Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Protecting whistleblowers: It seemed like a good idea at the time.

It was only a few years ago (emphasis tail-waggingly added):

Harper Promises Stronger Whistleblower Legislation

Feb 1st, 2006

In a press conference following release of the Gomery Report Part 2, Stephen Harper reiterated his promise to enact an Accountability Act, as set out during his election campaign.

The Accountability Act promises to:

* Give the Public Service Integrity Commissioner the power to enforce compliance with the Act.
* Ensure that all Canadians who report government wrongdoing are protected, not just public servants.
* Remove the government’s ability to exempt Crown corporations and other bodies from the Act.
* Require the prompt public disclosure of information revealed by whistleblowers, except where national security or the security of individuals is affected.
* Ensure that whistleblowers have access to the courts and that they are provided with adequate legal counsel.
* Establish monetary rewards for whistleblowers who expose wrongdoing or save taxpayers dollars.

These are sensible and necessary measures, and exactly the kind of action required to make it harder for wrongdoers to suppress the truth.

So how's that working out these days? Oh:

Diplomat-whistleblower says he faces government reprisal

OTTAWA—Richard Colvin, the whistleblower-diplomat in the Afghan detainee issue, says he believes the Conservative government is retaliating for his damaging torture testimony late last year.

In a letter Monday to the Military Police Complaints Commission, Owen Rees, Colvin's Toronto lawyer, says his client has “a reasonable belief” that the government's refusal to pay his legal bills is a reprisal.

Rees says the government has essentially stopped paying Colvin's legal fees since November, when the diplomat told a House of Commons committee that several senior government officials were aware that Canadian Forces in Afghanistan were handing over detainees to be tortured by Afghan authorities in 2005 and 2006...

Colvin is entitled to legal representations as a federal civil servant who was summoned to testify about his work in Afghanistan.

The Stephen Harper Party of Canada: Destroying the careers and lives of Canadians, one troublesome public servant at a time.

(Wag of the tail.)


Anonymous said...

Somehow it's different if it is not done for partisan purposes that advance the Harper neo-con agenda...

sooey said...

The Liberals should go to bat for him - pronto.

CC said...

Yes, sooey ... courageously standing on principle. It's what the Liberals are known for.

deBeauxOs said...

Not to mention that awkward "torture lite" thing and Iggy's defense of it in a former life.

Holly Stick said...

As someone pointed out somewhere, Colvin is not actually a whistleblower; he was subpoena'd to testify. He still has the guts to tell the truth, unlike the cowardly Harper bunch.

liberal supporter said...

Hey deBeauxOs, maybe you can help me. I am unable to find links to Iggy's words on this:

"...in a situation of extreme necessity, the possibility, even a slight possibility, that it [torture] may reveal some life saving result would almost certainly overwhelm any consideration that it is evil." - Michael Ignatieff, The Gifford Lectures, University of Edinburgh, January 2003

I can only find other bloggers repeating this verbatim. But I thought this was part of his expanding on the dilemma of liberal democracies, and his conclusion was that even in a ticking bomb scenario, we lose too much by lowering ourselves to the level of those who would torture.

I can't find any current reference to support this though.

sooey said...

You're right. His views have been misrepresented. But it's telling that he doesn't clarify. That's because Liberals are determined to find NO common cause with the NDP, as if the NDP is the BIG BAD that the New Conservatives pretend it is. It's a stupid strategy and the Party should abandon it. But it won't because, once again, idiots are running the backroom.

liberal supporter said...

Well my Machiavellian side thought that the detainee scandal would end with Harper finally releasing documents that everyone agreed cleared him and MacKay, making everyone else look like fools.

So in a similar vein, come election time, I expect there will probably be lots of places to read Iggy's articles in full online so the current talking points can be refuted, making the BTs look like fools. Redundant, no?

The Liberals will want to look close enough to the NDP so it makes sense that they could have worked together in a short term coalition for a suitable emergency. But both parties will want to differentiate themselves otherwise, the Liberals probably by being the pragmatic centre between two ideological parties. This is why the concerted effort to brand Iggy as more right wing than Harper, so Steve can try to claim that centre.

Cosmic Navel Lint said...

Added to which:

WikiLeaks whistleblower site in temporary shutdown