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ABC Vancouver councillor withdraws request for $3,650 trip to Junos in Halifax

Mayor Ken Sim, political staffer still scheduled to attend Canada's annual music awards.
ABC Vancouver Coun. Mike Klassen in the council chamber Tuesday at city hall.

ABC Vancouver city councillor Mike Klassen will not attend the Juno Awards in Halifax next month with Mayor Ken Sim.

Klassen was scheduled to make a request at Tuesday’s council meeting for taxpayers to pay for a $3,650 trip to Nova Scotia’s capital city, host of this year’s annual Canadian music awards.

But the council agenda indicated Klassen had withdrawn his request.

Klassen, who was present in the council chamber, did not explain why he was no longer seeking the funds.

Klassen unavailable for comment

The estimated $3,650 tab was to cover return airfare ($1,855), accommodations ($895), ground transportation ($300), Juno tickets ($300) and a $300 per diem for his stay from March 21 to 25.

After the morning session of Tuesday’s meeting, Glacier Media approached Klassen for an explanation, but he said he needed to go to a meeting, then quickly left the chamber.

The mayor’s office later confirmed that Klassen will not attend the Junos, but didn’t explain the reason for the councillor withdrawing the request.

When Glacier Media and other news outlets reported last week that Klassen wanted to attend the Junos, he was criticized by OneCity Coun. Christine Boyle, who called the request “shockingly out of touch, given the financial pressures that the city and our residents are under.”

Klassen also faced criticism from citizens on various social media platforms.

Glacier Media left text, phone and email messages with Klassen last week to explain his rationale for the request, but he never replied.

Vancouver hosted Junos four times

Meanwhile, Sim and his research and communications coordinator — Luhan Yao — remain scheduled to attend the awards. The mayor’s office said Sim was formally invited to attend the Junos and his cost is estimated at $3,550.37.

“Please note that a cost estimate for Luhan is not available yet as she has only been slated to attend as of this week,” said a statement from the mayor’s office Feb. 23. “The Junos serve as an opportunity to highlight Canadian music and culture.”

The mayor’s office said the trip “serves as an incredible opportunity for Vancouver to gain valuable insights into organizing next year’s event.” Vancouver, which has hosted the Junos four times, will host the awards for a fifth time in March 2025.

Funding for Sim and Yao is expected to come from the mayor’s office budget, which is more than $1.4 million this year, the majority of it used to pay for staff salaries.

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