Duceppe wins national taxpayer waste award
Former Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe has received an award he likely won't be displaying on his mantle -- a gilded pig statuette for wasting public money.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation has bestowed Duceppe with a lifetime achievement award at the 14th annual Teddy Waste Awards ceremony, which recognizes "the worst in government waste."
Even though Duceppe lost his seat in Parliament in the last election, he's still collecting more than $140,000 per year in a parliamentary pension, "the gift of a grateful nation for a lifetime of devoted service to trying to break it up," the CTF said in a news release.
"We thought he would show up to receive (the award) at the ceremony this morning, but he was a no-show," CTF director Gregory Thomas joked on CTV's Power Play Wednesday, holding Duceppe's pig trophy.
CTF also points out that Duceppe put the Bloc Quebecois' historian and executive director on the parliamentary payroll, even though taxpayers shelled out some $23.5-million to subsidize the party.
Every year, CTF officials ham it up at the Teddy Awards, complete with a pig mascot, to bring attention to what they say are serious, but often laughable, examples of government waste.
"Taxpayers can cry, we can shout and we can stamp our feet when we hear some of these outrageous stories," said Thomas. "Some government waste is so ridiculous, it deserves to be ridiculed."
The Teddy Award is named after Ted Weatherill, a former federal government employee who was dismissed in 1999 for saddling taxpayers with his outrageous expenses.
Awards are given out in four categories; municipal waste, provincial waste, federal waste and lifetime achievement.
The federal Teddy Award went to Agriculture Canada for its $284-million tobacco transition program in 2008-09, which the auditor general slammed as ineffective and wasteful.
The program's goal was to move farmers out of the tobacco business, but their numbers only increased and tobacco production doubled the following year. Some farmers took the government handout, but then shifted their land and equipment to relatives who kept on growing tobacco.
The program is still under review.
The provincial Teddy Award went to Alberta for paying 21 politicians $1,000 per month to serve on a committee that hasn't met since 2008.
"It's been 39 months now that the committee hasn't met and almost a quarter of Alberta's legislature sits on this committee," Thomas told Power Play. "But the cheques keep rolling in to the members for their service. Committee work is tough."
The City of Montreal also got a Teddy Award for sending out snowplows to clear snow-free sidewalks. A video of the plows scraping the concrete went viral on YouTube.
Award nominees included Ornge, Ontario's embattled air ambulance service currently under investigation for financial irregularities, and the Department of National Defence for spending $2 billion since 1998 on four used submarines that are still not in service.