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

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Spring has sprung in the Okanagan-Shuswap

The new season is bringing warm weather across the region

Beloved Okanagan-Skaha school district champion dies

Bruce Johnson was a teacher, principal and long-serving school trustee in Penticton

Visitors spend $4.5M during Penticton Peach Festival

Two-thirds of attendees were from out of town, spending $325 per person during the annual festival

Summerland students discuss issues with council

Initiative opens dialogue between high school students and elected representatives

Concert to conquer cancer comes to Vernon, Kelowna

All proceeds go to the B.C. Cancer Foundation’s Childhood Cancer Research Initiative.

‘Full worm super moon’ to illuminate B.C. skies on first day of spring

Spring has sprung, a moon named in honour of thawing soil marks final super moon until 2020

Four skiers caught in avalanche in Glacier National Park Sunday

No one was buried but one was transferred to hospital

Dairy farmers wary of federal effort to help industry

Concerns raised over vague details, funding access and impacts on growth

Bodies of two missing teens recovered in reservoir along Kootenay river

Volkswagen Beetle drove off the road down a steep embankment and into the Pend d’Oreille River Sunday

International Macaron Day: Buy a treat, support the KGH Foundation

Tasty treats can be purchased around Kelowna, March 20

UBC Okanagan students to weigh into pipeline debate

The Roger Watts Debate will be held March 27 in Kelowna

40 records broken across B.C. as hot streak continues

Abbotsford hottest spot in Canada on Tuesday

B.C. wildfire prevention budget bulked up as dry spring unfolds

Night vision goggles tested for early detection effort

Vancouver driver ticketed twice within 6 minutes for same offence

The man was written up by two different officers for using an electronic device

Most Read