Skip to main content

The Pallister Government's approach is Ethics falls short

The Auditor General of Manitoba showed, in an audit in 2014, that there was a need to address the ethical environment within government.   The audit showed that one third of the employees of Manitoba Government departments were aware of unethical or fraudulent activities within their department and yet only half of these were reported to management. I asked why, in view of these facts, the Pallister government has not yet acted to address the Auditor General's recommendations.

Civil Servants Reporting Ethics Concerns

Auditor General Recommendations
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Madam Speaker, last month, the Auditor General released a report following up on past recommendations.
      One of the many unimplemented recommen­dations is the framework for an ethical environment, first tabled in 2014. It said, a well‑constructed values and ethics framework is   a   key element in ensuring a strong ethical environment. However, the report says, no action has been taken with respect to recommendation 14, which is to develop and implement a process to enable employees to report concerns of ethical misconduct.
      Why is this government ignoring this recommendation 'despide' the need for it being now more than ever?
Hon. Heather Stefanson (Minister of Justice and Attorney General): This government takes the issue of ethics very seriously. It's why we have introduce a number of pieces of legislation to work towards that.
      I'm also very proud of our Premier and the Clerk of Executive Council and–along with the Minister responsible for the Status of Women (Ms. Squires), who have introduced a new harassment in the workplace policy. I want to thank them for the hard work that they've done.          
      We take that very, very seriously and we will continue to ensure that those ethical standards are maintained here in Manitoba.
Madam Speaker: The honourable member for River Heights, on a supplementary question.
Mr. Gerrard: Madam Speaker, two years in government and still no ethics policy. It's obviously not a priority.
      The Auditor General's report continues: Employees need to be aware of where and how to report ethical issues and feel safe doing so.
      The Premier has promised a no‑wrong‑door approach, but it 'accears' that when it comes to ethics there is no right door, and when it comes to meeting the Premier, there is no door at all.
      How is the government going to make sure that civil servants can be protected when reporting ethical concerns? [interjection]
Madam Speaker: Order. Order.
Mrs. Stefanson: The facts are, Madam Speaker, that the Premier's had more than 3,000 meetings with Manitobans across this great province of ours, and we continue to listen to Manitobans each and every day.
      We are also very proud of the fact that recently our government introduced that–which the member talked about, the no‑wrong‑door harassment in the workplace policy, Madam Speaker, and again, I want to thank the Clerk of the Executive Council for his role.
      It's important, Madam Speaker, that we get rid of the culture of concealment under the previous NDP government. We are committed to doing that.
Madam Speaker: The honourable member for River Heights, on a final supplementary.
Mr. Gerrard: Madam Speaker, the Auditor General reported that in a survey a third of his government's departmental employees are personally aware of ethical misconduct or fraudulent activity within their workplace, and yet only half have been reported to management. These are shocking statistics.
      The Premier claims to want to improve the civil service. Instead, he wants to freeze wages, lay them off, score them, make sure they have nowhere to report ethical violations and then blame their leaving on a lack of loyalty.
      Will this government immediately implement ethical codes of conduct and ethics reporting mechanisms for everyone covered under the whistleblower protection act?
Hon. Brian Pallister (Premier): Well, to torture the analogy, Madam Speaker, the member was tripping over that question. He was part of a federal government that made the largest reductions in health‑care support in the history of Canada. He supported it. He denied it was happening at the time, but it did happen, and it's happening again, Madam Speaker, and he sits quietly by, does nothing. He speaks about ethics in his ghost‑written question but he forgets about the sponsorship scandal and the Gomery behaviour and the various things that the federal Liberal government seems to be wanting to repeat in latter days.
      What we would like to see is progress and co‑operation on the front of ending harassment in the workplace. That's why we'd like to see the NDP make public their two‑month‑old inquiry. Their little closet inquiry hasn't revealed anything to anyone about harassment as a consequence of their own internal investigations, and if they fail to release that report, Madam Speaker, they may well be accused of continuing the culture of concealment when it comes to harassment.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

We must stop the Pallister government from implementing the KPMG proposed cuts to children's hearing aids, bone-anchored hearing implant processors and FM transmitters.

The Phase II report from KPMG on the Health System Sustainability and Innovation Review makes a recommendation that the government decrease the level of provincial support for children's hearing aids, for bone-implant processors and FM transmitters.    These are devices which are very important for enabling children with hearing difficulties to hear.   We have recently (2016) finally achieved universal newborn hearing screening after many years of advocating for this.   It is essential that children who are identified at birth as hearing deficient have the support for enable them to hear as good as they can hear with the support of hearing aids and Cochlear implants.  When children have a hearing deficiency, they have difficulty hearing and this translates into difficulties learning and often to behavioural and other problems down the road.  We need to ensure that these children are enabled to do well.   The provincial government should definitely not reduce support for this progr…

Geo-Positioning of Ambulances in Manitoba needs to be revisited

Thursday April 19 I spoke, in a Members Statement, on emergency medical services in rural Manitoba and the need to revisit the current plan to geo-position ambulances away from communities.   My comments are on video at this link, or in text from Hansard below: Geo-Positioning of AmbulancesHon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): Madam Speaker, I rise to talk about the government's approach to geo-positioning ambulances at sites which are far away from the communities they serve.
      The government's approach would have paramedics and ambulances positioned around the clock at what are called geo-positioned sites derived from a computer. These sites are often a considerable distance from any community and where population density is low. While paramedics are positioned at  these sites they are waiting for emergency calls, but are not able to contribute in other ways to health care because they are some distance from any community.
      The alternative, Madam Speaker, is exemplifie…

Dougald Lamont and the Manitoba Liberal Party win big in the St. Boniface by-election

Today Dougald Lamont and the Manitoba Liberal Party came out substantially ahead of Blandine Tona of the NDP in the St. Boniface by-election.   Francoise Therrien-Vrignon of the Green Party was in third and Mamadou Ka of the Progressive Conservatives was fourth.  This is a major victory for Dougald Lamont and the Manitoba Liberal Party.  It will mean our Liberal Leader is in the Legislature.  It will also mean that the Manitoba Liberal Party will have what is called "Official Party Status" in the Manitoba Legislature, with more resources and more ability to contribute inside and outside the Legislature - in holding the government to account and in contributing constructively to helping achieve a better Manitoba.