All posts tagged mobbing

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

Denis Rancourt vs. the U of O: the saga continues

Last week I and a number of members of Canadians for Accountability attended the mandatory arbitration hearing for Denis Rancourt, who was fired by the University of Ottawa in 2009. The reason given was his pedagogy – which, contrary to university policy, included a simple pass/fail system in which those who passed got an A+. This firing was unprecedented as Prof. Rancourt was a tenured professor with quite a record of accomplishment in his field. As to marking practices, the growing consensus is that the university violated the principle of academic freedom when they used it as a pretext to fire him.

The real reasons are considerably murkier, with evidence suggesting political motives and spitefulness by those whose egos have been bruised by his persistent criticism of the university’s administration. In particular, Allan Rock, former Liberal Cabinet Minister and now president of the university, has been singled out.

Evidence suggests a student was hired to spy on Prof. Rancourt, as well as other forms of academic mobbing so well described by Prof. Kenneth Westhues, an expert in the field.

It took some effort by Prof. Rancourt to get the union actively working for him, but now that they are committed they are reportedly confident that he will win.… Read the rest

The tenuous link between performance and accountability in government

Here are three stories that at first seem largely unrelated: In the first, the government has started cutting back in the public service, beginning with cuts at Public Works. On the face of it, and aside from the Prime Minister’s election promise that he wouldn’t do this, that’s not a bad idea. I estimate that the public service is about a third larger than it needs to be to get the job done, based on my observations, if it was running efficiently. Which it isn’t.

In the second, new data shows that disability claims in the federal public service reached an new high in 2010: almost 3,900 people are on disability (about 1.4% of the entire workforce), Of those, 47% are on disability for mental health reasons.

Maintaining a decent workplace and facilitating work are two of the most important functions of a leader or manager. Clearly, they are failing.

Which brings me to the third story: There is a report at Treasury Board Secretariat recommending that executives in government get a pay raise. It’s not indicated who wrote the report, but it is almost certain that even if government executives didn’t write it, they approved its content.

Besides the obvious conflict of interest, the premise behind the report is completely flawed.… Read the rest