Once again the City of Delta Mayor (and former City Manager) George Harvie and chosen staff are off to Ottawa on yet another annual junket to plead for several things including expediting the Massey Bridge decision. You would think taking a $40,000 Delta taxpayer-funded trip to Ottawa in June 2018 with a side trip to Quebec would have sufficed. No surprise that the council report for the 2019 Ottawa field trip is not an original, but is a cut and paste of exactly the same language and rationale from the 2018 Council report for that Ottawa trip, undertaken a mere seven months ago.
The Ottawa meetings are being arranged by Mayor Harvie’s friend Param Grewal who ran unsuccessfully for a Delta city council position on the same slate as Mayor George Harvie. Mayor Harvie then hired Mr. Grewal as the “Director of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs” on a six figure salary with no public posting of the position. Mr. Harvie said as Mayor it was his decision who to hire and no process was needed. Mr. Grewal is the meeting organizer for the Delta contingent to Ottawa.
You can take a look at the Council minute here about the four-day trip that will cost tax payers $20,000 and will send the Mayor and four staff to Ottawa to deal with stuff that really could be dealt provincially and locally by the Province or local MP.
You also lose a day travelling to Ottawa, leaving at 8:00 a.m. and arriving late in the afternoon. But Delta’s report says a trip to Ottawa was needed to meet with “key federal government officials” to talk about the smell from cannabis growing, and how to regulate cannabis edibles. They have thrown in cashless casinos, rebuilding dikes, funding for youth programs, and a generic item calling for support of First Nations issues, with no description of what that could be, and no rationale about why this is not being done locally.
Nestled in that hodge podge of the Ottawa “to do” list is Delta’s pet project, the continuing call for an overbuilt multi-billion dollar bridge at the site of the Massey Tunnel. It is clear that this discussion should be directed at the Mayors’ Council of Metro Vancouver, but then again it does pad up what Delta officials can do on their four-day field trip to Ottawa.
Here is the best part of the report to Council asking for funding approval. It is a direct copying from their 2018 council report for that Ottawa trip~”It has become apparent from previous trips that staff and politicians in Ottawa are often unaware of issues in British Columbia and that face-to-face meetings are an effective way to showcase local issues and concerns.”
Well that is what the local Member of Parliament, the very capable cabinet minister Carla Qualtrough is doing. But of course Minister Qualtrough may not be representing a purely Delta centric view of issues, which often excludes what the region has voted on and is in support for.
As the council report reminded the junket approving council “Previous delegations to Ottawa have been very successful in raising the profile of issues impacting Delta, and generating interest inside federal offices where the decision-making and financial prioritizing takes place.”
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