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Remember how Steven Harper ripped into the Liberals "$11,000-per-hour Challenger jet flights" when he was leader of the opposition?

Well he's now trying to convince Canadian taxpayers it's not that expensive.

But in doing so, he's massively ripping off Canadian taxpayers.

(Sources CBC ; Toronto Star

First of all Steve-o is copying Dubya in twisting in small government meetings to pay for Conservative events

From the Star (all emphasis mine)

"Curiously, a flight by Harper to Charlottetown, and Moncton on April 28-29 for a party fundraiser was not reimbursed. Buckler [Sandra Buckler, Harper's director of communications] said the trip included a "roundtable meeting with Block Parents" and was therefore government business."

Nothing against the Block Parent association, but that is a pretty chintzy way of getting out of paying the costs of your flight - which was used for a longer period for party business than government business.

But additionally to that the PMO office or Conservative Party is not even paying the normal costs that are incurred by National Defense with maintaining and flying the Challenger jet.  They're underpaying - often by more than half.

From the CBC:

"...According to invoices obtained through the Access to Information Act, Harper and six staff members used a military jet to fly from Ottawa to Moncton, N.B., for a Conservative event on July 26.

The Conservative party paid the Defence Department $3,144.18 for the trip — half of what the flight was estimated to cost.

The Prime Minister's Office, in an e-mail to the Defence Department, explained that it settled on the $3,144.18 price tag after consulting with a travel agent and determining how much it would have cost the group to fly on a regular commercial airline.

Another invoice says that on Oct. 4, Harper, his son and five staff members flew to Toronto to watch a Maple Leafs hockey game and paid the commercial rate once again.

Only on a Feb. 10 flight from Ottawa to Halifax, for a retirement party after John Hamm stepped down as Nova Scotia premier, did the Conservative party pay for the full cost of the jet, an invoice shows. On that invoice, the military outlined the cost, stating the flight cost $2,139 per hour.

Military documents, obtained through Access to Information, suggest the cost of operating the jets range from $9,124 to $11,541 per hour

I realize that the PM has to fly with a non-commercial airline for security reasons (though I would take great joy if a security agent was to tell him he was on the no-fly list, or to watch him have to stand in line and take off his shoes.  Or what if he was renditioned off to Syria, or put in a Texas prison while transferring or waiting on a non-scheduled stop.)  I don't even mind if he watches the Maple Leafs games (although as a rep for Calgary SW, you would think that Flames games might be a bit more pudent.)

Dammit Steve-o you're not going to pay commercial rates for a private jet.  As an economist, I thought you could understand those numbers - you know that whole pricing thing?  And as the Conservative party, I thought you had respect for the the Conservatives are saying they don't think the ground and air crews are worth the rate that they charge?

As for the Conservative party - the jet's not a quit being so goddamned cheap and pay the DND the proper hourly rate.

The smug hypocrisy smells worse than a summer smog day in Toronto.

Originally posted to Thor Heyerdahl on Thu Mar 01, 2007 at 07:22 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (8+ / 0-)

    Cross posted at The Next Agenda

    Come on over, we'll have beaver tails (not what you may think it is), saskatoon pie and Canadian beer

    "now this is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." W. Churchill

    by Thor Heyerdahl on Thu Mar 01, 2007 at 07:22:07 AM PST

  •  Since the Conservative Party of Canada (6+ / 0-)

    is a wholly owned subsidiary of the oil industry the least they could do is pay for all the fuel that private jets suck up. The money just goes from one pocket to the other.

    We have only just begun and none too soon.

    by global citizen on Thu Mar 01, 2007 at 07:41:48 AM PST

    •  And herein, I think, is a larger point. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FrankFrink, global citizen, pale cold

      The conservative 'movement' is international, at least within the English speaking world.  This was brought home to me a couple of years back when the British Tories borrowed a campaign slogan from the Mike Harris provincial campaign of the early 90's in Ontario -- "The Common Sense Revolution."

      Progressive push back in one place is push back across the board.

      If '08 is succesful as it looks like it might be in the US, Harper will be an isolated rump.  So to speak.  

      If universal, single-payer health care comes in for the US, it will have very good effects for Canada's system, for instance.  If unionisation legislation comes in for the US, it will have a knock-on effect, as will withdrawal from Iraq, and, inevitably, Afghanistan.  The same holds for serious efforts to scale down petroleum consumption, modify the free-trade dogma, etc, etc, etc.

      Allowing for specifics, of course, we all be in this together.

  •  Recall the convention "donations"?? (4+ / 0-)

    This is another a pretty blatant example of their self importance.

    Conservatives admit to undisclosed donations

    Do as we say, not as we do, and we will blame the Liberals for it anyway.


    "It's not the end of the world, but you can see it from there."-Pierre Elliot Trudeau

    by pale cold on Thu Mar 01, 2007 at 07:57:03 AM PST

  •  That's what you get (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FrankFrink, oxon

    for misspelling "defense" and mispronouncing "Z". :-D

    •  Actually, it's 'zed' in the entire (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FrankFrink, pale cold

      English speaking world, apart from the US, where the pronunciation was changed to rhyme with 'C' in the alphabet song.  Oddly enough, in spite of this simplification to further the greater cause of semi-literacy, as well as dropping letters to change spellings (labour to labor), we are still saddled with an illiterate president.  Go figure.  There's no defence/defense for that.

  •  Has anyone taken this up in the House? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FrankFrink, pale cold, CanadianBill

    Time for Jack to start slamming.

    If the cost of flying goes up, conservative press releases will go down, given that all government announcements happen out of town to avoid the Ottawa press corps.  Heh, heh, heh.

  •  And we also have (0+ / 0-)

    the considerably lower-flying but no less expensive Heritage Minister Bev Oda's excellent limousine adventures.

    Oda's `Juno joyride' in limo costs $5,475

    Heritage Minister Bev Oda was accused yesterday of taking Canadian taxpayers for a ride at the Juno awards last year in Halifax, where she racked up almost $5,500 in limousine expenses in four days.


    Documents obtained by the Liberals through Access to Information showed Oda eschewed a minivan she had rented when she arrived in Halifax and chose instead to travel by limousine.

    "The minister sent back a minivan she rented on March 31 and ordered two different limos (the same day) to chauffeur her to meetings when the Junos didn't happen until two days later," Savage said.


    Oda could have walked to many of the events she went to, Savage said later.

    "In fact, the hotel (where she stayed) is one-tenth of a kilometre from the Metro Centre where the (Juno) event took place, plus there is an underground tunnel," he told the Star.

    The Grasshopper Lies Heavy

    by FrankFrink on Thu Mar 01, 2007 at 10:39:53 AM PST

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