CBC News: Tuesday, January 23, 2001
Two whistleblowers at the Department of Foreign affairs have been ordered to pay about $80,000 to the government. John Guenette and Joanna Gualtieri attempted to sue the government for harassment they claim to have suffered after speaking out about wasteful spending in the department.
But five months ago, an Ontario judge ruled that Guenette and Gualtieri couldn’t sue.
As part of the ruling, the two have to pay the government for its legal costs. Axworthy’s lawyers, and lawyers in the Justice Department, demanded a reimbursement from the whistleblowers of about $400,000.
But Justice James Chadwick settled on just under $80,000.
“I simply am not in a position to support these kinds of legal costs,” says Gualtieri. “I mean, I had to hire my own lawyer.”
Louis Clark speaks for a Washington-based advocacy group for whistleblowers.
He says forcing the two whistleblowers to pay such fees is “outrageous” and will prevent others from speaking out about alleged corruption and wasteful spending.