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QUESTION PERIOD — Justice

Protection of Journalistic Sources

October 25, 2022


My question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Leader, in an article by the esteemed journalist Daniel Leblanc published on Radio-Canada last week, we learned that the federal government searched employees’ telephone records and emails last year in an attempt to flush out the confidential sources who had criticized the plan to appoint an American who does not speak French as head of the Canadian Museum of History.

The article stated, and I quote:

Investigators searched the emails of these employees to try to find evidence of leaks, without success.

They also searched telephone records to see if there were any incoming or outgoing calls to numbers associated with Radio-Canada and CBC.

Leader, does your government remember that in 2017, both houses unanimously passed Bill S-231 to protect journalistic sources?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate) [ - ]

Thank you for the question. The government believes that people who disclose serious wrongdoing must be protected. The law provides a secure and confidential process for disclosing serious wrongdoing in the workplace and protection for acts of reprisal. I’m told that public servant disclosures expose an average of 10 wrongdoings per year. Whistle-blowing legislation is one option people can use in the case of harassment, discrimination, labour grievances and privacy complaints. The government has enhanced training, report follow-up, and policies on workplace harassment and violence. Budget 2022 includes funding for a review of the act, which I’m told is to begin later this year. The government would be happy to provide more details about the review then.

That reminds me of a song by Francine Raymond, “Y’a les mots.” Words, just words.

If what you say is true, why set off a witch hunt to scare public servants and prevent them from reporting this government’s wrongdoings?

Senator Gold [ - ]

There is no witch hunt. I believe I answered your question. I have nothing more to add.

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