'Inappropriate' free Olympic tickets turned down
Two Vancouver city councillors say it was a mistake for the city to spend $377,000 on Olympic event tickets at a time when workers are being laid off, programs cut and taxes raised due to a budget deficit.
Councillor David Cadman says that although he could get free tickets to the Games, he would not accept any.
"To … take money for attending events we don't have to be officially at, but which is simply a perk of position, I don't think is appropriate," Cadman told CBC News Tuesday.
Councillor Ellen Woodsworth was taking the same position on the free ticket issue, Cadman said.
Select city officials — both politicians and staff — will have access to tickets for events such as the opening and closing ceremonies, curling events and the highly coveted men's gold medal hockey game, a city spokesperson confirmed to CBC News Tuesday.
158 jobs cut
Opening ceremonies tickets in the seats made available to the city cost about $3,700 each, Cadman said.
The city of Vancouver announced in December an increase in residential taxes of 2.26 per cent and blamed the rise on budget shortfalls.
The city also cut 158 jobs and opted not to fund either the Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park or the children's farmyard in Stanley Park.
"I basically asked myself if I was offered those tickets was I prepared to spend that money myself, and when the answer was no, then I said then I can't possibly ask the taxpayer," said Cadman.
City councillor Geoff Meggs said he would take advantage of the free tickets because he would be representing the city at the Games.
"I think its part of our duty," said Meggs.