Mayor Dianne Watts

Watts in Israel on trade mission

Surrey mayor under fire for spending taxpayers' money on a trip that may or may not pay significant dividends

Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts is in Israel, drumming up partnerships with medical technology firms.

The mayor is working toward turning the city into the country’s “innovation gateway” and hopes partnerships with Israel can help get Surrey there.

But not everyone is enthused with Watts jetting off to Israel on the taxpayers’ dime.

Jordan Bateman, B.C. director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, said that often prime ministers and premiers go on these sorts of business missions, but municipal politicians don’t have the same clout as their senior counterparts.

“To me, the question always comes back to what’s the business plan behind this,” Bateman said. “We haven’t seen one. And taxpayers are sending the mayor to Israel at a time when we’re contemplating a tax increase, among other issues.”

Bateman, a former councillor in Langley, also said he’s never seen this type of spending taking place without the nod from council.

“This surprised me… I always thought you couldn’t spend money unless you had a motion of council.”

It was instead approved by Surrey’s Investment and Innovation Committee on Dec. 2.

Watts said in a release the trip is a worthwhile venture.

“Israel is known as the world’s global ‘start-up nation’,” she said. “Surrey is looking to tap into Israel’s pioneering cutting edge medical, entrepreneurial and scientific innovation.”

She is joined by businesses from the health sector and universities to strengthen Innovation Boulevard – in and around Surrey Memorial Hospital, SFU and City Centre.

Watts said Surrey will partner with Israel Brain Technologies, Israel’s most prestigious neuro-technology consortium created by Israel’s President Shimon Peres.

@diakiw

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Two-vehicle crash leads to argument in South Surrey

Police investigating after one driver left the scene

Fire truck, police car hit in chain of crashes on Hwy. 99 in South Surrey

‘People weren’t paying attention,’ says Surrey assistant fire chief

Greedy family’s maid overcomes them all in Surrey Little Theatre’s latest play

‘The Late Christopher Bean’ is staged at Clayton-area theatre for a month starting Jan. 23

Final Four set at Surrey RCMP Classic, where a new champ will be crowned

Guildford Park beats Semiahmoo, ending Totems’ three-year championship run

City of Surrey spends $1.2M on winter maintenance – so far

Total budget of $3.7M; 7,000 tonnes of salt used

Kids across Canada more at risk of hospitalization from flu this season: doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam said influenza B does not usually peak until February or later

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Good Samaritan pays part of rent for B.C. woman facing eviction in can-collecting dispute

Zora Hlevnjak, 76, supplements her pension by collecting cans and receiving public donations

Should winter tires be mandatory in the Lower Mainland?

ICBC dial-a-claims go up as winter storm takes toll

Canada Post driver in hospital after ice smashes windshield at Massey Tunnel

Incident happened on Richmond side of the Massey Tunnel

Abbotsford bank ATM robbery thwarted by woman standing her ground

Police arrest alleged known robber running down South Fraser wearing balaclava

Kelowna’s ‘Baby Mary’ finds biological parents after more than 30 years

Geneologist and DNA test helped her connect with her biological parents

Kelowna hotel to award couples for baby-making with Nooner deal

The deal includes a free stay every Valentine’s Day for the next 18 years

Dad of missing Abbotsford woman charged after allegedly exposing himself in park

Barry Shpeley charged with sexual assault and assault

Most Read

l -->