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Canada: Watching your tax dollars fly away

Each year, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, honours the best of the worst of government spending in Canada, through its Teddy Awards that highlights the worst cases of government spending at a federal, provincial and municipal level.

Clutch your pocket book. This year’s winners are (drum roll please):

Federal winner:

Former governor general Julie Payette’s turbulent tenure at Rideau Hall was apparently less than friendly to her staff and it wasn’t taxpayer friendly either. Payette spent more than $650,000 on her swearing-in ceremony and another half a million on renovations at the governor general’s residence, even though she never actually moved in. The investigation into her dubious management style cost taxpayers another $393,000. Even though Payette has blasted off, as a former GG, she’s still allowed to bill taxpayers up to $200,000 a year for office expenses thanks to the government’s ludicrous lifetime expenses policy.

Provincial winner:

The Quebec government’s ferry agency bought a ship called the F.A. Gauthier, to shuttle people across the St. Lawrence at a cost of $175 million, but the ship turned out to be a very expensive lemon and had to undergo repairs. To keep the ferry service operating in the meantime, the STQ bought a used ship from Newfoundland for $2 million and proceeded to crash it twice within the first month of service before it was written off as unseaworthy. Last but certainly not least, the agency bought a third ship and spent $45 million putting it into service and it too has twice hit a dock.

Municipal winner:

The City of Toronto spent $160,000 to build four kilometres of bike lanes on Brimley Road in July of last year as part of the city’s pandemic response. Then, the city decided to tear them out just five months later, costing taxpayers another $80,000. That means taxpayers wasted a quarter million dollars – equal to the property tax bill of 80 Toronto households – with nothing to show for it.

READ: Canadian Taxpayers Federation presents 23rd annual Teddy Awards for government waste

My favourite honourable mention goes to Calgary where bureaucrats make a win seem like a loss:

The second place municipal award went to the city of Calgary that spent $64,000 investigating the expense claims of city councillor Joe Magliocca who spent hundreds of dollars wining and dining people, that according to the audit, he never actually met with.

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