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Liberals introduce new whistleblower legislation

Last Updated Mon, 22 Mar 2004 20:17:06

OTTAWA - In the wake of the sponsorship scandal, the federal government introduced new whistleblower legislation Monday to protect public service employees who report wrongdoing in government departments and Crown corporations.

"This important bill is the central point of the government's firm commitment to ensure transparency, accountability, financial accountability and ethics," said Privy Council president Denis Coderre.

Denis Coderre

Employees of cabinet ministers along with public servants working in areas of national security, including the RCMP, CSIS, Communications Security Establishment and National Defence, are not covered under the new legislation.

The proposed law would also create a Public Service Integrity Commissioner to investigate complaints and allegations.

The appointed commissioner would report to a cabinet minister rather than to Parliament, which is troubling for bureaucrats.

"Public servants tell me consistently they won't come forward unless they have an independent agency," said public service integrity officer Edward Keyserlingk.

Opposition parties have said a commissioner who reports directly to Parliament is the only way to build confidence among bureaucrats and ensure investigations are independent.

The bill is the first to offer bureaucrats legal protection against reprisals for reporting wrongdoing in government.

Written by CBC News Online staff

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