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MacKay took military jet to lobster fest

Discussion in 'Politics' started by alexd, Sep 23, 2011.

  1. alexd

    alexd Administrator Staff Member

    MacKay took military jet to lobster fest
    Defence minister's office says trip to home riding was government business
    CBC News

    Defence Minister Peter MacKay, under fire for flying in a military helicopter while on vacation in Newfoundland, also took a military Challenger business jet to reach his Nova Scotia riding for a lobster dinner, documents show.

    The occasion that prompted use of the government jet was the 76th annual Pictou Lobster Carnival in July 2010.

    The trip happened the day after a military search and rescue helicopter based in Gander, N.L., picked up MacKay from a fishing holiday on the Gander River.

    Under questioning in the Commons on Thursday, MacKay defended arranging for the Cormorant helicopter, which he said was not for personal use but for work. He wanted to participate in a search and rescue demonstration with 103 Squadron at Gander and cut short his salmon fishing trip to do so.

    “I think as minister of national defence, I should familiarize myself at every opportunity with those who perform these daily heroics," he said.

    It costs about $32,000 an hour to fly a Cormorant.

    "We're talking here about a minister who obviously sees the military assets as a means of convenience for his personal or political activities, and that’s wrong.”
    — Jack Harris, NDP defence critic
    After the demonstration, the rescue chopper took the minister to the Gander airport, where a Challenger jet was waiting to whisk him off to London, Ont., for an announcement.

    Then MacKay got back on the Challenger and flew to Halifax, so he could attend the lobster carnival in his home riding, where he successfully defended his title as lobster banding champion.

    Rules say the government's Bombardier Challengers can only be used if a trip is for official business. MacKay’s office says the lobster carnival fit this requirement, and that the trip to Pictou was government business.

    But NDP defence critic Jack Harris doesn’t believe it.

    "We're talking here about a minister who obviously sees the military assets as a means of convenience for his personal or political activities, and that’s wrong,” Harris said.

    More critics in N.L.
    On Thursday, more New Democrats from Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as the provincial Fisheries Union boss, spoke out against MacKay's use of the Cormorant.

    St. John's area MP Ryan Cleary said he had asked for a tour of the rescue squadron in Gander because he was interested in better response times, but National Defence turned him down, saying a visit would interfere with operations.

    The minister’s Cormorant trip offended Fisheries Union president Earle McCurdy, who has spoken about the need to improve search and rescue response times and who also opposes the closure of the St. John’s Rescue Centre.

    “The attitude that they can have these facilities at their disposal like that, and at the same time tell people who make their living from a very dangerous job at sea that we're cutting down on the rescue services that are available to you — that's pretty hard to choke down.”

    Provincial NDP Leader Lorraine Michael was shocked by what she considers MacKay’s lack of respect for the taxpayers' money.

    “I mean where are their heads?” Michael asked. “Who does he think he is, you know? 'I'm a minister of the Crown, so I have the right to do this?’ No, as a matter of fact, as a minister you have a responsibility to spend the public monies wisely."

    Officials' Challenger use scrutinized

    Federal officials' use of government-owned Challenger jets has come under scrutiny. CBC NewsAfter the Nova Scotia lobster carnival, MacKay flew to Calgary to spend two days at the Stampede. This time, however, he flew on a commercial airline, at a cost of a little under $1,600 — a far cry from the roughly $25,000 spent on the Challenger the day before.

    Other flights of the federal government have also come under scrutiny this week. According to documents obtained by CBC News, a majority of flights on government-owned Challenger jets during June were taken by defence officials who could have used commercial aircraft.

    The six Challenger jets logged 165 hours in June at a cost to taxpayers of almost $2 million, according to flight logs obtained by CBC News.

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Gov. Gen. David Johnston are required to travel on the jets for security reasons. But other government officials, who do not need the extra security, took 60 per cent of the flights, according to flight logs.

    MacKay took military jet to lobster fest - Politics - CBC News
  2. Hi i'm God

    Hi i'm God TRIBE Member

    He keeps us safe from the brown people so it's ok.
  3. acheron

    acheron TRIBE Member

    They should be using the jets more - they use them so sparingly the crews have to run them around just to maintain their flight ratings.
  4. Hi i'm God

    Hi i'm God TRIBE Member

    Yeah those million dollar simulators are just some left wing waste of money.
  5. acheron

    acheron TRIBE Member

    simulator time does not equal up-in-the-air time.
  6. Hi i'm God

    Hi i'm God TRIBE Member

    Seems to work fine for Space shuttle pilot's. Or do they get picked up close to home by Discovery for a quick nasa related press conference?
  7. acheron

    acheron TRIBE Member

    To launch a shuttle costs a billion dollars (more now given they're out of service lol)
  8. Hi i'm God

    Hi i'm God TRIBE Member

    and to fly some douchebags to hockey games and family vacations and lobsterfests costs us millions not really any difference there percap.

    If the guys need in air training offer the seats to normal canadians at a fraction of a cost and play shuttle bus.
  9. JamesM

    JamesM TRIBE Member

    don't forget.. Harper is on a mission to make them pay the costs back.. at regular prices of which they would pay flying Air Canada. So I guess McKay's in the bag for a few grand.
  10. Hi i'm God

    Hi i'm God TRIBE Member


    Is Harper going to pay for the hockey trips he takes? wasnt there one to the sates during the election.
  11. JamesM

    JamesM TRIBE Member

    that's what I'm talking about.. harper did pay back the $1000 to the government at regular air fare costs.. then tried to turn it into a photo op-feel good story after the backlash.

    what a chap.. He did the same thing recently with that general dude who took the challenger to his vacay drop spot on some island. $1000 or so..

    Then McKay.. I'm gonna guess 1 grand...

    At least they're trying! If my memory serves me correctly Harper in opposition was vehemently against using the challenger in any situation, since it cost so much.

    The general's story as told by calgary herald.

    haha. sounds like a bunch of wankers scrambling to come up with some justification. typical.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2011
  12. Hi i'm God

    Hi i'm God TRIBE Member

    Class warfare!
  13. Subsonic Chronic

    Subsonic Chronic TRIBE Member

    LOL. You can tell which media outlets are nothing more than conservative mouthpieces when they make justifications like these. Even if the NDP MP were to use these 64 hypothetical flights, we're looking at a cost of roughly $64,000 if we're highballing at $1000/flight (the cost that Harper and other Conservatives use as the commercial equivalent when they fly private military jets), which obviously pales in comparison to the over $1 million it costs for a few flights on the Challenger.

    At that rate, Harris would have to use all his 64 flights per year for 15 straight years in order to match the tab that Natynczyk built up with far fewer flights in just 3 years.

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