Nfld. & Labrador

No N.L. whistleblower legislation in 2010

Newfoundland and Labrador's justice minister says Whistleblower legislation - which former premier Danny Williams promised to create in 2008 - won't be introduced in 2010.

Newfoundland and Labrador's justice minister says Whistleblower legislation - which former premier Danny Williams promised to create in 2008 - won't be introduced this year.

"This is a significant piece of legislation. A lot of work has been done on it," said Felix Collins responding in the provincial legislature to a question from Liberal opposition MHA Kelvin Parsons.

"The provinces that have it are undergoing the regular growing pains of new legislation. We are monitoring that to see what best practices come out of it. So when we produce our legislation it will be the best piece of legislation that we can possible come up with."

The provincial government promised to create legislation to protect employees who want to report what they consider wrongdoing. That promise came after a 2007 review of the province's legislature by Justice Derek Green.

In his report from that review Green recommended a law under which public servants "without fear of reprisal [could] disclose others' improper or unethical behaviour."

The review was sparked by a legislative spending scandal that erupted in 2006, leading to criminal charges of fraud against four former politicians and a former civil servant.

In 2009, former premier Danny Williams reiterated his government's promised to create the legislation.

"Well, you know, the whistleblower legislation, we want to do right," said Williams, who also said government is taking its time on Green's recommendation because it wants to do it properly.

Williams said the existing access-to-information legislation has bogged down the government with what he called "frivolous requests."

"It's a good thing. Access to information is a very, very important thing," Williams said.

"But there are a lot of requests that come in that are very, very time consuming…The one thing we don't want to do here is just create another situation where we are going to put another stranglehold on government."

Williams committed to bringing in whistleblower legislation during this term in office, but would not specify when the public might expect to see it.

A provincial election is scheduled to be held Oct. 2011.