All posts tagged Tony Clement

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

Another perspective on sick leave increases

Allan Cutler 

This piece was first published in the Hill Times on February 17, 2014.

There is a move by the current Conservative government to reduce sick leave benefits for the rank and file public servants. The argument is that the amount of sick leave being used has increased from the past and is excessive. Treasury Board figures show it at 18 days a year. This is more than a public servant accumulates each year. Looking at this ‘deficit’ usage, TB must be right about the increase. Public servants have to be drawing from the leave that has been accumulated over the years. Whether or not, TB does anything, this will eventually stop. Sooner or later, the public service will run out of sick leave credits.

Of course the above statement, as Tony Clement the President of TB is aware, ignores the unpaid sick days and long-term disability that are included in the 18 days. The impression is given that public servants are taking excessive sick leave. What is needed to truly understand the numbers is the total of each one.

For these, we have to ignore Tony Clement and go to an impartial authority, the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO), Jean-Denis Fréchette.… Read the rest

A growing need for change

The papers have been filled with accountability stories. Or rather, the lack of it in the face of obvious corruption or mismanagement.

From Quebec, the stories are all about the construction industry corruption inquiry. This has been brewing for months, and almost died. Premier Jean Charest, who had been taking the heat for a while – what with his $75,000 second salary form the Quebec Liberal Party, paid for by who knows whom – was starting to breath easier. He was even rumoured to be considering an election.

But then a new report was leaked, and it was damning. It linked organized crime to construction and argued that even the financing of political parties was corrupt.

Charest tried to keep resisting an inquiry, but people were having none of it. There was even a growing protest. So he tried to do the next best thing: formulate an inquiry which would be toothless, one where there would be no power to subpoena witnesses.

This is a classic cover-up tactic, frequently used after whistleblowing.

But again, the public was having none of it. Perhaps, as one pundit said, Quebec is a cow that has been milked too long and too hard, and is getting ready to kick the farmer.… Read the rest