Groups silenced, former integrity officer ignored as whistleblower watchdog appointment is rammed through committee
Groups call on opposition
MPs and Conservative MPs with integrity to vote against
appointment in House vote
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OTTAWA– Today, FAIR, Canadians for Accountability, Democracy Watch and the 30-member group Government Ethics Coalition called on opposition parties and Conservative MPs with integrity to vote against Prime Minister Harper's appointment of Mario Dion as the new Public Sector Integrity Commissioner.
"There are many reasons to be concerned that Mario Dion will continue the extremely weak enforcement record of disgraced former Integrity Commissioner Christiane Ouimet, and so we call on all MPs with integrity to vote against the appointment of Mr. Dion," said David Hutton, FAIR's Executive Director, on behalf of all the groups. "There are 10 questions about Dion's appointment that raise serious concerns that have not been addressed."
There is no dispute that the appointment of now-disgraced former Integrity Commissioner Christiane Ouimet was a serious mistake, leading to a spectacular 3-year meltdown of PSIC, the agency she headed.
Regrettably, the appointment process for her successor, Mario Dion, gives little assurance that anything has been learned from this fiasco.
The new Integrity Commissioner is, like Ouimet, an insider whose entire career has been within the bureaucracy – a point of great concern to many. His appointment is being rammed through Parliament with little opportunity for dissent, debate or reflection. Highly-qualified witnesses have been excluded from the process and denied any opportunity to testify, and the absurd decision to call no other witnesses besides Dion was made behind closed doors in a secret committee meeting.
Dr. Edward Keyserlingk, the former Public Sector Integrity Officer (who was charged with protecting whistleblowers before PSIC was created, but with very limited powers) called the appointment of a senior bureaucrat ‘disastrous’ in a multi-page letter to committee chair Pat Martin. Dr. Keyserlingk is highly respected for his efforts to establish a more powerful agency – but he will not be called as a witness either.
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FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Tyler Sommers, Coordinator of Democracy Watch or Duff
Conacher, Board member of Democracy Watch and
Chairperson of the Government
David Hutton, Executive Director, FAIR (Federal
Accountability Initiative for Reform)
Ian Bron, Managing Director, Canadians
To see the December
2010 report on former disgraced Integrity Commissioner
Christiane Ouimet by Auditor General Sheila Fraser, click
To see the list of
needed reforms to the Public
Servants Disclosure Protection Act, click here.