EDMONTON, AB (October 31, 2012): The PC government’s whistleblower legislation tabled yesterday in the Legislature is written with the deliberate purpose of covering up past instances of bullying and intimidation inside government, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today.
Section 3(2) of Bill 4, the Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower Protection) Act, makes clear that it only applies “in respect of wrongdoings that occur after the coming into force of this Act.” “This is exactly what we feared when this legislation was tabled; half-measures that just don’t cut it,” Wildrose Official Opposition Leader Danielle Smith said. “By denying whistleblower protection to those who have intimate knowledge of this government’s past, they are purposely covering up information they know would damage them.” The Act also requires whistleblowers to report to an official inside government. This is another broken promise from Premier Alison Redford, who promised protection for whistleblowers regardless of the manner in which they choose to disclose wrongdoings. While she was running for the PC leadership, Redford said. “When you start saying (a whistleblower) must report to the ombudsman, you're being prescriptive again about the structure that is in place, in an effort to manage the information. I think that defeats the purpose. “You either have open government or you don’t,” she said. “We couldn’t agree more with Premier Redford on this, and it’s pretty clear that we don’t,” Wildrose MLA Heather Forsyth said. “This is very clearly another broken promise from the Premier, who again is retreating on her promises of open and transparent government.” Wildrose Service Alberta Critic Rod Fox said the legislation, as written, is self-defeating. “It doesn’t protect whistleblowers at all. It protects the government from whistleblowers,” Fox said. “For the legislation to work, it has to be retroactive and it must protect whistleblowers who choose to go to the media, to opposition parties or any other avenue to report wrongdoing.”