Metro Vancouver Chair Lois Jackson thinks taxpayers received good value for her recent study mission to Istanbul, Turkey
Yesterday on CKNW's Christy Clark show, Metro Vancouver Chair Lois Jackson was on the hot seat whereby she had to justify the $100,000+ provided to Councillor David "Carbon" Cadman to fund his international travel. CityCaucus.com first broke the story of Carbon Cadman's publicly funded travel itinerary last month.
Based on her interview with Clark, Ms. Jackson also appears to be a bit out of touch with the concerns expressed by local taxpayers who've been funding a myriad of international junkets for civic politicians. Clark pointed out to her listeners that even Jackson had been on a few of these junkets and asked what value taxpayers were getting from this expense.
Metro Vancouver rarely gets the kind of public scrutiny. However, just last week, the Langley Times wrote a great piece on how the cost of funding civic politicians at Metro Vancouver has increased by a staggering 44% in the last four years alone under Jackson's leadership.
Jackson appeared on shaky ground when Clark grilled her regarding whether Carbon Cadman had ever produced a written report to Metro Vancouver for all the funding he received. Here are a few excerpts from the show which can be listened to in its entirety by visiting cknw.com. In this first segment, Clark asks why Metro Vancouver recently cut off Cadman from further funding if he was providing such good value to the Region:
Christy Clark: So what I'm hearing you say is you looked over the budget and his work didn't make the grade?
Mayor Lois Jackson: Well I think we have to share. We have to share the engagements whether it's with water. Tim Stevenson was at a major world conference on water and clean water for a lot of the developing countries and we were helping I think in that regard extensively so he went this spring. Again you know we can't just focus on one component of the things we do here at Metro.
Christy Clark: Mayor Jackson what did we get for the $100,000. Just in this one case what are we getting for the $100,000 that we've spent. David Cadman is kind of the poster boy for this, but there is a lot of municipal politicians going out on junkets. What did we get? Is there a report that we've acted on that has changed policy at the municipal level or something?
Mayor Lois Jackson: Yes I woud say so. In many instances we give information and many instances we get information. In the getting of information for instance most recently was when our people went to Sweden and they have come back with a tremendous amount of information about garbage and landfills and waste to energy . We got a lot of information.
Christy Clark: Does that come in the form of a report? Did David Cadman for example have to write a report on every meeting that he went to and did municipal councils use that to change the way they do business?
Mayor Lois Jackson: Yes. We certainly ask that of each director or committee member. Whomever goes away. And our course we have our directors report back to the board. And uh...in this current instance we've already had them report out to us...at I think our last board meeting. And they will report out again as I said this coming Saturday. Uh...
Christy Clark: I don't hear you saying that you got this from David Cadman which is what I'm trying to get to here Ms. Jackson.
Mayor Lois Jackson: Uhmm. Now I don't have all that information before me. I do remember getting a couple of letters from David updating us as to his involvement. Certainly the climate change group has worked very diligently. Our environmental group has worked very diligently. But I think we are just changing our focus a little bit this year.
Clark went on to question trips Metro Vancouver recently funded for civic politicians to go to Sweden, Turkey and China to "study" and "observe" issues.
It was also revealed that a few more civic politicians are about to embark on a $12,500 trip to Barcelona, Spain to attend The Creativity and Talent in an Urban Environment meeting. When asked about the trip, Mayor Jackson told Clark she would have to speak to Mayor Derek Corrigan to get more details about that one.
Kudos to Clark for keeping the heat up on this issue and if you get a chance, tune into the audio archives and listen to the full interview - it's worth listening to!