DFO / CG Mismanagement Whistle Blowing

The Louis engine makes the news again.
I am sure the ships staff wishes the Newspaper would actually do some investigative work and find something else to put in their articles as an example of CG mismanagement.

Ottawa to probe DFO mismanagement claim

Official investigation may result in wake of allegations made by whistle-blower

By CHRIS LAMBIE Staff Reporter

A federal government insider has made allegations of gross mismanagement at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Ottawa has put out a tender looking for an investigator to probe the matter in Nova Scotia.

The tender calls for a contractor to "conduct a fact-finding exercise to determine if there are sufficient grounds to commence an investigation to validate the allegations of gross mismanagement.

"A full investigation is to be undertaken to validate the allegations of gross mismanagement should the fact-finding exercise determine there is sufficient substance to warrant a more detailed examination of the facts."

DFO officials say they aren’t allowed to disclose the substance of the complaint.

The whistle-blower is protected under the Public Servant Disclosure Protection Act, which came into force in April.

"If the allegations of wrongdoing are founded, DFO will make public the details of the wrongdoing and the actions that will be taken in response," said Genevieve Gareau-Lavoie, a spokeswoman with the department.

There’s plenty of fodder for complaints at DFO.

Auditor General Sheila Fraser released a scathing report earlier this year on the Canadian Coast Guard, which is under DFO’s jurisdiction.

It detailed how, in March 2002, when the icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent was fired up after a two-month lay-up at its Dartmouth base, the vessel’s massive 16-cylinder diesel engine "accelerated beyond its operating range," blowing out part of the engine and damaging the generator.

As it turns out, the ship’s fuel pumps had been replaced incorrectly. The repairs cost $6 million.

The same February report found the coast guard had failed to fix any of the many problems identified in earlier critical reports, going back to 1983.

The February report pointed to the age of the coast guard fleet as one of its biggest problems.

Maintenance on the aging vessels is becoming more costly and difficult. To make matters worse, the agency is doing a poor job of managing that maintenance.

"The various failures have not been caused by age alone, but by the lack of even the most fundamental materiel management system," says the report.

Faults pointed out by the auditor general aren’t the only recent problems facing DFO.

Last year, authorities charged nine Cape Breton fishermen with hunting seals in a wildlife sanctuary after they were encouraged to harvest there by both the federal and provincial fisheries departments.

The native fishery has also experienced problems recently. DFO initiated a forensic audit into the operations of Indian Brook Fisheries after a number of questions were raised last year. The company, headed by former councillor Stephen Michael, brought in an estimated $7 million in catches in one year and received close to $5 million from DFO, but wound up owing creditors more than $1 million.

( clambie@herald.ca)