On November 27, 2012, the Alberta legislature again debated the government's proposed whistleblower protection law, Bill 4. The opposition put forward 13 amendments, all of which were defeated.
Could the 29 miners killed at Pike River be alive today if better whistleblower protection laws had been in place? This is the troubling suggestion made by the Chief Ombudsman, Dame Beverley Wakem.
She has stated it is time to revisit the existing law, drawn up in 2000, which has arguably been ineffective as too few whistleblowers have come forward.
New Zealand's underused whistleblower protection act is not working and needs to be reviewed says Chief Ombudsman Dame Beverley Wakem.
There is soul-searching in the Office of the Ombudsman as to why no-one connected to Pike River blew the whistle on the poor safety standards at the mine where 29 people died when methane ignited there in November 2010.
President Barack Obama signed legislation Tuesday that affords greater protection to federal employees who expose fraud, waste and abuse in government operations.
Capping a 13-year effort by supporters of whistle-blower rights, the new law closes loopholes created by court rulings, which removed protections for federal whistle-blowers. One loophole specified that whistle-blowers were only protected when they were the first to report misconduct.
On November 22, 2012, the Alberta legislature debated the government's proposed whistleblower protection law, Bill 4. The discussion included references to FAIR and to FAIR's analysis of the bill.
Opposition parties at Quebec's National Assembly are calling for the introduction of whistleblower protection legislation. An all-party committee is currently looking over the Parti Québécois' Bill 1 — anti-corruption legislation that tightens the rules around the tendering of public contracts, such as road construction.
According to the provincial Liberal party and Coalition Avenir Québec, the bill does not do enough to shield civil servants who denounce collusion or corruption.
The Government Accountability Project (GAP) hailed today's Senate passage of S. 743, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA), by unanimous consent. The legislation would provide millions of federal workers with the rights they need to safely report government corruption and wrongdoing.
The bill reflects an unequivocal bipartisan consensus, having received the vote of every member in the 112th Congress. The House of Representatives unanimously approved S. 743 in September, and the Senate immediately followed suit during the lame duck session. The text of the bill can be read here.
When I first recognised that I was a whistleblower, I remember researching whistleblowing and its history. Among other references, in a book entitled The Synonym Finder, I found blowing the whistle was listed as a synonym for betrayal. Betrayal is an emotive word, and explains much of the stigma attached to whistleblowing and the reluctance to prescribe protections for whistleblowers.
In Australia, whistleblowers are untouchables. The real whistleblower does not betray the people; they betray only the private interests of those who subvert the public interest. But regrettably, in Australia, it is whistleblowers who have been betrayed; by regulators who have failed to regulate and by legislators who have failed to legislate. The public interest that whistleblowers have sought to protect has not protected them.
Before Alberta officials sat down to craft the proposed whistleblower protection laws introduced in the legislature this week, they looked across Canada and around the world to see how other governments have encouraged public servants to speak their minds.
“Extensive research has been undertaken to ensure this bill reflects best practices both nationally and internationally,” Don Scott, associate minister of accountability, transparency and transformation, said when he introduced the bill for second reading this week.
Dave Rutherford of Edmonton local radio station 630CHED interviews David Hutton on the subject of the government's proposed new Whistleblower law, tabled in the legislature last week.
FAIR has just published a detailed analysis of the Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower Protection) Act, and has identified many serious loopholes and shortcomings. FAIR has concluded that this bill does the opposite of what it claims by protecting the government, not whistleblowers or the public.