EDMONTON, AB (November 30, 2012): The PC government has put whistleblowers at risk with the passing of the Public Interest Disclosure Act (Bill 4), which still leaves whistleblowers unprotected should they report wrongdoings within government, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today.
This week, the PC government voted down 21 Wildrose amendments put forward by Wildrose MLAs Rod Fox and Heather Forsyth, which would have fixed the failure to provide genuine protection for whistleblowers in Bill 4. “The PCs voted down 21 concise, common-sense solutions to fix the problems in Bill 4. Albertans will continue to be in a tight spot should they blow the whistle on wrongdoing,” Wildrose Service Alberta Critic Rod Fox said. “This law is designed to protect government from having to own up to possible current or past incidences of wrongdoing.” Bill 4 shuts the door on anyone wanting to bring to light wrongdoing that may have occurred before the bill receives royal assent, effectively sanitizing incidences of bullying and intimidation of doctors by Alberta Health Services and other past examples of wrongdoing. Wildrose amendments would have broadened the scope of who is allowed to blow the whistle, tightened up the requirements of the commissioner to ensure wrongdoing is investigated instead of exempted, and redefined where wrongdoing can be reported to include MLAs and the media. “Bill 4 green-lights wrongdoing in government by placing someone willing to report it under the thumb of the government via their direct supervisor,” Fox said. “It is clear the PCs are covering their tracks and making it nearly impossible to blow the whistle on future malfeasance in government.” Forsyth said she still plans on bringing forward her own whistleblower legislation in the future. “This law doesn’t go nearly far enough and if the government isn’t serious about protecting whistleblowers, we will do it for them,” Forsyth said. “This is about having an open and transparent government that Albertans can take pride in and have confidence in.”