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Vancouver council expenses: Mandarin lessons, trips to Iqaluit and more shockers

March 31st, 2011 · 36 Comments

Investigative reporting it ain’t, but we in the paid media like to alert you tax-paying peons to the report on council expenses every year so that you can be duly outraged that someone somewhere in government  is spending money.

Reporting for duty on this story, here is the link to this year’s Vancouver council expenses report. The highlights:

Mayor Gregor spent $2,258 on Mandarin lessons before he went to China in September. It’s $2,258 more than previous mayor Sam Sullivan paid to learn Chinese, as far as I know. Sam taught himself all of his languages. But the current mayor’s lessons lessons paid off. He spoke some Mandarin at council recently and I, a temporary resident of China for three months at one time, was impressed with his accent;

*** CORRECTION. I’ve now been told that actually Sam Sullivan spent $3,125 on his Chinese lessons. No bills forwarded to me yet for Punjabi, Tagalog or Italian.

The mayor also got a $7,000 transportation allowance — a surprise to those who thought he’d only need about $150 a year for spare pedals on his bike. Apparently he does get in a car from time to time. The last mayor to get a travel allowance was Philip Owen. Both Larry Campbell and Sam Sullivan used vehicles supplied by the city; Sullivan’s van had quite an expensive upgrade to make it easier for him to get in and out.

Tim Stevenson got the most in travel money — about $13,000

Raymond Louie got the next most, around $10,000, with more than $4,000 for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities trip to Iqaluit

David Cadman, a favoured punching bag for various critics, spent only $484.

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