POLITICS

Bev Oda Wins Government Waste Lifetime Achievement Award From Taxpayers Federation

03/06/2013 08:58 EST
CP

Oh Bev Oda, you may never live that $16 orange juice down.

The former MP and international co-operation minister won a Lifetime Achievement "Teddy" award from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation — annual tongue-in-cheek awards given to recognize "government waste."

The Taxpayers Federation says Oda "is the poster child for entitled politicians. During her six year career in cabinet, Oda racked up a laundry list of outrageous expenses."

The most infamous incident was Oda's extravagant stay at London's Savoy hotel while on a government trip. She was originally booked into more modest accommodation, but had herself moved to the swanky $665 per night Savoy. Also on that trip's tab was the infamous glass of orange juice and a $1,000 per day private driver to whisk her around town — all billed to the taxpayer.

Oda repaid some of the expenses.

She retired after the scandal broke, but the Canadian Taxpayers Federation notes that she'll have a "$52,000 annual Parliamentary pension to comfort her for the rest of her life."

In its 15th year, the Teddy awards are named after Ted Weatherill, former chairman of the Canada Labour Relations Board who was turfed in the '90s for overspending, including a $700 lunch for two, according to the Taxpayers Federation.

Here are the rest of the Taxpayer Federation's honourees for this year, in their words:

Federal Teddy Winner: Chief Roger Redman, Standing Buffalo First Nation: When band members gathered to impeach him, the Chief padlocked the band office and confiscated the chequebook. For leading the Standing Buffalo reserve, home to 443 people, Chief Redman took home more after-tax income than the Prime Minister, and each of his councillors out-earned Saskatchewan’s premier.

Provincial Teddy Winner: Former Alberta Tourism Minister Christine Cusanelli: Alberta had a problem on its hands: cancelling a massive provincial junket to the London Olympics left the province with $113,000 worth of empty hotel rooms. The minister helped the province with the problem by taking her mother and her daughter to the Olympics with her, billing the entire trip to the taxpayers before eventually paying the money back.

Local Teddy Winner: Toronto Maintenance and Skilled Trades Council: The Toronto Maintenance and Skilled Trades Council billed the Toronto Public School District for 293,000 work orders totalling $158 million, including $143 to attach a pencil sharpener to a desk with four screws and $266 for hanging three pictures on a wall. Union boss, Jimmy Hazel believes in being accountable – to himself. As he told a Toronto Star reporter “We don’t need to f----ing prove anything to anybody about costs.”

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