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O-Village takes Teddy award for wasteful spending

Vancouver is the honorary recipient of this year's municipal Teddy Waste Award for its handling of the Olympic Village project.

The Canadian Taxpayers Association handed out the spoof award this morning in a ceremony on Parliament Hill. The presentation honours "the best of the worst of government spending," said Kevin Gaudet, the organization's federal director.

The Olympic Village project beat out Toronto's nearly $1 million rainwater toilet and a $234,000 dollhouse village purchased by the City of Oshawa to become this year’s municipal award winner.

Vancouver's city council took on millions of dollars of debt when it took over financial control of the beleaguered project. But according to Gaudet, the athlete's village is just one example of government misspending in preparation for the Games.

"There are just so many examples of Olympic waste," he said, citing skyrocketing costs for security and the Vancouver Convention Centre.

"At what point as a society do we spend billions of dollars to feel good? Because that is what the Games do," he said. "At what point do you say this is an extravagance that we can’t afford?"

This morning's ceremony was the 11th installment of the annual awards, which are based on nominations from the public and then selected by CTF's staff and board. The tongue-in-cheek awards are named after former public servant Ted Weatherill, who was fired from the Canadian Labour Relations Board for lavish spending of taxpayer dollars.

Other winners this year included the Canadian Council for the Arts in the federal category for its $40,000 giant inflatable banana project in Texas. The lifetime achievement award was given to the Big Three auto companies for receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in government grants and loans while shedding thousands of jobs.

Garrett Zehr reports for The Hook

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