B.C. needs municipal auditor general to stop runaway travel bills

Author: Carson Binda 2024/06/13


VANCOUVER, B.C.: The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is calling on Premier David Eby to re-open the auditor general for local government to investigate spending scandals by local politicians. 

This call comes after Mayors Brad West, Mike Hurley, Malcolm Brodie and John McEwen jet-set to Holland on the taxpayer dime. 

“It’s hard to imagine why we would need to send any mayors to Holland for a conference, let alone four of them,” said Carson Binda, B.C. Director for the CTF. “An auditor general for local governments could investigate this kind of waste and make sure it stops happening.” 

Previously, Delta Mayor George Harvie withdrew from the International Conference on Urban Drainage due to blowback from taxpayers which is running from June 9 - 14. Four other mayors decided to go anyway.

“How many politicians do we need to send to the same conference?” Asked Binda. “It’s one thing if an expert on staff needs to go to learn the latest best practices, but it’s hard to believe four mayors came back with specifically useful expertise on this junket.” 

Highlights from the agenda include everything from a lecture on hydraulic conductivity on permeable pavement bonded with a novel polyurethane binder to an outing to a beer tasting at a botanical garden. 

The four mayors spent taxpayer money for an international junket despite huge cost overruns on other municipal projects. For example, the North Shore Wastewater Treatment Plant is $3-billion over budget and years behind schedule. That project alone will add hundreds of dollars to families' property tax bills for the next decades.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is submitting freedom of information requests to get the exact cost of the trip.

“The four mayors who decided to take a taxpayer funded euro-trip are slapping their constituents in the face,” Binda said. “The province needs to step in, appoint an auditor general for local government and restore taxpayers’ faith in the system.”  


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