For the last 25 years, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) has been annually dishing out its Teddy Awards.
It’s a fun but shameful day, especially for the recipients.
No one and no agency wants to be associated with this award because it represents the worst in government waste.
The Teddy, a pig-shaped trophy, is named after Ted Weatherill, a former federal appointee who was fired in 1999 for submitting a raft of dubious expense claims, including a $700 lunch for two.
This year the recipients outdid themselves.
The Canada Revenue Agency was nominated to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award, the Teddy’s most prestigious(?) award, for “giving pandemic subsidies to ineligible businesses, people in jail, teenagers and hundreds of dead people.”
The cost to taxpayers: More than $32 billion. Yes, billion.
The Canada Revenue Agency gave the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, or the CERB to:
· 190,254 people who quit their job instead of losing it due to the pandemic;
· 692 people who received a duplicate payment benefit;
· 1,522 people who were in jail;
· 704 people who did not live in Canada;
· 434 people under the age of 15; and,
· 391 dead people.
The feds handed out potentially more than $32 billion in ineligible or suspicious payments, according to the Auditor General.
“Usually, if you take money that doesn’t belong to you, you might end up in jail,” writes Franco Terrazzano, federal director of the CTF.
“In Justin Trudeau’s Canada, (however), we got the reverse: First you go to jail, then the government sends you money you’re not supposed to have.
“(But) here’s the strangest part,” says Terrazzano, “If you owe the CRA a toonie, they’ll send the hounds after you. But the billions of dollars sent out the door to ineligible recipients?
“Suddenly, the CRA’s too busy to recover the money.”
The top individual Teddy Award, not surprisingly, goes to Gov. Gen. Mary Simon for spending more in a week’s trip to the Middle East than Trudeau spent on a year’s worth of family groceries.
The tab for in-flight meals and snacks? $99,362.
But they were no different than ordinary in-flight meals, Simon said in an attempt to downplay them.
No, far from it.
The flight menus included “beef Wellington au red jus” and “pan fried chicken scallopini in creamy mushroom wine reduction sauce.”
Buttery chicken tikka masala, apple and cranberry stuffed pork tenderloin, beef carpaccio and about $190 worth of “VIP sliced fruit” were also on the menus.
The bureaucrats tasked with being Simon’s travel agents promised to cut back.
“Drink garnishes will be eliminated from service,” the government’s chief of protocol Stewart Wheeler said. No more vodka martinis a with twist?
Naturally, the Prime Minister made the nomination list for allowing the biggest mystery in Ottawa to go on for months.
Some mysterious Canadian, at the time, had the nerve to stay for five days in a $6,000-a night hotel room while attending the Queen’s funeral.
“Several top-shelf hotels including The Four Seasons, The Langham, The Savoy, even the Shangri La all offer lower prices than the Corinthia,” the Toronto Sun reported.
Bureaucrats bent the rules trying to hide the truth about the hotel room. They even said it would be a security risk to reveal who stayed in the room months prior. The CTF launched a legal fight and, magically, the government confessed.
It was, to no one’s surprise, Justin Trudeau was the $30,000 mystery man. But it would be, wouldn’t it?
The most intriguing award went to Global Affairs Canada for spending $12,520 organizing shows where seniors talked about their sex lives in front of a live audience.
Through Global Affairs’ Mission Cultural fund, the Canadian government gave funds to the Toronto-based group Mammalian Diving Reflex to organize live stage performances in Austria, Australia and Taiwan.
The show was called “All the Sex I’ve Ever Had” and starred senior citizens who were invited on stage to recount “everything they can remember and care to share about their romantic and sexual lives.”
If you hear the wheelchair a-rockin’, don’t come a-knockin’.