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The Courageous Lives of Whistleblowers | CBC's the fifth estate Catches Up With Those Who Dared to Speak Out

Whistleblowers: Moment of Truth airs

Friday, Oct. 19 at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT) on CBC-TV

They have the courage to stand up and speak out when no one else dares, yet the popular perception of whistleblowers is they are doomed to be victims of reprisals. But when the fifth estate caught up with some of its more memorable whistleblowers, we found out their lives can take twists and turns no one ever expected. Whistleblowers: Moment of Truth airs Friday, Oct. 19 at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT) on CBC-TV.

These cases offer an ironic insight into what was supposed to be a new era of transparency and integrity in Canada. To date, not a single case has been prosecuted under Canada's Public Servant Disclosure Protection Act, and the Public Sector Integrity Commissioner was dismissed in disgrace.

It was the late '90s when the fifth estate first caught up with Drs. Shiv Chopra and Margaret Haydon. The two Health Canada scientists had serious concerns about a new synthetic drug that promised to transform dairy farming by increasing milk production in cows. Chopra and Haydon went public with their concerns and allegations that the manufacturer had offered regulators a bribe, and used questionable tactics as part of a campaign to get the drug approved in Canada. They would eventually both be both fired by Health Canada for insubordination and have spent years trying to get their jobs back. Bovine Growth Hormone was never approved in Canada.

Click to view an exclusive excerpt with Shiv Chopra

"To serve and protect." It's the motto of numerous police forces, and the declaration of duty which underpins the decision made by so many Canadians to take on a career in law enforcement. For as long as Victoria Cliffe can remember, she's known she wanted to be a police officer. But when she came forward to allege she'd been sexually harassed and assaulted by a superior officer, she became the target of a smear campaign. She's paid a high personal price for speaking out, but today she says she's still just as proud to wear the RCMP uniform.

And a decade ago, Holly Brewer told the fifth estate an incredible story of a young girl pitted against her religion. Growing up as a Jehovah Witness in New Hampshire, Brewer learned two things: the Bible and how to keep quiet. Her silence resulted in years of sexual abuse by her stepfather, a respected member of their church. When her mother asked church elders for help, they did nothing to stop the abuse. And when Holly finally went to the police she and her family became pariahs in their own community. Holly eventually turned her pain into music, today she writes and sings about injustice, though now less about her own and more how it can be overcome.

In advance of the broadcast, watch Whistleblowers: Moment of Truth online, for review purposes only, by contacting Corey Black (corey.black@cbc.ca) for the link and password. CBC News Network rebroadcasts the fifth estate on Saturdays and Sundays at 7 p.m. ET. For more information on the fifth estate, visit our website at www.cbc.ca/fifth, join us Facebook and follow us on twitter. Executive producer of the fifth estate is Jim Williamson.


For further information, or to request interviews, contact:
Corey Black, News and Current Affairs Publicist, CBC
o) 416-205-8710
c) 647-221-4133

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