One councillor planning trip to Sarajevo (above) while another has eyes set on California
Over the last couple of weeks a lot has been made of the fact that Vancouver is going through a bit of a budget crunch. City Manager Penny Ballem called a news conference and walked the media through her get tough strategy which is supposedly going to include up to 200 layoffs. Mayor Robertson also held several media sessions where he claimed Vancouver was doing everything possible to cut costs and keep tax increases at no higher than 0%.
It's for this reason that a number of city staff are shaking their heads at a couple of requests being put forward to council for consideration. Councillor David 'Carbon' Cadman is asking $2,232 from taxpayers to head off to Europe for a conference relating to the International Association of Peace Messenger Cities. Not to be outdone, Councillor Tim Stevenson is asking for $1,366 to attend a leadership conference in California.
Now you'd think with all the talk of belt tightening and leaving no stone unturned, both of these councillors (well known for their love of travel) would understand the optics related to asking taxpayers to fund their out-of-country travel. That doesn't appear to be the case.
So what are taxpayers going to get for their money? According to the report coming to council, Cadman indicates that his travel plans to Europe include discussions on a wide variety of topics including:
1. Cultural, religious and ethnic coexistence in multiethnic environment
2. Post conflict construction of peace and establishment of trust
3. Key factors of economic progress of cities as basis for reinforcement of peace
4. Institutional frameworks for development of multiethnicity and nurturing of
religious and traditional values of ethnic groups in multiethnic environments.
CityCaucus.com was the first to report that Councillor Cadman had charged regional taxpayers over $100K for his world-wide travel over the last several years. Since we broke the story, Metro Vancouver has subsequently cut Cadman off of his travel allowance. Hence the reason he is now asking Vancouver taxpayers to foot 100% of his foreign travel bills.
Despite the fiscal situation, it is anticipated the Vision majority on Council will endorse the travel of both councillors at their upcoming Tuesday Council meeting.