All posts tagged ethics and integrity

Please Put Us Out Of Business

Kevin Page, Canada’s former Parliamentary Budget Officer, has a new book being launched today.   In Unaccountable – Truth and Lies on Parliament Hill, he describes his clashes with the Conservative Government and has some very sage advice for our Public Service.   As I read an except of the book in the Saturday newspaper I couldn’t help thinking that in Page’s world organizations like Canadians for Accountability would not need to exist… and that would be a good thing.

Page talks about the Public Trust and public servants acting in a system that can bear even the closest public scrutiny, “an obligation that is not fully discharged by simply acting within the law”.

Page is saying without using the words that the public service is just that… a public service … and not a political service.  The code of the public service includes the words: competence, excellence, efficiency, objectivity and impartiality. These are words to live and work by!

I am sure I speak for the rest of the Board of C4A when I say: “Please put us out of business.”

Bruce Ricketts, President, Canadians for Accountability

 … Read the rest

Sylvie Therrien, 2014 Golden Whistle Award Winner

Last Monday, POGG Canada and Canadians for Accountability awarded the seventh annual Golden Whistle Award. This Award is presented annually to honour a whistleblower for integrity, courage, and resolve in the service of “Peace, Order and Good Government”. As usual, there were a number of worthy candidates, but unfortunately only one can be chosen. This year, the award went to Sylvie Therrien, a former employee who blew the whistle on a grossly unethical policy targeting employment insurance claimants.

When she started her job as a federal Employment Insurance fraud investigator, Ms. Therrien was surprised to find out that the main – perhaps only – measure of her performance was whether she had met her target for cutting off EI claimants on the basis of fraud: $35,000-$40,000 per month. If she had been able to meet those targets using  only those who had actually committed fraud, it’s likely we would never have heard of her. By her estimate, only a very small minority were actual fraud cases – as low as one in twenty.

Rather than assessing each case on the basis of its merits and assuming innocence until proven guilty, she and other fraud inspectors were told to comb through people lives to find any excuse to cut benefits.… Read the rest

Time to worry about the state of our democracy

Allan Cutler

I worry about the state or ‘fate’ of democracy in our country. Slowly laws are being passed to restrict freedoms, stifle opposition, and reduce transparency. Sometimes I wonder what the Parliamentarians have in mind.

It is convenient for the governing party to reduce the power and rights of any opposition to ensure that they remain in power. However, do they not see the flip side of the coin? When they are out of office, and it will happen eventually, their ‘replacements’ will inherit these increased tools of power. As a result, they will be deprived of effective opposition by the very laws that they have passed now.

Even more importantly, do Parliamentarians not realize (or do they just not care) that their children or grandchildren will inherit this reduced freedom? As democracy erodes and power concentrates in the hands of the few, our personal freedoms are threatened.

The Elections Canada situation is a prime example and a worrying one. The underpinning of our democratic system is the belief that elections are conducted fairly. The Conservative government is reducing the ability of Elections Canada to ensure elections are fair so they can be re-elected with less opposition or challenges. Sooner or later, the Conservatives will lose the right to govern and become a party in opposition.… Read the rest