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Groups call for dismissal of Integrity Commissioner given Auditor General’s new reports of gross mismanagement

To be effective, actual watchdog must be appointed and federal whistleblower protection law strengthened

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

OTTAWA – Today, in response to the federal Auditor General’s new report (PDF) that found two cases of gross mismanagement by federal Integrity Commissioner Mario Dion and his staff, three groups that speak on whistleblower issues, FAIR, Canadians for Accountability and Democracy Watch called on the House and Senate to remove Dion from office, and to strengthen the federal whistleblower protection law in key ways to make it actually effective.

Since the resignation of disgraced Integrity Commissioner Christiane Ouimet in fall 2010, there have been just three independent examinations of cases handled by the current commissioner, Mario Dion – one by a federal judge and two by the Auditor General.  All three were harshly critical of the conduct of PSIC investigations (See Backgrounder about the examinations on FAIR’s website by clicking here)

FAIR’s David Hutton noted: “The Auditor General’s recent findings provide more evidence that the problems in Dion’s office are systemic rather than isolated incidents. They mirror what we – and others – have heard from literally dozens of whistleblowers and their lawyers who have tried to use this agency: that this office is a ‘black hole’ into which they deposit serious allegations and rarely hear back. They are given false assurances, treated with disrespect, and their allegations rarely seem to be properly investigated.”

Allan Cutler, founder of Canadians for Accountability said “The AG’s report reveals a pattern of confusion, incompetence and neglect, all of it on Mr. Dion’s watch and much of it quite recent. It’s no wonder that whistleblowers have little confidence in this office. The Auditor General found that both the Commissioner and the Deputy Commissioner committed wrongdoings under the law that is supposed to help whistleblowers. Yet Dion’s response shows concern only about the process, not about helping the whistleblower.”

Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch said “Timely and competent due process protects everyone, including the whistleblower and those accused of wrongdoing. Unfortunately, when examined by a federal court judge and by the Auditor General, Mr. Dion’s investigations have proven to be neither timely nor competent. He has failed to clean up the office in the past three years and it’s time for parliamentarians to act responsibly and finally protect whistleblowers by dismissing Dion, replacing him with an actual watchdog, and strengthening the whistleblower protection law in key ways.

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Duff Conacher, Co-founder of Democracy Watch, (613) 241-5179 or (416) 546-3443
David Hutton, Executive Director, FAIR (Federal Accountability Initiative for Reform) (613) 567-1511
Allan Cutler, President, Canadians for Accountability: (613) 293-4671
Ian Bron, Managing Director, Canadians for Accountability: (613) 304-8049