Why are so many elected officials flying around the world attending environmental conferences?
Well, well, well. It would appear that Metro Vancouver's high flying City Councillor and President of an obscure organization known as ICLEI has had his travel wings clipped by the folks over at Metro Vancouver. As was first reported here last May, Vancouver Councillor David Cadman has been travelling the world on the taxpayers dime for a number of years now. Whether it's been Poland, Japan, Italy, South Africa...Carbon Cadman has been hopping aboard fossil fuel powered jet planes to help save the world from climate change.
In his most recent venture, Cadman was asking Metro Vancouver to pay his expenses for an environmental conference he wants to attend in Copenhagen. As a result, our crack research team is attempting to confirm if Copenhagians have video conference service available. If not, perhaps Cadman could participate in the conference by using Skype. By doing so, he would not only be saving money, but also saving the planet from his additional carbon emissions.
Ironically, Metro Vancouver Chair Lois Jackson was not available to comment on Councillor Cadman's travel request as she too is apparently on another international junket to China. Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson has also announced that he plans to fly to Copenhagen to talk up Vancouver's commitment to the environment. No word yet on whether he plans to purchase any carbon offsets to mitigate the impact his trip will have on the environment.
If the information we found about the burning of jet fuel is accurate, Mayor Robertson will have to plant a few more gardens to help keep his environmental record sound. Here is an excerpt from the Sydney Herald on the subject:
A plane flying from Australia to London, for example, will use more than 200 tonnes of jet fuel and pump out more than 500 tonnes of carbon dioxide. On a flight from London to Miami, one person will be responsible for climate change emissions equivalent to one car doing 12,000 miles.
Ace reporter Jeff Nagel got some initial reaction to "Copenhagen Cadman's" request for more money from regional taxpayers. Here is what Pitt Meadows Mayor Don MacLean had to say:
I haven't been supporting these junkets for years. We can't be isolated from the fact we're in the tail end of the recession and the concept of $31,000 is a lot of money to taxpayers.
According to Nagel, if Metro Vancouver had approved Cadman's travel, he would have been eligible for $632 per day in Director's fees in addition to $83 per day for meals. Belcarra Mayor Ralph Drew says he has "drawn a line in the sand" and has vowed that Metro Vancouver will not pay for any more of Cadman's junkets.
Earlier this year, we reported that Carbon Cadman had charged Metro Vancouver taxpayers over $110,000 in travel expenses in his role as an ICLEI representative. CityCaucus.com also revealed that he received almost $60,000 in Director's fees as part of these claims.
The Georgia Straight is reporting that an obstinate Cadman is fed up with all the media scrutiny regarding his controversial travel habits. Cadman now says he's going to teach Metro Vancouver taxpayers a lesson by actually paying for his own international travel out of personal funds:
Cadman has already said “it doesn't matter” if the Metro finance committee shows him the hand or offer raised digits. “I'm going anyway,” he said. “I'm not prepared to welch on my responsibilities, having been elected to the executive board, having been elected as the president of this organization, and doing all the work that I do to bring about positioning and involvement in Copenhagen. I'm not prepared to say, ‘Oh, well, for $1,400, I'm not prepared to go.' I've already bought the ticket.”
Let it also be known that Carbon Cadman is concerned about protecting taxpayers. Take a look at this excerpt from Matt Burrow's story over at the Straight:
After selling his credentials, Cadman wrote that he would be eligible for a business-class nine-hour flight. However, he wrote that he could not support an outlay of $6,291.95 and instead quoted an economy fare of $1,455.95.
What is it about Cadman and all his travel expenses that seems to capture the public's imagination? Only a few weeks ago he was privately dumping all over Councillor Tim Stevenson when the Vision councillor let Cadman hang out to dry over his latest funding request for a trip to Europe.
Stevenson could sense the optics of his own San Francisco junket were so terrible that he promptly cancelled his request for taxpayer funds. Stevenson's move then forced Cadman to cancel his European travel request as part of his role with the Association of Peace Messenger Cities. All the while, Vancouver's City manager is busy cutting public sector jobs and the Mayor says there is no money to help war veterans with property tax relief.
You need not look any further than today's spectacle to understand why Councillor Cadman was given an "F" grade in our 1st Annual Civic Report Card.