All posts tagged David Hutton

Government doesn’t care about whistleblowers

From left to right: Mario Dion, Pierre Poilievre, Tony Clement and Wayne Wouters

Sean Bruyea

Canada’s Public Sector Integrity Commissioner, Clerk of the Privy Council, President of Treasury Board and Pierre Poilievre need some serious schooling from University of Saskatchewan’s recent uproar over the unjust firing of a whistleblowing professor. Maybe then public servant whistleblowers who truly care about the public will be protected and not persecuted by an insular and out-of-touch senior bureaucracy.

Robert Buckingham, a tenured professor, was fired May 14, 2014 from the University of Saskatchewan. His crime: speaking out against a money-saving plan to restructure and reduce faculties and staff.  Dr. Buckingham reported the usual litany of whistleblower reprisals including attacks to his credibility, management isolating him, intimidation and even an escort off campus after his dismissal.

What was unusual for Canada was the reaction. Students held mass demonstrations, politicians waded in, and academics worldwide pressured both the university and the provincial government to defend a whistleblower. Dr. Buckingham had his tenure restored the next day. The following week, the university provost, author of the letter firing Robert Buckingham, resigned. The university president was fired from her post but offered another position and a hefty severance.… Read the rest

Yes, we can trust Ottawa again

Sean Bruyea

Holding government accountable has been granted a ray of hope. Democracy Watch may proceed with a private prosecution of Nigel Wright for the secretive payment of $90,000 to Senator Mike Duffy. This initiative has much wider implications for ensuring greater accountability of Ottawa’s oversight agencies which have been rendered largely ineffective by design and/or management. The end result could be a federal government which actually becomes more transparent and accountable.

Duff Connacher of Democracy Watch accuses the RCMP of “covering up” any justification the federal agency may have in failing to prosecute Wright. The RCMP is one of the penultimate agencies of accountability and oversight in Canada. How do we as Canadians safeguard democracy and the rule of law if these watchdogs fail to do their job?

Politicians have exhausted our trust that they seek good governance in Ottawa. Meanwhile MPs have been complicit or apathetic to the increasing ineffectiveness of offices created ostensibly to ensure accountable and transparent government.

Politicians and their parties come and go but the bureaucracy is the eternal rock beneath the immature antics of Parliament. In spite of increasing autocratic tendencies in our current government, MPs appear unwilling or unable to make public servants accountable, let alone make government transparent.… Read the rest

UBC Institutes Allard Prize for International Integrity

The University of British Columbia is now in the nomination phase of its inaugural Allard Prize for International Integrity. This award is going to be presented to a person whom they feel best meets the criteria of leadership and courage, and works toward greater  accountability, transparency, anti-corruption and the rule of law. It comes with a prize of $100,000.

This award is an important step in changing the way the world works. By rewarding those who strive for the common good in the face of great adversity, they are encouraging others to do the same and making a warning to those who are corrupt and anti-democratic. This is needed even in Canada, as it remains a dangerous place for whistleblowers. Those laws that exist are either ineffective or are largely ignored. This gives employers free rein to make reprisals that can range from simple harassment to firing – and even arrest on trumped-up charges. Culturally, Canadians intellectually accept whistleblowing as valuable, but prejudices remain deeply rooted.

The story of the Canada’s Office of Public Sector Integrity Commissioner is an excellent example. Christiane Ouimet, the first Commissioner, was forced to resign in disgrace after she was found to have made reprisals against her own whistleblowing employees.… Read the rest