POLITICS

Thumbnail sketches of four federal whistleblowers and their fates

11/17/2013 01:42 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST
OTTAWA - Thumbnail sketches of four federal whistleblowers:

Sylvie Therrien

In charge of investigating employment insurance fraud, Therrien told a journalist that investigators have quotas. They each must recover $35,000 to $40,000 a month in EI benefits. The federal government initially denied any quota system when the story made headlines in the spring.

Therrien was fired, and is today unemployed. She has little chance of another job in the public service because her security clearance has been revoked. She also has no access to employment insurance. A campaign launched by the National Council of the Unemployed had collected close to $20,000 in donations by last Friday to help her financially.

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Alan Cutler

As a Public Works official, Allan Cutler protested the way the Liberal government's sponsorship program was run, and was demoted for his efforts. After the Gomery Commission investigated and praised his actions, Cutler became the poster child for whistleblowing. He ran for the Conservative party in the 2006 federal election and lost.

Cutler, a consultant today, is sharply critical of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act, and the Conservative government's treatment of whistleblowers.

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Richard Colvin

In fall 2009, Richard Colvin created a storm on Parliament Hill by telling a committee that Canada failed to monitor detainee conditions in Afghanistan during his time as deputy ambassador, from April 2006 to October 2007. He testified that detainees transferred by Canadian soldiers to Afghan prisons were likely tortured. He told the committee he shared those thoughts in many reports to his superiors and colleagues, copying up to 75 people. Through all this, the Canadian government kept saying it was unaware of any allegations of torture.

At the time of his committee testimony, Colvin was stationed in Washington, D.C., as an intelligence officer at the Canadian embassy. He remained there until fall 2011, when he returned to Ottawa. He was not assigned to a full-time job at the Foreign Affairs Department until September this year. He now works on Russian-Ukrainian-Canadian issues.

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Jeffrey Monaghan

Jeffrey Monaghan, then a contract worker at Environment Canada, was arrested and handcuffed at his Ottawa workplace in May 2007 for allegedly leaking the Conservative government's green plan to the news media. It was the last day of his contract. Monaghan was interrogated by the RCMP but never charged — and in 2008 launched a $50,000 lawsuit against the Mounties, saying his Charter rights were violated. His lawyer claimed the Mounties were using the incident to silence other public servants. The lawsuit was later settled out of court, but on the condition neither side revealed the terms.

Monaghan is currently a PhD student at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont.