“I’m entitled to my entitlements.” David Dingwall, former federal Cabinet Minister – October 19, 2005
If you had any doubt that some Metro Vancouver civic politicians were out of touch with the people they serve, you can put your mind at ease.
Last week, 24 hours Vancouver broke the story that Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan, along with three of his political allies and a handful of bureaucrats, went down to Arizona on a taxpayer-funded junket. The itinerary included a couple of rounds of golf, leisure shopping and an afternoon spent watching the Chicago Cubs spring training camp.
You would think after this $13,000 junket became front-page news the Mayor and his entourage would be somewhat contrite. Not so.
Not only will he not apologize for heading to sister-city Mesa, Ariz. during spring break, he’s now boasting about another overseas junket he’s got in the works.
In what can only be described as a jaw-dropping interview with Global TV’s Jas Johal, Corrigan appears unrepentant.
“The people of Burnaby would think I was crazy if I went down to Mesa and didn’t take the opportunity to get out and have a golf game or see the Chicago Cubs.”
Video: GlobalTV's Jas Johal interviews Burnaby Mayor Corrigan
As for whether he might be cutting back on all that international travel in the coming weeks, Corrigan said,“The politicians should be taking these kinds of trips. They should be continuing to make these kinds of relationships. In fact, I plan on visiting our sister-city of Zhongshan later on this year.”
Sitting in the middle of the council chamber for the interview, a clearly agitated Corrigan tells the reporter not to expect much in the way of economic benefits from all this cross-border travel.
“The question is not about bringing business to Burnaby. You seem to have a view that this is all about how much business we can bring in. You’re a little too focused on business in fact.”
I’ll let you, the reader, be the judge. Perhaps Corrigan is right and the taxpayers should cut him some slack regarding his warm-weather working vacations.
Or maybe you’re more like me and think Corrigan’s statements smack of political hubris. My guess is the people of Burnaby don’t think it’s all that “crazy” to spend their money wisely.
- post by Daniel. As a feature of this post listen to Mayor Corrigan interviewed by Province columnist Michael Smyth on CKNW's Bill Good Show regarding the Burnaby junket: