All posts tagged Auditor General of Canada

Veterans deserve best democracy possible

Sean Bruyea

Another Remembrance Day has come and will quickly be gone. Lest We Forget.  But we do forget. Sad because now we need to remember more than ever why so many sacrificed, both the dead and the broken who are still amongst us. They sacrificed to hold the world accountable to what are hopefully higher principles.

It seems easier to understand the reasons for a past war like WW II: fight or be conquered (or stand by idly while others are conquered). We chose to stop regimes intent on destroying those treasured values which made our system work: rule of law, democracy, fundamental freedoms, etc.

Now we have soldiers returning from wars where the enemy is often indistinguishable from those we are trying to rescue in regions of the world which may or may not share common Canadian values. Debates rage and tempers flare as to whether there are “just” wars anymore.

What is irrefutable is that soldiers believe that they are fighting to make others accountable for a failure to treat fellow humans with dignity, respect and/or fundamental human and democratic rights. That’s correct, military members are the ultimate and hopefully last tool of ensuring accountability.

We have often seen the numbers: more than 115,000 Canadian military men and women have died holding others accountable.… Read the rest

There’s no accountability at Veterans Affairs Canada

The article below was first published in Ottawa’s Hill Times on February 27, 2012

By Allan Cutler and Ian Bron

Three weeks ago, John Larlee, chair of the Veterans Review and Appeal Board, responded to an op-ed written by Sean Bruyea. Bruyea’s comprehensive evidence and testimony effectively called Larlee to account for the failure of the Veterans Review and Appeal Board (VRAB) to provide dignified and adequate recourse for veterans as guaranteed by Canadian law.

What struck us as most curious about Larlee’s letter was its near complete lack of a substantive rebuttal to Bruyea’s original article. And since then, a scandal has arisen inside the VRAB which challenges Larlee’s missive.

To begin with, Larlee ignores the fact that in the last five years, the board has voluntarily and reluctantly granted permission for only two files to be returned to the Minister of Veterans Affairs for reconsideration. In the three years of Larlee’s tenure as chair, the board has not granted a single compassionate award allowed for in the legislation, another glaring shortfall in Larlee’s accounting of VRAB.

Hearing the story of VRAB member Harold Leduc, who was awarded $4,000 by the Canadian Human Rights Commission because of ill treatment by his colleagues, it makes perfect sense.… Read the rest

A man of courage

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