Metro Vancouver politicians junket to Sweden to be “trained” in incineration
Vancouver councillor Heather Deal will be one of four Metro Vancouver politicians sent to Sweden next month to receive training in garbage incineration. This despite the fact that her Vision Vancouver party took a position opposed to waste incineration in the November civic election.
Joining Deal will be West Vancouver mayor Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, Delta councillor Scott Hamilton, and Surrey councillor Linda Hepner, along with 12 other Canadian politicians, presumably from communities like Durham, Ontario, where the incinerator industry is trying to drum up business.
The proposal to send Metro politicians on this junket was introduced surreptitiously. It did not appear on the publicly posted agenda of the meeting where it was approved. It was slipped in as an “on-table” item and decided on the spot, without any public discussion.
The committee minutes published a month later (buried in the agenda package for the April committee meeting) suggest that some politicians had reservations about this junket. The minutes record that there was discussion of whether “the benefits of this intensive training is worth the cost”.
Cost? There is no mention in the minutes of how much taxpayers will pay for this trip. It is sure to be higher than the $1,500 approved a year ago by the Waste Management Committee for Surrey councillor Marvin Hunt to go to an incinerator open house in Paris last summer.
Benefits? Is it really the politicians’ job to become “trained” in waste technologies? According to the Recycling Council of B.C.:
Joe Trasolini (Port Moody) said:
We are poised to spend billions of dollars. Let us be informed.
Trasolini got his intensive training on a junket to Sweden several years ago with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. He’s been “pushing” (his word) garbage incineration ever since.
This is a junket, plain and simple. And one intended to push a waste incineration agenda.
If we’re going to send politicians on junkets, why not at least send them to Italy to learn from researcher Enzo Favoino how compost can turn agricultural soils into a carbon sink.
Waste incineration, on the other hand, encourages emission of GHGs, first to produce useless throw-away products and then to pump them up into the sky—at taxpayer expense.
Helen Spiegelman is a Vancouver-based environmentalist and blog coordinator. Read more at Zero Waste.