The federal Conservatives' 2006 election platform states: "There have been many examples over the years of reprisals against government whistle-blowers, including public servants who helped reveal the sponsorship scandal, and others who exposed waste and abuse in the Department of Foreign Affairs ... much more still needs to be done."
The Conservatives' so-called "Federal Accountability Act" (FAA) failed to do the "much more that needed to be done" and, as the Richard Colvin case and other recent situations show clearly, the Conservatives have continued the undemocratic and unethical practice of retaliating against whistle-blowers.
The FAA established a system that: does not cover all federal public servants (as promised); does not provide promised adequate funding for legal services for whistle-blowers; does not provide promised rewards (or even adequate compensation) to whistle-blowers whose claims are proven true, and; that requires the whistle-blower to prove retaliation has occurred (instead of requiring the government to prove it has not punished the whistle-blower).
Canadians deserve better, especially from a government that promised to practise politics differently.
In the current minority government situation, opposition parties can do more than complain about the Conservatives. If they really believe in whistle-blower protection, they will work together to pass the needed changes to strengthen the currently weak protection system.
Duff Conacher, Coordinator, Democracy Watch, Ottawa.
(Original article is no longer available on National Post website)