Castlegar’s mayor has submitted a report on how he spent his time at the recent Canadian Federation of Municipalities meeting in Quebec City.
It shows Bruno Tassone went on one study tour and two companion tours, meant for delegate’s spouses, during the three-day event. While he took part in the Federation’s elections, and attended the trade show, he attended no workshops and skipped all but one of the federal party leader’s speeches to delegates.
Tassone’s delegate report is included in the agenda for the next Regional District of Central Kootenay meeting, June 20.
The two-page submission came after Tassone said he wouldn’t release his itinerary to the media, after Castlegar News asked him and other councillors about the trip.
Tassone insisted he went as a delegate representing the regional district, who paid his way, and so would report through that body.
According to his report to the RDCK, Tassone spent the Thursday registering, getting orientation and attending a meeting of B.C. delegates.
He spent Friday morning at the conference listening to keynote speaker Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (three other federal leaders also addressed the delegates, but Tassone does not indicate he stayed for those).
He then attended a 2.5-hour study tour put on by the FCM, learning about bio-methanation, an energy recovery system used by Quebec City. Two tours of the system were offered by the FCM that day, though Tassone doesn’t say if he attended the morning or afternoon tour.
Afterwards, he says he ‘briefly’ attended the trade show put on at the conference.
Tassone doesn’t indicate that he attended any of the other 28 workshops, study sessions, panels or study tours scheduled on the Friday, when there was more than 12 hours of programming.
On Saturday, Tassone says he attended the trade show “in depth”, then went on another companion tour, this time of the St. Lawrence River.
“Discussed history of St. Lawrence River,” his report states. “Some hi-lites, coast guard ice cutter, Davies ship yard, Montmorency Falls which has the first electrical generating plant for the City of Quebec. Saw the 2nd largest grain terminal in Canada. Viewed the cruise ship dock area and learned they have about 130 cruise ships a season and their tourism challenges.”
Meanwhile, other FCM delegates were attending more than 30 workshops, talks, demonstrations, and political meetings between 7:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.
On the Sunday, Tassone reports having breakfast with the mayor of Qualicum Beach and RDCK directors Walter Popoff and Garry Jackman. He then went to the FCM’s annual general meeting and elections, went on another companion tour, and attended the closing ceremonies.
In all, Tassone went to one study tour, one speaker, the FCM elections, and the opening and closing ceremonies.
The four Castlegar councillors who submitted their itineraries to Castlegar News said they attended 6-8 workshops each, including forums and study tours; all listened to the speeches by all the federal party leaders, as well as attending the trade show, and participating in several sessions of the business of the Federation’s AGM.
The mayor’s report, and the itinerary of Councillor Cherryl MacLeod, who also attended the conference, has at least one Castlegar councillor calling for change.
“As a taxpayer in both the RDCK and City of Castlegar, I respectfully ask both these members of council be forthright and explain to the public why our tax dollars were spent to send them to a conference they essentially skipped,” Councillor Florio Vasilakakis posted to Facebook. “Even though Mayor Tassone stated otherwise, he is accountable to the Castlegar taxpayer as he represents our interests at the Regional district table. The Regional District is funded in part by the taxpaying citizens of Castlegar. My question is a fair one.”
(The News has submitted a list of questions to MacLeod about her trip, but has not received a response yet. The News cannot confirm her activities there.)