Whistleblowing: It’s not just our right – it’s our obligation
These three scientists acted courageously in the interest of all Canadians, without any personal gain, and in so doing, have faced punishment in the form of the loss of their careers, reputations and the freedom to do what is right.
Left to right: Doctors Shiv Chopra, Margaret Haydon and Gérard Lambert. Photo credit: Saman Aghvami
For sacrificing their careers and reputations to protect Canadians and keep Canada’s food safe, Dr. Shiv Chopra, Dr. Gérard Lambert, and Dr. Margaret Haydon received the inaugural Integrity Award from the Canadian Journalists For Free Expression, after exposing corruption and questionable practices at Health Canada.
For six long years, the three scientists raised red flags and warned of health and food safety concerns, among them (rBGH) - the controversial bovine growth hormone that was designed to promote milk production in dairy cattle - and carbadox – the drug that promotes growth in pigs. The three were admonished, gagged and finally sacked by Health Canada in 2004. Since their dismissal, the scientists have been fighting “the system”. The federal government introduced new legislation under the Public Service Accountability Act, administered by the Public Sector Integrity Commission. Ten years later, Dr. Shiv Chopra, Dr. Margaret Haydon and Dr. Gérard Lambert are still awaiting the results of an investigation directive by Canada’s Federal Court. Their fight continues.
In August 2011, the Public Service Labour Relations Board ruled against seven of the eight grievances they had filed. The one grievance it agreed with was the wrongful dismissal of Dr. Lambert, and it ordered him to be reinstated.
At the Institute, we applaud Doctors Chopra, Haydon and Lambert. Their case is a perfect illustration of why it is so important that whistleblowers be extolled and protected. These three scientists acted courageously in the interest of all Canadians, without any personal gain, and in so doing, have faced punishment in the form of the loss of their careers, reputations and the freedom to do what is right.