Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s eight-day visit to India in February 2018 earned this year’s federal award. The cost taxpayers at least $1.6 million and only a half day of official government-to-government business was scheduled, according to the release. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)

Vancouver wins ‘government waste’ award with email-a-tree program

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation also targeted the spending scandal at the B.C. Legislature

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation released its annual Teddy Awards on Wednesday for what it calls the best of the worst in government waste.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s eight-day visit to India in February 2018 earned this year’s federal award. It cost taxpayers at least $1.6 million and only a half day of official government-to-government business was scheduled, according to the release.

“It was bad enough to watch the prime minister’s costume changes and dance moves during his trip to India, but seeing the bill was even worse,” said federal director Aaron Wudrick.

In B.C., the winner is the ongoing scandal at the B.C. Legislature. Speaker of the House Darryl Plecas accused Clerk Craig James and Sergeant-at-Arms Gary Lenz of using taxpayers’ money to take frivolous trips to places such as the United Kingdom and Hong Kong. Both James and Lenz are suspended from their duties and deny all allegations.

READ MORE: Former Supreme Court Chief Justice to investigate B.C. legislature affair

“We also won the municipal award for Vancouver’s bizarre email-a-tree program,” said B.C. director Kris Sims. “When bureaucrats and politicians choose to waste our money like this, it’s important to recognize them for their efforts – and B.C. is topping the charts, winning the Teddy Waste Award in two categories this year.”

The Vancouver Park Board spent thousands on its All the Trees project, where residents were invited to send emails to trees and artists were paid to send replies on the trees’ behalf. The park board contributed $7,000 of the project’s $12,000 budget.

Also winning for the second time was former governor general Adrienne Clarkson, getting the Lifetime Achievement Award.

The public learned last October that Clarkson has billed taxpayers more than $1.1 million since leaving the position in 2005 – something she is allowed to do under a policy that permits former governors general to continue to submit expenses.



joti.grewal@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

West Kootenay jogger barely escapes bruin attack

Man spends two hours up in tree, bear not located

Young farmers find a home through land-matching program

Young Agrarians links would-be farmers with landowners who have land to spare

Morning start: A history of the Arrow Lakes

Here is your Kootenays’ morning start for Wednesday, May 27

Restorative pole project underway in Edgewood

The pole was made almost 50 years ago to pay respect to local First Nations

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Nanaimo senior clocked going 50 km/hr over limit says her SUV shouldn’t be impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

CMHC sees declines in home prices, sales, starts that will linger to end of 2022

CMHC said average housing prices could fall anywhere from nine to 18 per cent in its forecast

B.C. Paralympian named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Three-time world and Paralympic gold medalist Sonja Gaudet is part of 11-member class

Risk of COVID-19 low in schools, Interior Health states

Medical Health Officer reassures parents as some children and staff head back to class June 1

Most Read