Junket needs an explanation

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities Convention took place in Halifax this year from June 3 to 6.

The FCM website describes the conference as being “designed for municipal political leaders and senior staff to engage in professional development.”

The conference deals with municipal issues that closely parallel two other provincial conferences that are usually well attended by regional district directors.

The SILGA (Southern Interior Local Government Association) conference took place in Meritt between May 4-6 this year. The conference deals with issues of common importance to communities and local governments in the southern interior.

Regional directors also had the opportunity to attend the UBCM conference in Whistler in early September last year.

These local conferences provide opportunities for local politicians to liase, lobby, learn and interact with other municipal, and higher forms of government. They are generally well attended by our local regional officials.

That’s why we are puzzled this week by the revelation that Area “G” Director Elef Christensen hopped on a jet plane to Halifax late last week to attend the FCM.

The first day of the conference is for registration, with the days following containing such Area “G” specific topics as:

Corporate Sponsorship – Is it really for you?

Or how about “How to use social media in your municipality.”

Or, better yet, “Let’s make a deal – partnering with the private sector in brownfield development.”

A look at internet prices tells us that transportation costs to this conference range from $1,100 to $4,082, not including ground transportation. Hotel costs are most likely in the $100-$150 range (per night), not to mention per diems and convention fees ($829 – $989).

After noting that no other Lower Similkameen politician felt that he or she could justify the cost of such a junket, (which we are conservatively estimating at $3,000 plus), we are very anxious to ask Mr. Christensen the question: What did you see in the conference that could possibly benefit Area “G” to justify such expense?


It’s a question that we are sure many of Area “G”s taxpayers will have as well.