Media Update for October 26, 2010

News Summary and Comment:

Today I lead with more criticism of the now-retired Public Sector Integrity Commissioner, Christiane Ouimet, who found no wrongdoing in three and a half years and disappeared before the Auditor General could start looking into her office. More and more people across the country are asking where all the money went and what use oversight bodies are if they don’t have teeth or do their jobs.

The Minister of Veterans Affairs, Jean-Pierre Blackburn, took a huge step today in apologizing to Sean Bruyea. Bruyea was been a long-time critic of DVA because of its New Veterans Charter, a program that left many veterans with very poor benefits while pretending to do the opposite. In response, bureaucrats at the department launched a campaign to discredit him. With this apology, there’s hope that his ordeal will finally come to an end, and that he will get sopme restitution from the government.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has also crept back onto my radar. The union that represent’s CFIA inspectors says that the agency is failing to implement recommendations that arose from the 2008 listeriosis outbreak. The author of barfblog also tore a strip off the agency. Barfblog is a good blog, by the way, covering food safety issues worldwide.

There’s more today about Alex Hundert, who was arrested before the G20 summit in Toronto on the grounds that he was inciting violence via Black Bloc tactics. He’s been under house arrest for some time, under the condition that he not demonstrate. It seems that he’s been re-arrested on undisclosed charges. I’m starting to wonder whether he’s building a special mind-control weapon in his basement, what with all the police paranoia about him communicating with anyone in the outside world.

I also have an interesting story from Southern Ontario about the head of a sports association defrauding the local school board for almost $800,000. It goes to show that corruption can happen at any level, and that oversight is very important. Apparently, there were warnings about this guy, too, but they were dismissed. Maybe the fraudster was one of the good-old-boys.

See you Thursday.

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More Comment on Integrity Commissioner’s Failure to Perform

Government Apologizes to Veteran Sean Bruyea

CFIA Under Fire for Slow Progress Implementing Safety Recommendations

Auditor General Blasts Defence Helicopter Deals

Parliament Hill Renovation Contract under Scrutiny

Alleged G20 Protest Leader Re-arrested

Head of Ontario’s Thames Valley Regional Athletic Association Admits $800,000 Fraud

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More Comment on Integrity Commissioner’s Failure to Perform

Public Sector Integrity Office a safe, independent agency for whistleblowers, says Minister Day
The Hill Times (Ottawa), October 25, 2010
Summary: Christiane Ouimet, Canada’s first federal public sector integrity commissioner, who resigned last week as her office is being investigated by Auditor General Sheila Fraser, will be called before the House Government Operations Committee to explain the situation surrounding her departure.

Integrity commissioner fails test of credibility
The Hill Times (Ottawa), October 25, 2010
Summary: Last week, Christiane Ouimet, the public sector integrity commissioner and the senior bureaucrat tasked with implementing the government’s Accountability Act, resigned. We applaud her decision, as she had once again failed in the test of credibility when she delivered her third annual report. (Note that this op-ed is available to subscribers only. Visit our website for the full text)

So many watchdogs, so few dogs
Times & Transcipt, October 25, 2010
Summary: It’s not the edifying spectacle in irony of Canada’s official “integrity commissioner” under investigation by the Auditor-General for unspecified reasons that fascinates; it’s the revelation that the public service actually finds it necessary to employ its own, duly appointed watchdog to keep its 260,000 employees honest and diligent in the course of their duties. (Opinion)

Little-known, little-used whistleblower panel budgets $8.1 million
Calgary Herald, October 25, 2010
Summary: A little-known, never-used government tribunal will spend as much as $8.1 million of taxpayers’ money by the end of 2012-13, federal documents show. The Public Servants Disclosure Protection Tribunal was set up in 2007 to protect public servants from retaliation after reporting immoral or illegal activities in government. Since then, it hasn’t heard a single case.

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Government Apologizes to Veteran Sean Bruyea

Government apologizes to Gulf War veteran
Ottawa Citizen, October , 2010
Summary: Veteran Sean Bruyea accepted a rare government apology Monday for the abuse of his personal medical and financial files by Veterans Affairs Department officials.

Bruyea’s lawsuit against feds could be settled out of court, says lawyer
The Hill Times (Ottawa), October 25, 2010
Summary: The federal government appears ready to settle a $400,000 lawsuit by veterans advocate Sean Bruyea after Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart’s ruling that the Veterans Affairs Department contravened the Privacy Act by circulating his confidential personal information and medical files.

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CFIA Under Fire for Slow Progress Implementing Safety Recommendations

Union says food inspection still falls short two years after listeriosis
Winnipeg Free Press, October 22, 2010
Summary: The Harper government says it’s making “considerable progress” implementing recommendations to prevent another deadly outbreak of listeriosis, but the union representing food inspectors isn’t buying it.

Glacial government: CFIA still implementing recommendations from 2008 listeria outbreak
barfblog, October 24, 2010
Summary: On Aug. 17, 2008, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Maple Leaf Foods, Inc. finally got around to telling Canadians they should avoid serving or consuming certain brands of deli meat as the products could be contaminated with L. monocytogenes. In the end, 23 deaths and 57 cases of listeriosis were linked to contaminated cold-cuts made by Maple Leaf.

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Auditor General Blasts Defence Helicopter Deals

Auditor General slams helicopter deal
The Star (Toronto), October 26, 2010
Summary: Auditor General Sheila Fraser on Tuesday slammed Canada’s contracts to buy military helicopters saying the process was an $11-billion mess and even accused National Defence of deliberately hiding the real cost.

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Parliament Hill Renovation Contract under Scrutiny

No political meddling in Parliament Hill reno project: bureaucrats
The Star (Toronto), October 23, 2010
Summary: There was no political meddling in a big-money Parliament Hill renovation contract now under investigation by the RCMP, bureaucrats told a House of Commons committee Tuesday.

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Alleged G20 Protest Leader Re-arrested

Accused G20 ringleader arrested again
The Star (Toronto), October 23, 2010
Summary: Alex Hundert, an accused G20 violence ringleader, has been arrested — again. This is the third time the 30-year-old activist has been arrested in the past five months. The Crown has been appealing to have his bail revoked.

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Head of Ontario’s Thames Valley Regional Athletic Association Admits $800,000 Fraud

Schools fraudster spent lavishly on home spruce-up
London Free Press, October 25, 2010
Summary: Wes McConnell, 56, the disgraced former head of the Thames Valley Regional Athletic Association, had quick access to thousands of dollars in school board money – and appeared to spend it freely.

2 thoughts on “Media Update for October 26, 2010”

  1. Can you elaborate on the warnings that refer to in the Wes McConnell story? 800k over 10 years is pretty crazy. What was being missed?

  2. The Board not listening to a teacher who was reporting this clown who was stealing money. Instead one Senior Administrator chose to bully the teacher who has budgets/ and the truth about this crook!

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