Internal accountability as a precondition to public accountability.


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Votes: 11

The Canadian constitution and entrenched human rights lay the foundation for an open and accountable government through its MPs, the designation of Ministers and the reporting by an independent and impartial public service.  However, any public service employee who has stood up internally on issues of accountability, transparency, human rights, bullying in the workplace, including by senior executives will tell you that they have never been the same because of what they were subjected to after speaking out and their careers were shut down. Individuals, supervisors, managers and directors who have opposed the contravention of human rights internally and externally, raised issues of accountability to the tax payer, expressed concern over disregard for clients and their mandate, have been treated dismissively or compelled to use extensive internal recourse mechanisms that are guaranteed to exhaust them into submission while the federal government has limitless access to a cadre of legal expertise and resources to oppose them. Some senior executives make targets of individuals who oppose them even on issues like human rights, manipulating the system and even lying in some cases. Internal systems will protect them to the most senior levels, even if that person is subsequently sidelined because of those actions. Until public servants have recourse to external, independent protections, we will not enjoy a truly accountable foundation of accountability to the Canadian public because the cost of speaking truth to power comes at an outrageously high cost . There will always be those who would never be happy in any workplace; that is not the group being referenced here. Undertake an analysis of the settlements that occurred when federal employees went to external tribunals and weren't worn down by the repeated "delays" over years by the federal departmental lawyers  ...not the cases "resolved" through internal mechanisms... the ones with potential for public hearings, that were instead settled by departments with the application of significant conditions of confidentiality.  These more fully tell the story of where government accountability systems fail. That is where to study the challenge of accountable government. Your employees will spot accountability deficiencies before the public will because most of them truly believe in their debt to provide a fair and transparent service to the public. Now multiply those issues by the so many more who didn't have external recourse, who were afraid for their careers having seen what happens when an employee speaks up, or who were just to intimidated by the prospect of a two to three year process of being opposed by the weight of the federal resources aligned against the individual. Openness and transparency happen when it is easy to challenge when it is not happening. 

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