The Waste Report

By The Reform Party of Canada
web posted October 1997

Spending comes naturally at Natural Resources

A look at the figures from the Department of Natural Resources over the past fiscal year shows some interesting numbers.  While employees of NRCan are on the job, they are also tripping around town in cabs, racking up $229 453.16 in taxi fares for the year ended March 31, 1997. Many departments, including Natural Resources, laid off staff and offered generous early retirement packages.  At the same time, Natural Resources hired temporary help at a cost of $3 520 905.63.  Also, the department spent $4 933.88 on gifts and mementos that year, some of which were no doubt destined for early retirees as part of their "golden handshake".

NRCan doesn't seem to trust Canada Post either.  The department spent $659 452.02 on courier services for the same year.  Also, NRCan had $59 110.68 on unexplained write-offs, in addition to $9 938.02 that was mysteriously lost.  It makes you wonder how this department manages its money...your money!

Other expenses at Natural Resources in the same year...

  • $145 450.15 for "Non-Professional Personal Services"
  • $100 792.11 for Hospitality
  • $543 824.62 for "Personal Services"
  • $268 684.97 for Foreign Conference Fees
  • $1 811 412.90 for Translation Services
  • $330 761.94 for Post-Doctoral Fellowships
  • $1 338 151.06 for Visiting Fellowships
  • $43 500 000.00 for the Cape Breton Development Corporation
  • $197 454 000.00 transferred to the Atomic Energy Corporation Ltd. (AECL)
  • $240 954 000.00 transferred to Agency Corporation

Yet More Handouts from Natural Resources: (1995-1996)

  • Annapolis Valley Affiliated Boards of Trade $2 500.00
  • Association des Prospecteurs du Quebec $25 743.00
  • Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency $13 954.00
  • B.C. Research Inc. $326 337.42
  • Blue Goose Cattle Company $8 730.00
  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce $25 000.00
  • Federation of Canadian Municipalities $158 500.00
  • General Electric Canada, Inc. $1 239 268.00
  • Lake Superior State University $8 000.00
  • Lake Abitibi Model Forest Group $1 036 000.00
  • Novem BV Credit Lyonnais Bank Nederland NV $125 368.88
  • Nutek Sparbankernas Bank $10 810.00
  • Saskatchewan Trucking Association $43 592.81
  • Saskatchewan Christmas Tree Growers' Association $2 455.00
  • Technical University of Denmark $5 692.50

This is just a small sample of the $318 682 560.60 in grants and contributions from NRCan!

Racial Harmony in Canada's Prisons?

While the government continues to pat itself on the back for promoting racial harmony in Canada, it seems the story is different when it comes to the prison system.  The feds gave $25 000 to the "Black Inmates and Friends Assembly".  Racial integration not working in prison?  Then let's pay to keep them apart!

If prisoners can't join the Black Inmates Assembly, then they can always sign up for art lessons from the Prison Arts Foundation, which was handed $20 000.00.

The Ultimate Big Spender

(Horror Stories from the Ottawa Citizen)

Ted Weatherill has been the Chair of the Canada Labour Relations Board since 1989.  Between 1995 and 1996, Mr. Weatherill charged at least $21 000 to taxpayers for business travel he incurred as President of the National Academy of Arbitrators, an Alabama-based private organization.

"Mr. Weatherill concedes that he could have sent the expenses to the National Academy of Arbitrators...but Mr. Weatherill believed his participation in the NAA's conferences that year to be a wise investment for the Canada Labour Relations Board.  So, he chose to bill his expenses to the Canadian government instead."
The Ottawa Citizen, 7 April 1997

There's more than just travel, though.  The following is a "taste" of the meals Mr. Weatherill has billed to the Canadian taxpayer over the past eight years:

  • Breakfast:  Relais Christine, Paris $25.00
  • Meal (for 2):  RPG Arpege, Paris $733.43
  • Dinner:  Le Cercle Universitaire d'Ottawa $1 084.40
  • Room Service (one night): Chateau Frontenac, Qu�bec City $95.27
  • Meal:  Royal Windsor Hotel, Brussels $531.50

Mr. Weatherill billed the federal government on average $18 500 a year in meal costs alone, for a grand total of $148 000 over the first eight years of his ten year term.  He has billed the federal government more that $200 for a meal on 107 different occasions since he was hired.  

Many of Mr. Weatherill's lunches have included alcoholic beverages.  Treasury Board guidelines state that "reasonable expenses means the specific, itemized expenses incurred, based on receipts, excluding alcohol."  Why are Mr. Weatherill and other officials of his stature exempt from such guidelines?

Rather than fire Mr. Weatherill immediately, the former Labour Minister promised that he would be fired some time this fall.  

CIDA Grants...Czech it out!!!

In February, the Czech prime minister, Vaclav Klaus, visited Ottawa.  To honor his visit, the feds wasted no time in granting the Czechs expensive gifts.  They included:

  • $1.4 million over three years to provide "professional and technical support" for Czech        municipal authorities.  This includes exchanges and visits by Czechs and Canadians at your expense.  The program includes training in "solid waste collection and disposal".
  • $473 000 for a judicial reform project including prison administration.  While Canadians sometimes must wait a year or longer for a trial, we are "showing" other countries how to improve their legal systems. It is notable that while Canadian taxpayers will be footing the bill for teaching Czechs about prison adminstration, taxpayers paid to fly mass murderer Clifford Olson across the country in a private jet for his parole hearing.  Is this the kind of thing we want to teach other countries?

Those junkets just keep on happening!!!

Earlier editions of the Waste Report highlighted Parliamentary Conferences held in far-off and exotic places.  Well, things haven't changed at all.  Just days after the election on June 2nd, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference asked Parliamentarians to submit their applications to attending the 43rd Conference, to be held on Mauritius Island in the Indian Ocean from September 16 to 25.  Your federal government intends to send 7 delegates.  According to an Ottawa travel agency, the cost to fly 7 people to Mauritius on an economy fare would cost the taxpayer
$62 720.00.  In addition to this are also the daily per diems and hotels.  Why are these conferences always held in exotic resorts in far-away places, and not in Baker Lake, NWT?

CIDA's Gender Seeking African Safari

The government wants to spread the gospel of "affirmative action" around the world.  Recently, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) issued a request for proposals for a six-month contract to produce "gender strategies for Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa."  

The value of the contract?  A cool $75 000.00.  The budget for the contract includes 30 days of overseas travel expenses.  This project smacks not only of an expensive travel junket for a Canadian consultant to travel to southern Africa, but also an attempt to impose Canadian government policy on developing countries.  While many families in these countries cannot provide the necessities of daily life such as food, shelter, clothing, education and jobs, our government wants to help them with "gender strategies".

What do trains, fish, and parliamentary study groups have in common?

They are all gifts that CIDA has granted at your your expense to other countries.  This includes:

  • $500 000 to reintegrate Malian soldiers back into their society, as well as $2 million worth of herring and vegetable oil.  Is the oil to deep-fry the herring?
  • $14 million to provide Canadian-built locomotives to Senegal.
  • $2 million to promote the use of electrical energy in Brazil.
  • $450,000 to establish the Lebanese Parliamentary Institute.  (Presumably, we'll be teaching the Lebanese 101 ways to spend taxpayers' dollars, just like our own Parliamentary associations do!)

To smoke or not to smoke...that is the $100 question!

To assist employees who wish to stop smoking, the House of Commons has offered a $100 incentive to any employee who completes a Smoking Cessation Program.  At the same time, Correctional Services Canada has a contract with RJR Macdonald Inc. to supply $1 546 554 worth of tobacco products for one year to prisoners in Kingston and area.  So which is it?  $1.5 million for prisoners to LIGHT UP, or $100 per House employee to BUTT OUT??  Either way, you get the bill.

The Feds Want Every Penny!

An Ottawa plumber received a bill for one penny from Revenue Canada because of an error in his GST return.

The letter from Revenue Canada explained that "an error was made in the refund amount reported on your return," and that the "amount owing for the period is $0.01".

He is not alone.  An Edmonton resident overpaid her taxes.  Revenue Canada reimbursed her, but by $0.10 too much.  She subsequently received a notice from Revenue Canada stating that she owed them $0.10.

In both cases, the individuals were warned that penalties and interest would accrue on the total amount owing!

Did you celebrate International Development Week this year?

In case you missed it, International Development Week was February 2 to 8, 1997.  CIDA, along with 19 other partners, spent $53 777.79 to produce an information package that included posters, calendars, and 500 000 leaflets.  Did you get yours?

Or how about National Flag Day?

The Department of Canadian Heritage has continued to hand out free flags at taxpayers' expense.  Earlier this year, Sheila Copps celebrated the flying of one million Canadian flags on February 15.  The grand total to Canadian taxpayers?  $15 510 000.  If Canadians are truly patriotic, surely they would want to fly their own flag without government subsidies.

$21.5 million in forgiven debt!

Did you know that Canada has forgiven some of the debt owed to us from the following countries?

Colombia $2 800 000
El Salvador  2 700 000
Honduras  3 300 000
Nicaragua     900 000
Costa Rica  2 300 000
Egypt  9 581 710

While the federal government continues to forgive Third World debt, we dig ourselves deeper into our own debt hole.  Our national debt is now $600 billion and still growing, yet we are asked to forgive foreign debts while we still have a massive debt of our own.

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