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News Release


Thursday, November 17, 2005

OTTAWA - Today, Democracy Watch called on the Senate to pass flawed Bill C-11 within the next week to ensure the Bill becomes law before an election is called.  Bill C-11 establishes a more effective but still very flawed system for protecting government employees who “blow the whistle” on government wrongdoing.

Democracy Watch also called on all the federal political parties to match the Conservative Party’s pledge to strengthen the whistleblower protection system in key ways as a first action after the election.

“While the whistleblower protection system proposed in Bill C-11 is very flawed, the Senate should pass the bill before an election is called, and all the federal political parties should make the same commitment the Conservatives have to strengthen the system right after the next election,” said Duff Conacher, Coordinator of Democracy Watch.

“To back up their commitment, all of the federal party leaders should pledge in writing to resign and call an election if they fail to keep their promise to strengthen the whistleblower protection system right after the election,” said Conacher.

Bill C-11 fails to establish an effective whistleblower protection system in the following seven ways (NOTE: on November 4th, Conservative leader Stephen Harper pledged to correct all seven of these flaws):

  1. under Bill C-11, only bureaucrats (not the public, nor politicians nor political staff) can report wrongdoing (ie. a violation of any law, regulation, code, policy, guideline) by other bureaucrats and politicians, and not every government institution is covered by the system;
  2. under Bill C-11, bureaucrats could often be required to identify themselves and complain first to their bosses or someone else who is involved in the situation (although anonymous complaints are not prohibited);
  3. to be fully independent and effective, the head of the proposed new whistleblower protection agency should be approved by opposition party leaders, not chosen only by the Prime Minister;
  4. Bill C-11 does not clearly give the whistleblower protection agency the power to report regularly on the number and topic of ongoing investigations, and wrongly prohibits the reporting of the full results of investigations including the identity of wrongdoers;
  5. Bill C-11 does not give the whistleblower watchdog agency the power to penalize the wrongdoers, to order a clean-up of the wrongdoing, or to penalize anyone who resists or delays cleaning up the wrongdoing;
  6. Bill C-11 does not give the whistleblower watchdog agency the power to reward whistleblowers, and;
  7. Bill C-11 does not give everyone involved in an investigation situation the same support, nor the support or clear right to appeal in court the ruling of the watchdog agency.

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Duff Conacher, Coordinator of Democracy Watch
Tel: (613) 241-5179

Democracy Watch's overall Clean Up the System webpage

Democracy Watch's Government Ethics Campaign

 Federal Conservative Party's Ethics and Accountability Package