How do you protect taxpayers from boondoggles in provincial and federal governments? How do you protect consumers from tainted beef? How do you discourage all levels of governments from burying bad decisions, misusing public funds and mismanagement?
More laws, more audits, more freedom of information rules? In brief: more government oversight?
While we can't argue with more and better operating standards, we're starting to think that without protection for whistleblowers, it's almost a moot point.
Auditor General John Doyle said last week that whistleblowers in B.C. shouldn't have to put their jobs on the line to protect the public.
Not surprisingly the silence from government - and the opposition - was deafening.
Doyle pointed out in his most recent report that two major investigations by his office this year relied heavily on information provided by whistleblowers.
Workers, largely, who acted on their good consciences and provided information that would not have showed up in any audits.
Workers who risked their reputations and livelihoods to do so.
Doyle is right; without legislation that protects whistleblowers - odds are that damaging or embarrassing information is less likely to see the light of day.
The union at the meat processing plant responsible for recently producing tainted beef products said if their members had protection from being fired for blowing the whistle on unsanitary conditions at the plant, the company would simply not have tried to sell that meat. The mere likelihood of "whistleblower" protection would have been enough of an early warning system.
But, strangely enough, governments or political parties that are quick to promise fiscal responsibility, better management of resources, and trustworthiness, don't see whistleblower protection as a priority.
Indeed, if they were serious about protecting the public good, they would protect whistleblowers.