An attempt by the P.E.I. Progressive Conservative Party to have whistleblower protection legislation enacted in the province was defeated by the government Thursday.
Opposition Leader Olive Crane spoke about the whistleblower legislation to reporters Thursday morning, with the backing of an expert on such legislation.
She said the bill was designed to protect public servants from reprisals if they report government wrongdoings.
It would have protected the confidentiality of whistleblowers, Crane said, and ensured that they were protected against repercussions such as job loss, demotion, or harassment.
David Hutton, of the Federal Accountability Initiative for Reform (FAIR), which promotes integrity within government, backed the bill.
"We want to endorse this bill as being a valuable initiative, and one that will achieve its purpose," he said.
"The opponents will often put forward very apocalyptic predictions of what will happen, that there will be a flood of embarrassing revelations, that government will grind to a halt because people will be afraid to do anything, employees will blackmail their bosses.
"None of these things has ever happened."
Crane said all politicians receive information from confidential sources, and they deserve protection.
"We all know we receive brown envelopes, and behind that envelope is a real person, and if you get to meet that person you get to know just how much stress they're under," she said. "So, this is the least we can do for that person."
But when the bill had its second reading, it came under fierce attack from the Liberals, who hold 24 seats in the 27-seat legislature.
Premier Robert Ghiz said the bill was unnecessary, and criticized it as being flawed and poorly researched.
Ghiz said there is stronger legislative protection already in place — including the Auditor General's Act and the Fraud Awareness Act.