A selected list of articles added to the FAIR website last month. These are about whistleblowing, whistleblowers, and the types of misconduct that they typically expose.
The federal integrity commissioner has found that a Service Canada manager in Manitoba misused public funds and assets.
Mario Dion's report into the wrongdoings, which was released Thursday in Ottawa, finds that the manager sold items from her her personal fitness business to the federal government — including water bottles priced at $80 each.
Christiane Ouimet’s old office has finally found a public servant whose wrongdoing rivals that committed by its own former commissioner.
A “bully” and an “autocrat” who used federal funds to buy two flatscreen televisions for her home, several $80 water bottles from her private business, and a massage chair that ended up in the men’s washroom has landed an unsavory distinction: being the first person fingered by the Public Sector Integrity Commission for wrongdoing.
After five years and more than 400 complaints, the federal Public Sector Integrity Commission has finally found wrongdoing.
Mario Dion, the office’s commissioner, tabled a report before the House of Commons and Senate on Thursday stating that a regional manager at Human Resources and Skills Development Canada committed serious wrongdoing under the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act, including misuse of public funds, public assets and gross mismanagement.
Mary Agnes Welch – March 19, 2012
A former federal bureaucrat slammed for gross mismanagement and misusing public funds is now working for University College of the North. Geri Knudson is listed as a human resources officer in the university's staff directory.
Jim Scott, the acting external relations director at UCN, said the school is aware of the allegations against Knudson and the damning details of her conduct laid out in a recent report by the federal integrity commissioner.
Compared to the last Integrity Commissioner (who was also the first one for Canada), the present commissioner is Diogenes with a lamp, rooting out corruption in High Places. Even so, he's pretty reluctant to nail -- or even identify -- bad guys.
Christiane Ouimet stepped down from the job in 2010 when Sheila Fraser was Auditor-General, and investigated her office and found that of 228 complaints filed in three years, only seven had been investigated, and no wrongdoing was ever found.
Every year for the past 14, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) has handed out Teddy awards to the worst examples of wasteful spending by federal, provincial and municipal governments.
This year, they also gave a lifetime achievement award to former Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe because of his decades-long commitment to outrageous federal spending and because he has managed to earn a federal pension of nearly $141,000 a year, despite having spent his career trying to break up the country.
The head of SNC-Lavalin, one of the world's biggest engineering and construction companies, has stepped down after an internal investigation found he had broken company rules by authorizing $56 million in mysterious payments.
But based on the findings of the investigation, Montreal-based SNC said it did not believe the payments were related to Libya, where the company has worked on several projects, including building a prison for the now-deposed regime of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The company was the subject of unflattering media attention in recent weeks over ties between a senior company executive and Gaddafi's family.
Two brothers whose luxury real estate developments play a prominent part in Vancouver's skyline have been arrested in Hong Kong on suspicion of corruption. Ray and Thomas Kwok were taken into custody as part of a reported wide-ranging investigation by Hong Kong's Independent Commission Against Corruption.
The pair are part-owners of Asia's biggest real estate developer, Sun Hung Kai Properties. The arrests sent the company's stock plummeting, bringing about a loss of about $5 billion in value.
Topics: White-collar crime
It wasn't the finale Garth Drabinsky would have scripted. The Supreme Court lowered the curtain on his long-running legal drama Thursday, leaving the former head of Livent Inc. to serve out his fraud sentence behind bars.
The man who brought lavish spectacles such as "The Phantom of the Opera" to the public assumed a starring role in a courtroom drama about falsified financial statements that dragged on for 14 years.
Kristi Miller would likely be able to help Canadians who don't have degrees in biology understand her groundbreaking — and complex — research into the Pacific salmon stock, which was published more than a year ago.
But so far, the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans scientist, who toils in a lab on Vancouver Island, has only spoken publicly at a formal inquiry into the decline of sockeye salmon in the Fraser River.
Yesterday an Ottawa-based civil society group, Peace Order and Good Governance (POGG) honoured councillor Brian Skakun from Prince George, B.C. for his courage in blowing the whistle when official channels had failed to protect three female RCMP civilians who were harassed by the police superintendent.
An internal investigation dismissed the women's complaints of harassment. Seeing no other feasible way to expose what had happened, Skakun leaked the report to the media, whereupon he found himself the target of determined efforts to punish and discredit him.
Elections Canada may be doing a great job of investigating the charges of vote suppression and so-called robocalls arising out of last May’s federal election. Its investigators could be getting to the bottom of this mess right now, and safeguarding our most basic democratic right – the right to vote.
But we don’t know and, more disturbingly, the agency charged with upholding the integrity of the electoral process has done a lousy job in providing public evidence that it carries out its mandate in a thorough, rigorous and unbiased way.
Topics: Electoral fraud
The centrepiece of whatever group perpetrated the robocall hoaxes, and is so far known to the public only by their alias “Pierre Poutine,” must be a voter information database. In Canada, these are called Liberalist (the Liberal Party), NDP Vote, and CIMS (the Conservative Party).
Those are their actual websites, yes. Although the websites aren’t much fun to play with if you don’t have a password to log in with. It is widely accepted that the Conservative database is by far the largest and the most powerful, which is what you’d expect given that party’s much deeper investment in fundraising drives across the country.
Topics: Electoral fraud
My name is Briony Penn — I am a journalist and lecturer, and I ran as a political candidate in the 2008 federal election. My other claim to fame is apparently being the first “victim” of illegal robocalls.
We tried to warn Canadians what was coming up in the next election, but our complaints were inadequately investigated by Elections Canada and ignored by most media. If they had been investigated properly, then the outcome of the 2011 election may well have looked very different.
Opposition MPs say a surprise allegation in the federal budget that Canadian charities are violating federal rules limiting their political advocacy is retribution for widespread opposition from environmental groups to the massive Northern Gateway oil sands pipeline across British Columbia.
The obscure provision in the budget Thursday to beef up the Canada Revenue Agency’s “enforcement tools” to monitor political activities of charities demonstrates the partisan nature of the Conservative government, opposition MPs said.
Great news! A federal court ruled Thursday that FDA must finally stop lagging when it comes to regulating the overuse of antibiotics in farm animals and follow through on its 1977 proposal to ban the non-therapeutic use of two common antibiotics in animal feed, unless the makers of the drugs can prove their safety.
Yes, the FDA proposal was in limbo for three-and-a-half decades until the agency quietly abandoned it in December 2011, only to limit use of a less common antibiotic in January.
In the country next door, tobacco companies have been convicted in a landmark racketeering case and been forced because of other lawsuits to pay out at least US$206 billion over a quarter-century — a sum bigger than the annual GDP of most countries.
The legal skies have been somewhat less stormy here than in the United States.But that could change next week. A class-action lawsuit from smokers who claim they were duped for years by big tobacco companies as they became addicted to cigarettes, then suffered from serious health problems, will have its day in court.
The Progressive Conservative government's failure to move quickly on whistleblower legislation is a missed opportunity to improve accountability in a government plagued with accusations of heavy handedness, critics say.
Premier Alison Redford promised during last year's leadership campaign to institute whistleblower legislation, "to encourage government workers to speak out about waste, fraud or abuse in government."
Sameh Boshra did something radical this week. Boshra, who was fired from his job as an analyst at Statistics Canada in 2009, flipped on a digital recorder at a hearing of the Public Service Labour Relations Board and refused to turn it off. That brought the hearing, which had been scheduled to last three days, to an abrupt halt.
Unlike the courts, the quasi-judicial PSLRB does not record its proceedings. Nor does it allow anyone else to do so. So when Boshra pressed the record button, something had to give. And it did.
The wife of one of the 17 offshore oil industry workers who died three years ago today when a Cougar helicopter crashed southeast of Newfoundland is renewing calls to improve offshore chopper safety in the province.
"It makes me angry, and there are times when it makes me really angry,” said Lori Chynn, whose husband, John, was aboard the Sikorsky model S-92a that lost oil pressure shortly after takeoff and plunged into the ocean mid-morning on March 12, 2009.
Two years after filing a complaint with the RCMP for corruption allegations against Calgary-based Blackfire Resources, a group of Canadian civil society organizations would like to know where Canadian authorities stand on the company's controversial operations in Chiapas, Mexico.
But, after an eighteen-month wait, a request for information to the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade under the Access to Information Act is still unanswered.
A long-awaited report on Ornge by Ontario's auditor general won't be able to tell the whole story behind the scandal at the province's troubled air ambulance service, The Canadian Press has learned.
The former management and board of directors at Ornge refused to co-operate with auditor general Jim McCarter, denying him key documents that would have revealed what a source familiar with Ornge characterized as "the truth" about the agency's web of for-profit subsidiaries.
From June 2003 to November 2006, police from the RCMP-led Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, who had been investigating the Mafia since September 2002, recorded thousands of conversations at the Consenza Social Club, a small, unassuming café tucked inside a strip mall in St. Léonard.
Police bugged an office behind the main café where Mafia bosses met daily to discuss business and divide the cash profits that flowed like a river of gold from their extensive drug, loansharking and gambling networks.
"This city, this province, this country has a reputation of being the best location to carry out white collar crime, corporate fraud, in the industrialized world."
These words were delivered by corporate director Spencer Lanthier as he received something of a lifetime achievement award at the annual Institute of Corporate Directors dinner last year.
The mayor of Clarence-Rockland and three town councillors are caught up in an investigation by the Ontario Provincial Police anti-rackets squad into emails about ousting a town manager from office, the Citizen has learned.
The emails between Rockland Mayor Marcel Guibord and his former business partner, Rockland lawyer Stéphane Lalonde, and three current town councillors date back to November 2010 - weeks before the politicians were sworn into office following municipal elections held that fall.
Morteza Jafarpour, executive director of the now-defunct Settlement and Integration Services Organization in Hamilton, has been charged with defrauding the federal government of more than $4 million between 2008 and 2010.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Hamilton Niagara commercial crime section charged Jafarpour, 52, of Ottawa and Ahmed Robert Salama, 39, of Oakville, Wednesday following a 15-month investigation with Hamilton police.
A new era of transparency was promised by Pierre Moreau when he took over as transport minister.But, a week into the job, Moreau has refused to make public a damning report into collusion in Quebec's construction industry that points the finger at organized crime, construction and engineering firms, Transport Quebec and political parties.
An anti-collusion squad led by former Montreal police chief Jacques Duchesneau prepared the report. Transport Quebec hired him in 2010 to investigate allegations of price-fixing and influence peddling in road contracts.
The city of Montreal has a registry of 12,629 suppliers that it says regularly get municipal contracts, but just 10 suppliers in the registry have obtained nearly onequarter of the city contracts over the past five years, a Gazette investigation has found.
In fact, the investigation discovered that in most cases a single contractor will use multiple companies or different operating names to win contracts.
A little old lady takes on the RBC lion. And the little old lady wins. With a payment of $17 million, the Royal Bank of Canada has agreed to settle the Earl Jones case – and thus avoid a trial in a class-action lawsuit by the victims of the convicted scam artist.
The offer has been accepted by the victims, the vast majority of whom are seniors. The offer, first made in October, was signed Monday at 1 p.m., said Kevin Curran, a member of the victims' group.
Industry Canada privately defended its cellphone plan calculator as an "important consumer-education tool'' even as the minister's office publicly claimed the initiative was killed because it didn't work, internal records show.
After the government spent $1.4 million over three years to develop an online calculator allowing consumers to compare cellphone plans tailored to their usage patterns, then-industry minister Tony Clement killed the initiative just before its launch in 2009. At the time, his spokesman said it would have been "irresponsible'' to launch it with "inaccurate'' information.
Aleksandar Vasovic and Ben Hirschler – March 1, 2012
According to a signal from the electronic tag around his ankle, Nenad Borojevic last left his apartment building at 6:25 p.m. Jan. 10. It was the festive season in Serbia; the capital was enjoying the lull between Orthodox Christmas and New Year.
Police said Borojevic, a doctor, headed to Kosutnjak park, a popular wooded area in Belgrade dotted with restaurants and crisscrossed by jogging paths.
Today is my last day at Goldman Sachs. After almost 12 years at the firm — first as a summer intern while at Stanford, then in New York for 10 years, and now in London — I believe I have worked here long enough to understand the trajectory of its culture, its people and its identity. And I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it.
To put the problem in the simplest terms, the interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money. Goldman Sachs is one of the world’s largest and most important investment banks and it is too integral to global finance to continue to act this way. The firm has veered so far from the place I joined right out of college that I can no longer in good conscience say that I identify with what it stands for.
A Texas judge Tuesday approved the $158 million settlement between Johnson & Johnson and the state of Texas over allegations that J&J's Janssen subsidiary illegally promoted the antipsychotic drug Risperdal through the Medicaid program.
Before Travis County District Judge John Dietz banged the gavel in Austin for the last time in this eight-year case, lawyers for the company, state and whistle blower Allen Jones argued over how the money should be divided.
A years-long environmental battle ended abruptly when the company producing a fumigant for strawberries and other crops yanked it from U.S. distribution, bringing relief to activists and raising concern among growers.
Methyl iodide, meant to replace an ozone-depleting fumigant being phased out by an international treaty, was believed to have little effect on air quality. But some scientists say it can cause cancer, brain damage and miscarriages among workers who handle it and can be a threat to ground water.
What’s worse: to be persecuted and indicted for trying to expose an act of wrongdoing — or to be ignored for doing so?
Whistleblowers have been under intense scrutiny in Washington lately, at least when it comes to the national security state. In recent years, the Obama administration has set a record by accusing no fewer than six government employees, who allegedly leaked classified information to reporters, of violating the Espionage Act, a draconian law dating back to 1917.
According to a signal from the electronic tag around his ankle, Nenad Borojevic last left his apartment building at 6.25 p.m. on January 10. It was the festive season in Serbia; the capital was enjoying the lull between Orthodox Christmas and New Year.
Police said Borojevic, a doctor, headed to Kosutnjak park, a popular wooded area in Belgrade dotted with restaurants and criss-crossed by jogging paths.
Former Irish prime minister Bertie Ahern received at least €209,779 ($277,000) in secret payments while in office and repeatedly lied about this under oath, a mammoth fact-finding judicial investigation ruled Thursday.
The three judges led by Justice Alan Mahon stopped short of finding Ahern guilty of corruption, because they couldn’t prove that Ahern gave favours to any of his cash donors when he was finance minister in the 1990s.
Lynn Szymoniak may have just won $18 million for uncovering massive, systemic foreclosure fraud. But that doesn't mean her troubles are over.
Szymoniak, a white-collar attorney who became famous last year as the whistleblower in a far-reaching foreclosure fraud case, is still enmeshed in conflict with Deutsche Bank, which foreclosed on Szymoniak's Florida home in 2008.
Michael Woodford, the man who exposed a $1.5 billion loss-hiding scheme at Japan’s Olympus Corp. –- and was fired soon after — has been named “business person of the year” by publications from the Sunday Times to The Independent.
Now he can add to those honors another: whistleblower of the year, courtesy of The Austin, Texas-based Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, whose house publication is Fraud Magazine.’
No sooner had Aggie Sutcliffe mentioned former Olympus boss Michael Woodford in today’s Ethics Girl column than the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) named him as the recipient of its 2012 Cliff Robertson Sentinel Award for whistleblowing.
The annual award was established to recognise “a person who, without regard to personal or professional consequences, has publicly disclosed wrongdoing in business or government — the unselfish hero”.
Heather Brooke, an American living in London, was writing a book about the Freedom of Information Act. In 2004, she approached the House of Commons about MP's expenses, and found her legitimate requests blocked repeatedly.
This entertaining drama follows one dogged and spirited individual over the most powerful institution in the country. In all the scandal of the MP's expenses, one story remains to be told and it is the best of them all: because there would have been no documents leaked to one of the leading UK newspapers, The Daily Telegraph - indeed no documents of any kind at all - had not one supremely determined journalist fought for five long years against the increasingly desperate attempts by the House of Commons to keep their expenditure secret.
Heather Brooke is fashioned like one of those Amazonian carvings on the prow of a ship, breasting the ocean of deceit and greed with her cinnamon hair flying, eyes blazing and long chin thrust forward. Defiance seems to be her natural stance and, like a ship’s figurehead, she would strike fear into the enemy.
She is the journalist who smelt a rat over MPs’ expenses and for five years doggedly used the Freedom of Information Act to try to prise out the details. But for The Daily Telegraph's scoop, which effectively robbed her of personal victory but made her a campaigning heroine, not many people would have heard of her.
So ethics guru Bernardo Kliksberg is back in the news. On March 1, FOX News' George Russell published a detailed piece about Kliksberg’s peculiar departure from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in January 2007, just before the Social Capital and Ethics Initiative “coordinated” by him ran completely out of steam.
The Norwegian and Canadian Governments funded this effort, and a whistleblower at the IDB disclosed repeated and costly ethical violations by Kliksberg, using the funds of the initiative. It seems that Kliksberg, the author of More Ethics, More Development, among other treatises, is himself guilty of diverting funds from the IDB’s ethics initiative.
Riding a wave of public disgust at graft, a new Czech travel agency has started tours highlighting sites linked to corruption, a social ill that has plagued the ex-communist country for decades.
The aptly-named CorruptTour agency touts the "best of the worst" trips to posh villas, a nonsensical funicular, an empty meadow hosting a non-existent Olympic stadium, even a big, boxy concrete mausoleum.
Thirty years after it was entangled in a scandal involving the mafia, money laundering and the mysterious death of the man nicknamed "God's banker", the Vatican bank faces fresh controversy.
The bank — formally known as the Institute for Works of Religion or IOR — has suffered the ignominy of having one of its accounts closed by JP Morgan after stone-walling requests for information.
The Supreme Court has dealt privacy advocates a huge setback. By a 5-3 majority, the court ruled that people who sue the government for invading their privacy can only recover out-of-pocket damages. And whistle-blower lawyers say that leaves victims who suffer emotional trouble and smeared reputations with few if any options.
Justice Samuel Alito and all four of his conservative colleagues turned back a challenge from a pilot named Stan Cooper. (Justice Elena Kagan did not participate in the case.)
Under a new law, doctors in Pennsylvania can access information about chemicals used in natural gas extraction—but they won't be able to share it with their patients.
A provision buried in a law passed last month is drawing scrutiny from the public health and environmental community, who argue that it will "gag" doctors who want to raise concerns related to oil and gas extraction with the people they treat and the general public.
A key figure of Romania's 1989 revolution, MEP Laszlo Tokes, resigned from his party on Monday over a controversial Canadian gold mine project in northwestern Romania.
His stand centres on a particular method of extracting gold which uses cyanide to leach the precious metal from excavated material.
An appeal by the Department of Foreign Affairs to block an Ottawa law professor from getting a better look at reacted documents that detail the status of human rights in Afghanistan won't be heard by the Supreme Court of Canada.
The Department of Foreign Affairs had been trying to prevent University of Ottawa law professor Amir Attaran from gaining further access to the departmental reports.
It is not surprising that the National Research Council reneged on the offer it made to Dr. Chander Grover.
Any avid follower of the Citizen's 22-year coverage of this story would assert that the NRC has used this strategy all along to gain ground on Grover. I followed this case also by attending 30 days of hearing before the tribunal.
Having been through a similar ordeal, I can state first hand that these officials and pseudo processes only convene when they can manipulate the data. Mr. Boshra has done an outstanding job of exposing the lack of integrity that is the hallmark of so called "proper channels".
Having attempted to use whistleblower legislation in my own province, I would not recommend that other provinces hold out false hope of protection with new legislation. Unless there are significant differences to legislation passed elsewhere as outlined by FAIR, there would still be no...
In my view, a major limitation in this Ottawa Citizen article is that it provides little exposure and critical analysis of what, I believe, are lawyer Stéphane J. Lalonde possible motives for offering his advice in the manner described in this newspaper.
Anyone who buys into the...
The charges just laid by the RCMP are the result of a determined effort by a small team of SISO managers to expose misconduct by their bosses. By working together, compiling a mass of compelling evidence, and then sharing it with a trusted police force, they were able to trigger a successful 15-...
CBC news has reported that the manager has retired and secured employment at a Manitoba University. As a Manitoba taxpayer, I am outraged that her career is NOT derailed, and I'm still paying her salary...even as she collects a pension that most of us can only dream of...