Junketeering Toronto councillor can’t remember where he slept or who he met on May trip to Quebec City (with audio link)
Yesterday the Toronto Sun reported that 17 Toronto city councillors and staffers participated in a $41,854 trip to Quebec City in May, for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities' (FCM) 71st annual conference:
Turns out, during an era where there was fear of not making budget, the city fathers miraculously found $41,854 to cover expenses for 17 people to go to beautiful old Quebec. C'est bon.
"It's unacceptable," says Kevin Gaudet of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation who made the discovery though a Freedom of Information request. "It's just a waste of money."
According to Gaudet, with Miller were councillors -- mostly his pals -- Pam McConnell, Paula Fletcher, Joe Pantalone, Howard Moscoe, Suzan Hall, Shelley Carroll, Joe Mihevc, Michael Thompson, Adam Giambrone, Norm Kelly, Adam Vaughan and Janet Davis, who were accompanied by staffers Kevin Sack, Don Wanagas, Philip Abrahams and Barbara Sullivan.
--“Joke’s on us as mayor, 16 pals go on junket,” Joe Warmington, Toronto Sun, August 27
Today, the junket was the topic of tightwad councillor Rob Ford’s regular weekly appearance on John Oakley’s AM640 morning show in Toronto. One of the junketeers, councillor Norm Kelly (pictured, on a different occasion), got the bright idea to call in to defend himself and his fellow troughers.
The interview quickly degenerated into a gentle but embarrassing interrogation, during which Kelly offered as a reason for the trip, participation in Quebec’s 400th anniversary celebrations.
Kelly could not answer what hotel he stayed at, or the details of the “terrific” conversations he had with people about the “challenges facing urban Canada.” Oh, he did remember one, about geothermal heating, with some guy from Northern Ontario whose name he could not remember, but he did have his business card and was planning to visit this fall (I’ll bet!).
When pressed for details on what city budget the expenses were paid out of, Kelly suggested archly that Oakley make a freedom of information request.
Kelly was so inept, he made Rob Ford – considered by some a doppelganger for late comedian Chris Farley in both appearance and demeanour – look like Johnnie Cochran.
Enjoy the audio replay here, click on “Rob Ford with Norm Kelly.” It’s really quite unbelievable.