Canadian Taxpayers Federation hands out awards for most wasteful politicians, but misses the most obvious ones

Canadian Taxpayers Federation hands out awards for most wasteful politicians, but misses the most obvious ones

Who can be trusted with money?

Yesterday, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation had a fun little event where the organization handed out Teddies—that is, recognition awards for government waste at the federal, provincial and municipal levels. There was also a “lifetime achievement” award given to a special politician, one David Miller. Only one problem: there are just as wasteful politicians out there, who blew through taxpayer cash faster than Toronto’s former mayor.

From the CTF’s release:

Since 2003, Miller grew the city’s operating budget by 44% or $2.8 billion, increased the city’s net debt by more than $1 billion and increased property taxes year-over-year, well beyond the rate of inflation. But Miller was not contented to be an old fashioned tax and spend cowboy, he was determined to break the mould in Gravy Train to Yuma. In doing so, he introduced a host of new taxes including: a plastic bag tax, garbage tax, car tax, billboard tax and land transfer tax.

After catering to the every whim of the unions that elected him, the 2009 garbage strike was a bridge too far for ordinary Torontonians. Yet the tale of David Miller is a tragic one, but one with a happy ending as Miller leaves the city on the Gravy Train to Yuma.

So according to the CTF, growing the operating budget of the city by such an amount is, by definition, wasteful. But what’s this, National Post? There’s another prominent politician who has also expanded their spending by a similar amount?  Do tell:

Federal program spending during Mr. [Paul] Martin’s final year in power—2005-2006—stood at $175 billion. By 2009-2010, under Stephen Harper, it had climbed to $245 billion.

Why, that’s a 40 per cent increase in spending as well! And Harper’s done it faster than Miller: in five years instead of Miller’s seven. Hilariously, Miller gets his award by name, Adam Giambrone gets mentioned as a “nominee” (with a description that few could miss, even if he’s not named), while the CTF refers only vaguely to the “organizers of the G8/G20.”

Hot tip: the organizers of the G20 have names too—names like Stephen Harper, Tony Clement and Jim Flaherty. Miller may have racked up a billion-dollar debt for Toronto over seven years (according to the CTF), but the G20 spent that much money in three summer days. It would be nice if we could rely on reporters not to take the bait on something so transparent. But no such luck.

• 13th Annual “Teddy” Government Waste Awards Winners [CTF]
• Government expenditure rises under Harper [National Post]
• Gold for David Miller: Levy [Toronto Sun]

(Image: Madoff, Shiny Things; Krusty, walknboston; Flaherty, Rocco Rossi; Harper, World Economic Forum; Giambrone, Tsar Kasim; Miller, Rokashi)