Quebec encouraging civil servants to report corruption
The Quebec government has announced a "Permanent Anti-Corruption Unit" to uncover dishonest dealings across the province.
The Quebec government has announced a “Permanent Anti-Corruption Unit” to uncover dishonest dealings across the province.
The unit will have a $30 million budget and almost 190 staff. Approximately half of these people are already working on anti-corruption investigations.
Part of the unit’s responsibilities will be to oversee the police investigation known as “Operation Hammer” which is looking into corruption in the construction industry.
A major change under the proposed new laws is to allow civil servants to report abuses they know about in their departments. Currently they are bound by an oath of confidentiality. Protection will be provided for whistleblowers.
Sceptics say the new arrangements are simply a reorganization of existing agencies and that the government is using them to avoid holding a public enquiry into recent scandals.
Meanwhile striking prosecutors in the province are questioning where the government will find lawyers to staff the Permanent Anti-Corruption Unit, since prosecutors are already in short supply.