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)

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

The Smithers District Chamber of Commerce coveted Alpine Man Statue for winners of the 2020 Community and Business Awards Nov 25. (contributed photo)
Smithers Feed Store named Business of the Year

Chamber of Commerce Community and Business Awards handed out in virtual ceremony via Zoom

The Terrace River Kings lost 9-3 to the Quesnel Kangaroos on Mar. 2, 2019 in the final CIHL playoffs. (Lindsay Chung Photo)
Central Interior Hockey League cancels 2020/21 season

League open to playing exhibition games if possible

Questions around rail safety, firefighter safety, cleanup near the rail yards and tracks, whistle cessation, etc were raised during the RDBN meeting with CN. (File photo)
Regional district frustrated with CN response to grievances

‘A lot of our concerns are still not being heard,’: Houston mayor Shane Brienen

Skiers and snowboarders enjoy the fresh, fluffy snow at Fernie Alpine Resort.
Ski hill scheduled to open Dec. 4

Hudson Bay Mountain Resort will open without its usual contingent of international workers

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
41 positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 887 new cases

Another 13 deaths, ties the highest three days ago

Arthur Topham has been sentenced to one month of house arrest and three years of probation after breaching the terms of his probation. Topham was convicted of promoting hate against Jewish people in 2015. (Photo submitted)
Quesnel man convicted for anti-Semitic website sentenced to house arrest for probation breach

Arthur Topham was convicted of breaching probation following his 2017 sentence for promoting hatred

Langley School District's board office. (Langley Advance Times files)
‘Sick Out’ aims to pressure B.C. schools over masks, class sizes

Parents from Langley and Surrey are worried about COVID safety in classrooms

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The baby boy born to Gillian and Dave McIntosh of Abbotsford was released from hospital on Wednesday (Nov. 25) while Gillian continues to fight for her life after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
B.C. mom with COVID-19 still fighting for life while newborn baby now at home

Son was delivered Nov. 10 while Gillian McIntosh was in an induced coma

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. Premier John Horgan, a Star Trek fan, can’t resist a Vulcan salute as he takes the oath of office for a second term in Victoria, Nov. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
Horgan names 20-member cabinet with same pandemic team

New faces in education, finance, economic recovery

The corporate headquarters of Pfizer Canada are seen in Montreal, Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. The chief medical adviser at Health Canada says Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine could be approved in Canada next month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Health Canada expects first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved next month

Canada has a purchase deal to buy at least 20 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine,

FILE – A paramedic holds a test tube containing a blood sample during an antibody testing program at the Hollymore Ambulance Hub, in Birmingham, England, on Friday, June 5, 2020. (Simon Dawson/Pool via AP)
Want to know if you’ve had COVID-19? LifeLabs is offering an antibody test

Test costs $75 and is available in B.C. and Ontario

Most Read