All posts tagged Robert Fife

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

MPs’ Parliamentary immunity should be re-examined

Allan Cutler

Recently, Canadians have been spectators to the Greatest Show on Earth. I am not talking about the circus. I am referring to the Senate. Thinking about it, maybe it is a circus. We have witnessed former Senators Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin, and Patrick Brazeau tell their side of the story. They have attacked the Conservative government, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and Senator Marjory LeBreton, amongst others. We have heard others give their input and differing versions.

Parliamentary immunity protects Members of Parliament from prosecution for slander and libel. While within the confines of the Senate or House of Commons, they are ‘safe’ and may say anything that they want. In theory, this immunity protects MPs and allows them to vote freely and expose the truth without fear of lawsuits. As a result, they can freely lie, mislead, destroy reputations, and impugn the integrity of any Canadian without fear of reprisals.

The major contrast between the Senate and the House of Commons has been the tone of the debate. The Senate, at least, has tried to maintain a degree of decorum. Is this an example of the wisdom of ages or just lack of experience in attacking the personal reputations of others?… Read the rest