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Groups resign in protest from whistleblower watchdog committee after Integrity Commissioner removes another group for no good reason

To see a related Ottawa Citizen article, click here

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

OTTAWA – Today, Democracy Watch and Canadians for Accountability announced that they have resigned from the Advisory Committee for the federal Integrity Commissioner (PSIC) because Integrity Commissioner Mario Dion kicked a member off the Committee for no good reason and has refused to reinstate him.

Commissioner Dion removed David Hutton, Executive Director of  Federal Accountability Initiative for Reform (FAIR), from the Committee last week in response to a critical letter by him published in the Ottawa Citizen on October 13th.  In the letter, Hutton referred to a recent Federal Court ruling which stated that PSIC’s handling of a case had so many mistakes it was “a clear breach of the common law duty of procedural fairness”.  Hutton argued that this was not an isolated case and that FAIR had heard from more than 30 whistleblowers who expressed difficulties in dealing with PSIC.

“Democracy Watch is resigning from the advisory committee because the Integrity Commissioner’s decision is unfair and shows he is trying to use the committee to keep criticism of his office secret and behind closed doors,” said Tyler Sommers Coordinator of Democracy Watch.

“We cannot support an environment where openness, transparency and good governance are not respected,” said Allan Cutler of Canadians for Accountability.  “Further, we will not be muzzled. We had originally believed that membership on the Advisory Committee was an obligation, not something that was granted by the Commissioner and which could be removed by him at a whim.”

Democracy Watch, FAIR, and Canadians for Accountability originally raised questions (archive website) about the integrity commissioner’s appointment when the appointment of Mario Dion was rammed through committee without consultation with key groups interested in ensuring protection for whistleblowers.  Dr. Edward Keyserlingk, the former Public Sector Integrity Officer (who was charged with protecting whistleblowers before PSIC was created, but with very limited powers) also called the appointment of a senior bureaucrat ‘disastrous’ in a multi-page letter to committee chair Pat Martin.

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Contact Information:

Tyler Sommers, Coordinator of Democracy Watch and Chair of the Open Government Coalition: (613) 241-5179

 Allan Cutler, President, Canadians for Accountability: (613) 863-4671

Ian Bron, Managing Director, Canadians for Accountability: (613) 304-8049

For more details, go to Democracy Watch’s Open Government Campaign

For more information on the Federal Court ruling click here