Canadian Taxpayers Federation doles out their ‘government waste’ awards

Andy Radia
Politics Reporter
Canada Politics

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF)  held its 14th annual "Teddy Waste Awards" ceremony Wednesday,  to recognize the best of the worst in government spending.

Last year, the main award went to the Harper Conservatives for their $1.24-billion G8/G20 summits.

This year's Teddy goes to....

The Federal Teddy

The Federal Teddy goes to Agriculture Canada`s Tobacco Transition Program -  a program set up to pay farmers to get out of the tobacco business.

According to the CTF, Agriculture Canada offered government cheques to any farmer willing to shut down their tobacco farm and walk away.

Unfortunately, the Auditor General's fall 2011 report revealed that Agriculture Canada's $284 million giveaway not only failed in its goal of reducing the number of active tobacco farmers in Canada, but in fact, their numbers more than doubled from 118 in 2009 to 251 in 2010.

As it turned out, many farmers were caught transferring their quota to relatives or acquaintances— anyone who is not their spouse or dependent child— and then applying for a new tobacco-growing licence.

Maybe Agriculture Canada  should have caught that loophole?

The Provincial Teddy

The Provincial Teddy went to the 21 MLAs sitting on Alberta's Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections, Standing Orders and Printing.

These 21 MLAs get paid $1,000/month for serving on a committee that has not met since 2008.

Nice work if you can get it.

The Municipal Teddy

The Municipal Teddy went to the City of Montreal and its fleet of imaginary snowplows.

Many will recall the YouTube video, posted in December, of a city worker plowing a bare sidewalk.

The Lifetime Achievement Teddy:

No award ceremony would be complete without  a lifetime achievement award.

This year's distinction went to former Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe.

The award is going "to the recipient of a $2.9-million parliamentary pension, the gift of a grateful nation for a lifetime of devoted service towards breaking it up," CTF federal director Gregory Thomas said Wednesday as he announced the honour.

Other Teddy nominees included:

Federal - Department of National Defence: $2 billion since 1998 for four used submarines still not in service.

Federal - Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency: $190,000 to subsidize donuts made with pure lard in the province with the highest obesity rate in Canada.

Federal - National Capital Commission: $5.2 million for seven portable skate shacks on the Rideau Canal that sit unused 337 days a year.

Provincial - Yukon: Supreme Court Justice Vital Ouellette: $15 million order to build a school for 41 French-speaking students in Whitehorse.

Provincial - British Columba: BC Hydro for paying $42.3 million in performance bonuses to 99 per cent of its employees.

Provincial - Ontario: ORNGE Air Ambulance Service: $25 million unaccounted for and a police investigation unfolding.

Municipal - City of Winnipeg, Manitoba: a $5,000 grant to notify citizens in winter if it is slippery outside.

Municipal - City of Calgary, Alberta: $25 million and counting for the 15-month overdue pedestrian Peace Bridge that doubles as a public art display.

Municipal - City of St. Albert, Alberta: $280,000 to buy a Starbucks, to compete with taxpaying St. Albert small businesses.