Every year, various award shows commend people on their accomplishments. The Oscars, the Grammys, and the NHL Awards Show are just a few of such events. However, the annual Teddy Awards which celebrated their 16th anniversary this past week are often forgotten as a tool for recognizing accomplishment. The Teddy Awards reward Canadian politicians and organizations for their work, and titles are determined by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. Among this year’s most applauded are the Senate, the board of Employment and Social Development of Canada, and Vancouver’s Translink Corporation. In case you haven’t already noticed, the awards are handed out to the absolute worst performers, or rather the best performers in the field of wasting the taxpayers’ money.
Much like the minds of the winners, the awards are handed out in a simple format. There are federal, provincial, and local winners, as well as an award for a lifetime achievement of incompetence. Here is a breakdown of our losers.
Federal Failure: Employment and Social Development Canada
In 2013, the board of Employment and Social Development of Canada promised a $15,000 grant for companies so that they could give their employees the proper training to perform their jobs at a high level. Two and a half million dollars were invested in advertising this great action plan, yet, as we now enter March of 2014, no job grant exists. The advertisement campaign aired throughout the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs and was shown twice per hockey game. It struck hope into Canadian viewers that would never be met. The Action Plan failed because many of the provinces did not agree on the amount of money they would have to contribute to the program, and some even considered opting-out. Congratulations to Employment and Social Development Canada, this year’s Teddy Award winner for federal failure.
Provincial Paucity: Former Toronto Pan-Am Games CEO Ian Troop
The Pan-Am Games, an event not unlike the Summer Olympics, occurs every four years, and features a variety of competitions in which athletes from the Americas compete. The next Pan-Am Games, set to take place in Toronto during the summer of 2015, is already $1.1 billion over budget at a total of $2.5 billion while Troop charged personal expenses to the house’s Visa card. In the past year, he expensed a variety of items to the Pan-Am Games, including $0.91 in change for a parking meter, multiple dinners running around $100, and a party in Mexico whose tab ran a clean $8,500. Thank goodness he didn’t need to reach into his own pocket for these essential expenses, which come in excess of Troop’s already healthy $550,000 salary. One thing is for sure, give Ian Troop $8,500 for a blowout party in Mexico and invite fellow Ontario homeboy Rob Ford, and you’re in for an evening with some real Pan-azz.
Local Lack of Success: Vancouver’s Translink Company
Vancouver’s Translink Company spent a whopping $4.5 million on a parking lot that charges a $2 toll, which nobody uses. The parking lot, located at the South-Surrey Park & Ride is mostly empty because people are unhappy with now having to pay $2 on a lot that used to be free. Instead, commuters are opting to park on the streets for free, leaving few or no spots for the people who actually live in the area. To begin with, it seems a little insane that the Translink company managed to spend $4.5 million on a parking lot that was already there. CBC managed to track down one user of the lot, who said the only reason he uses it is because he’s absolutely sure his car “will never get scratched.” Can you smell that Translink? It smells like wasted money and fresh bacon.
Lifetime Losers: Senate
The Senate came away with this year’s biggest hardware: the lifetime achievement for wasters of the taxpayer’s hard earned money. Over this past year (and others for that matter), the Senate has been nothing short of a big joke. With expense scandals being investigated, Senators doing jail time for fraud, and others under police investigation, the Canadian Senate takes the cake as the least successful organization of individuals in the entire country. As taxpayers shell out dollars to pay the 105 senators, who make a base salary of $133,000, it would be expected that the Senate could be at least slightly effective, but, at this point, many are calling for its abolition. Bravo Senate, you have made our Teddy decision an easy one.
A few other notable mentions because everyone deserves a little recognition:
The Canadian National Defense, who spent $14,000 running a poll about Canadians’ belief in the powers of superheroes, for real. The spokesman for National Defense, Noel Paine, cited a $14,000 payment to the University of Toronto for collecting the data needed for the survey. One such question asked Canadians to rate whether or not they agree with the statement “all mental beings can perceive the world through their sensors”, the response of which was allegedly vital to Canadian activities in Kandhar(?).
A second mention for her efforts goes to Brampton Mayor Susan Fennel, who, despite having the highest salary amongst Canadian mayors at $213,000, used taxpayer money for customized barbeque aprons valued at $2,000, and $1,300 on Mandarin lessons. For a Mayor. Who lives in Brampton. In Ontario. In Canada. Nice. Get your shit together, Susan.
And just because Quebec was feeling left out (as Quebec often does), Hydro Quebec received a runner-up for paying unionized workers $1.92 million dollars to do nothing, while German workers did the actual job. Glad the Charbonneau Commission has proved as paradigm-shifting as we always believed it to be.
Thanks Teddy Awards, for giving utter failure the national recognition that it deserves.
All photos courtesy of the 16th annual Teddy Awards.