Councillor Deal's tweet shows taxpayers what's left after FCM dinner in Halifax
If you’re a civic politician, the challenges of social media can be quite daunting. Once you start, there is no going back as your supporters expect you’ll keep them abreast of your every move. However, all that access to your daily life can also prove politically troublesome.
Last year Vision Vancouver councillor Andrea Reimer was forced to apologize to B.C. Cabinet Minister Rich Coleman after she sent out a nasty tweet commenting on his weight. Now it appears Reimer's colleague Heather Deal is in more hot water than a cooked Nova Scotia lobster after a series of tweets she sent out during a trip to Halifax.
Last week she and her Vision colleagues attended the annual Federation of Canadian Municipalities convention. The trip is funded by taxpayers and elected officials are expected to go there and debate important topics such as homelessness and the infrastructure deficit.
However, it would appear Deal also found the time to chow down on some fine Nova Scotia seafood and other delicacies while in attendance.
The Twitter post she sent out regarding the "carnage" left behind from one of her dinners is now making headlines over at 24 Hours Vancouver newspaper this evening. One of the tweets included "a photo of a ravaged dinner table, complete with empty wine glasses, raided lobster tails, crumpled napkins and a stained tablecloth."
It would be nice if public officials didn’t eat higher on the hog than the rest of us. You know, 26.6 per cent of people in Vancouver live under the poverty line. It would be a kind of a concrete solidarity with other people if you didn’t eat like that.
Heather Deal has never been shy when it comes to seeking out the media to blast away at her opponents or promote her latest concept. However, she refused a request to do an interview with 24 Hours for this story. They state:
That same day, Deal – whose Nova Scotia trip was funded by taxpayers – also tweeted about shopping at the Halifax market and the “swag” conference delegates received.
According to 24 Hours, taxpayers footed the bill for sending a number of Deal's Vision colleagues to Halifax:
Vancouver’s policy allows any council member to attend. The city spent $2,000 to $4,000 per member for last year’s conference in Toronto. Deal’s bill was more than $3,000 to attend that event, according to public expense records.
This year, five councillors went with Mayor Gregor Robertson, the new chair of the Big City Mayors Caucus, including Geoff Meggs, Raymond Louie, George Chow, Tim Stevenson and Deal.
Registration for each member was $829. Travel costs were likely higher because of the greater distance. Councillors can also request a $60 per diem for meals. The event ended Monday and total expenses will be made public at a later date.
Deal also sent out another interesting Twitter post whereby she snapped a photo of a very lengthy lineup of elected officials. Are these councillors and mayors waiting to get into another serious policy debate? Nope. Deal says "FCM delegates lined up for some local food and entertainment!"
In addition to the elected officials, at least one of the Mayor's office staff was also in Halifax. I know that because I happened to catch the same flight as Chief of Staff Mike Magee as he headed to the East Coast via Toronto.
Needless to say, Deal is probably very lucky that most of her constituents are fixated on Canucks hockey of late. Otherwise, her experiment in providing us with an insight into the daily life of civic officials at FCM might not be going over so well.
- Post by Daniel. Follow us on Twitter @CityCaucus