Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation wants a few receipts

As we mentioned on the blog last week, Canada's municipal leaders and city staff made their way to Vancouver over the weekend for a four day congress on municipal matters, a chance to network, take in workshops and speeches and examine the latest from the annual trade show.

Last week's gathering of the Municipal leaders of Canada however, has raised a bit of an eye for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, ever watchful for spending issues on the federal, provincial and municipal level.

The latest issue of particular interest for the CTF was the number of civic representatives that attended the Federation of Canadian Municipalities gathering in Vancouver. More to their concern, in the case of those representatives in the Lower Mainland their use of hotel rooms at high end Vancouver hotels, rather than just hitting the Skytrain at the end of the day to head on home.

Other issues of note to the Taxpayers watchdog group is the scattered approach to disclosure on these trips from Municipal officials across the country, some provide detailed spending reports on their various trips on city business, others offer up just a lump sum accounting of their expenses while on Civic business.

Few it seems provide a detailed report on the topic, one that is easily read by taxpayers, who may wish to see where their money is being spent on out of town trips.

In an era of escalating property taxes, more watchful spending and accountability is a standard that the CTF would like to see all levels of government held to.

That's something that the residents of the smaller communities may be inclined to support as they seek to gain full value for their yearly tax bill.

It's not the first time of course that municipal spending has become a topic of interest.

Last week, timed for release as the FCM gathered in Vancouver, the Canadian Federation of Business issued a report on municipal spending.  A talking point that certainly caught the attention of those attending the conference, though for the most part, it was a report that was dismissed by many taking in the four day conference.

As for results from the Vancouver conference, so far  there hasn't been much review as of yet on the local participation at the FCM.

Perhaps we will learn more, at the next council meeting, when the Mayor delivers his Mayor's report. Though, his end of session commentaries at Council, are more of a snapshot, rather than a full exploration of events.

And while the city does host its own website, no details as to who attended on behalf of the City of Prince Rupert, or what may have been achieved from the four day conference has been listed on that portal so far.

For the most part, the local media didn't seem to have much interest in the four day conference either, as there wasn't much attention directed to the civic involvement in the gathering.

The Prince George media however, has been quick to offer up some background on their politicians and the trip to Vancouver, providing a glimpse of some of the talking points from the four days.

CKPG-- FCM meetings round up (video)
CKPG-- FCM Convention Wrapped Up
CKPG-- FCM Starts Tomorrow
Prince George Citizen-- Councillor retains FCM position
Prince George Citizen-- Municipalities slam spendthrift report
Prince George Citizen-- Mayor, council off to federal meeting
Opinion 250-- Councillors Heading to FCM Annual Convention in Vancouver

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