The Trudeau government’s infamous climate delegations were the big winners at the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF)’s 24th annual Teddy Waste Awards in Calgary on Wednesday, taking home the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award for wasting taxpayers’ money.
CTF Alberta director Kris Sims and federal director Franco Terrazzano announced the nominees and winners at a gala-themed presentation that was live streamed by the Western Standard, honouring “the best of the worst of government waste.”
Also called the Teddies, the Teddy Waste Awards – represented by golden pig trophies – are named after former federal appointee Ted Weatherill, who has gone down in history for bloated expense claims, including $150,000 in food bills over eight years.
The Trudeau government made headlines for its 276-member delegation to the United Nation’s COP26 climate summit in Glasgow – the largest in the G7 – which cost taxpayers an estimated $1 million.
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland also made headlines of her own when she stayed in Edinburgh instead of Glasgow and charged taxpayers $3,000 to take a private, chauffeured car back and forth instead of the $50-a-day train.
Other records revealed that taxpayers paid a total of $42,000 for Freeland’s three-day stay in Scotland. Her flight alone cost $11,573, followed by a stay at a $740-a-night hotel. Canadians were also billed for the flights and lodging of her staff members.
In 2019, Canada sent the second-largest G20 delegation to COP25 in Madrid, Spain, costing taxpayers $683,278.
In addition to the lifetime award, the CTF also gave out trophies for the worst federal, provincial and municipal offenders.
The federal award went to the National Capital Commission (NCC) for its $11-million-dollar reno of Trudeau’s Harrington Lake retreat.
Documents obtained by the CTF show that it cost taxpayers $735,000 to renovate the kitchen and $200,000 to install new sprinklers. The NCC is also spending $2.5 million on a backup cottage as “temporary accommodations” for Trudeau while work is completed on the 16-room primary residence.
The provincial award went to Quebec, which gave $380 million to the Airbus A220 project, formerly known as the Bombardier C-Series.
“So, Quebec finally figured out giving Bombardier more cash wasn’t a good idea,” said Sims. “So now Quebec is giving the Airbus A220 project a $380 million subsidy instead. Only problem here – taxpayers didn’t get to see the fine print. See, the Airbus A220 is just a name change. It’s the plane formerly known as the Bombardier C-Series. Rumour has it that they were going to go for another branding change, but the next dodgy scheme’s name – Enron – was already taken.”
The municipal award went to Sukh Gill, a Kamloops, B.C. bureaucrat who expensed half a million dollars over five years on fancy meals, jewelry for staff and a champagne room.
“A champagne room and bling are usually the realm of rockstars, but a bureaucrat at the Thompson-Nicola Regional District treated himself to a baller lifestyle with the taxpayer credit card,” said Terrazzano.
Other nominees included the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation for its $450,000 study of a home equity tax, Rideau Hall for allowing governors general to expense claims after death and Winnipeg City Hall for spending $260,000 on Christmas tree “enhancements” – including a 22-foot extension to make it taller.
The expenditure saw Winnipeg city councillor Shawn Nason question whether City Hall was suffering from “tree envy.”