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.
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 military...so 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 toy...so 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.