said that he believed every woman in the Forces deals with either serious sexual harassment or assault at some point.

The military brass cannot have been surprised – or, if they were, they were negligent.… Read the rest