Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Whistlebungle

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If I was a whistleblower sitting on explosive evidence of government mismanagement, I would just pull the covers over my head and go into eternal hibernation.

Why would anyone come forward with information in the public’s interest after the mess the province has made of the Manitoba Hydro whistleblower’s disclosure?

It’s been a year since the whistleblower filed her complaint, and absolutely no investigation has happened.

The ombudsman’s office, so understaffed that routine freedom of information appeals often take a year, couldn’t cope with it.

The auditor general sat on it for six months before a media firestorm forced the province to ask the AG to get serious and do a special audit.

Now, after the Tories raised a stink about AG Carol Bellringer’s possible conflict of interest, she has punted it back to the ombudsman’s office. The OO either has no idea how to handle the complaint or is hiding behind legislation in order to avoid making any statement about the complaint at all.

At this rate, I’M about to have a blackout.

What a complete debacle.

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About Mary Agnes Welch

Mary Agnes Welch joined the Free Press in 2002, first as a general assignment reporter and then covering city hall and the Manitoba legislature before moving to her current post as public policy reporter.

Before Winnipeg, she worked at the Windsor Star and the Odessa American, a small daily newspaper in West Texas. There, in addition to covering more than 20 counties, she took high school football scores from coaches all over West Texas by phone every Friday night.

Mary Agnes is a graduate of Columbia University’s journalism school, has won several Western Ontario Newspaper Awards and has been part of two teams of reporters nominated for a Michener Award. In 2011, she was nominated for a National Newspaper Award in the beat category. She is also the former national president of the Canadian Association of Journalists.

She once misspelled "Shih Tzu" in the paper and received 37 emails from angry dog-owners.

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