Government whistleblower Louis Robert returns to work
Published Tuesday, August 6, 2019 7:04PM EDT
The whistleblower who was fired by the Ministry of Agriculture in January returned to work on Tuesday.
Louis Robert lost his job for denouncing the influence of the pesticide lobby, and is pledging to "not pay for the mistakes of others."
Robert was fired in January after providing information to Radio-Canada about the influence of private industry in supposedly independent public research on pesticide use.
Documents provided by Robert said the pesticide industry was interfering with board members at the publically funded CEROM agricultural research agency.
Quebec's Ombudsman delivered a scathing report on Robert's dismissal in June, saying it was a direct violation of the government's own rules on whistleblowers which are meant to instill a sense of freedom for government workers to sound the alarm about wrongdoing without being afraid of losing their jobs.
Now back at work, with six months of back-pay, Robert said the problems with the pesticide industry are not resolved but there is at least an acknowledgment that there was inapropriate interference.
He said his mission is the same as it was before: to complete his research projects at the Agriculture Ministry.
Meanwhile the government has authorized Robert to organize public hearings on the impact of pesticides.
Those hearings should start in September.