Last week I had the honour to accompany Hugh Danford, a whistleblower of great courage, to the Office of the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner. Hugh is a former pilot with many, many years in the cockpit and who served as an aviation safety inspector at Transport Canada from 1996 to about 2004.
Following a 1999 crash in Davis Inlet which killed 22 year-old Damien Hancock, Mr. Danford prepared a report documenting Transport Canada management’s failure to act against the pilot (the Hancock report). This pilot had already crashed four times and had a long history of other violations. The Hancock report also noted that Transport Canada was not implementing a Transportation Safety Board recommendation and that Transport Canada was negligent and in part responsible for the death of Damien Hancock.
As punishment for speaking out persistently, Transport Canada senior management employed a tactic which has been well described in literature on whistleblowing: dubbed the “nuts and sluts” approach, there was a concerted effort to represent Mr. Danford as mentally unstable (women are sometimes represented as promiscuous). He was also described as insubordinate. At one point, Transport Canada management ordered him arrested on unfounded allegations that he had made a death threat.… Read the rest
Posted by Ian Bron on November 8, 2011
The Auditor General’s latest report contains the usual range of incompetence and ineptitude. That also includes the G8/G20 summit spending – the information leaked to the press during the election campaign.
With respect to the summits, there’s a clear problem with accountability. Parliament was lied to and the approval of projects for funding was conducted in classic pork-barrel politics style: a bunch of Tony Clement’s hangers-on got together and doled out the goodies. It’s enough to make Jean Chrétien proud. But at least work was actually conducted in this case.
Ministerial accountability also took a blow. John Baird blamed the illegitimate shuffling of money from one pot to another on bureaucrats. New direction to ministers makes it clear that this will be policy from now on. Of course, bureaucrats just point their fingers back to the politicians.
So much for the public interest.
Other stories of interest in the report include the mishandling of major IT projects (I’ve always said government was useless at it) and the RCMP under civilian Commissioner Bill Elliott is failing to keep up with key criminal work. Let’s hope that he never gets a government job with any responsibility again.
Cabinet ministers’ 2011 guide downplays ministerial accountability
The Hill Times (Ottawa),June 6, 2011
Summary: Prime Minister Stephen Harper has issued new rules for his Cabinet ministers that in one section appear to reduce blame they must take for wrongdoing in their departments, but which also appear to be aimed at avoiding a repetition of the kind of scandals that marked his government over the past two years.… Read the rest
Posted by Ian Bron on June 11, 2011