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Commentary: CRA wins award after giving $32B to dead people

Canadian Taxpayers Federation presents Teddy Awards for the worst of government waste.
The Teddy is a pig-shaped trophy the CTF annually awards to governments’ worst waste offenders.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation presented its 25th annual Teddy Waste Awards to the governor general for racking up sky-high bills for airplane food; the Quebec government’s app that made people line up for hours; and, a Charlottetown councillor who built her driveway around a power pole and charged taxpayers for moving it.

“Gov. Gen. Mary Simon’s bill for airplane food on one trip was almost double the prime minister’s grocery bill for the whole year and, for that amazing accomplishment, she’s winning a Teddy Award,” said Franco Terrazzano, Federal Director of the CTF.

“Quebec is winning a Teddy award for hiring 150 bureaucrats to clean up the mess after launching a glitchy app for licence renewals that was supposed to reduce the number of bureaucrats required.

“Charlottetown Coun. Alanna Jankov built her driveway around a telephone pole then billed taxpayers to remove the pole. If Jankov didn’t notice the telephone pole before building the driveway, then maybe driving isn’t for her.

“The Canada Revenue Agency wins the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award after it gave hundreds of teenagers, inmates and dead people pandemic subsidies. After watching billions go out the door, the CRA announced it won’t bother trying to get all the money back.”

The Teddy, a pig-shaped trophy the CTF annually awards to governments’ worst waste offenders, is named after Ted Weatherill, a former federal appointee who was fired in 1999 for submitting a raft of dubious expense claims, including a $700 lunch for two.

This year’s winners include:

  • Municipal Teddy Winner: Charlottetown Coun. Alanna Jankov

Jankov built her driveway around a telephone pole that had been there for years. Then she stuck taxpayers with the $4,600 tab to remove the pole from her newly built driveway.

  • Provincial Teddy Winner: Société de l’Assurance Automobile du Québec

The SAAQ launched an online software to reduce the number of bureaucrats and make it easier for drivers to renew their license. The software created so many problems the government had to hire an extra 150 bureaucrats to clean up the mess and hundreds of drivers had to wait in line for hours to renew their licences. The app cost taxpayers $458 million.

  • Federal Teddy Winner: Gov.Gen. Mary Simon

Simon and her 29-person entourage spent nearly six-figures on fancy airplane food during their week-long trip to the Middle East. They feasted on beef Wellington, carpaccio, buttery chicken tikka masala and stuffed pork tenderloin. That’s not exactly “like airline meals” that most Canadians are accustomed to, as Simon claimed.

  • Lifetime Teddy Winner: The Canada Revenue Agency

What do inmates, dead people and teenagers all have in common? They received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. The feds handed out about $32 billion in ineligible or suspicious COVID-19 subsidies. Here’s the strangest part: If you owe the CRA a toonie, they’ll send the hounds after you. But the billions of dollars sent out the door to ineligible recipients? Suddenly the CRA’s too busy to recover the money.

You can find the backgrounder on all the 2022 Teddy Award nominees and winners HERE.