Sorry, but the government’s defence of the defence minister just does not quite add up. Their statement justifying the minister’s $120,000 afternoon last July boils down to:
"The minister of national defence paid for air travel to and from his personal vacation. Government aircraft were used only when called away on government business."
So here is how the timing stacks up … these clips from the CBC Website … take a look yourself.
He is picked up at Burnt Rattle to avoid a 2 hour drive to Gander.
He then flies to London for “an event.” (Note: was his attendance critical enough to be worth 120 grand of taxpayer sweat, blood and tears? It’s not like the economy is roaring …)
He attends the event and that same afternoon flies to Halifax.
We’re at 116000 bucks by this point, but that is the base cost without any of the extras that would have been involved … call it an even 120 grand.
He makes his way to Pictou, N.S. (how he got from Halifax to Pictou is never mentioned … one wonders.)
He then successfully defends his lobster banding championship, proving that Canada is safe from lobster attack since the political head of our armed forces can personally defend the country from that threat.
But here’s the overall route …
All in one day.
All we see so far is the the email based machinations that got him the pickup to save the drive. The rest was already public record. He was “called away” for government business, but was not “put back” where he came from, which implies pretty strongly that he was going to Pictou that day anyway. (Obviously, since he had his banding championship on the line.)
A suspicious mind would wonder if there were conversations prior to the emails that have surfaced putting together a master plan to use taxpayer money to get him from a tiny village in Newfoundland to a small town in Nova Scotia while giving the appearance of performing his government duties for an hour or so. He got to fly by private jet and helicopter while effectively on vacation. Clever.
Just sayin’ …
By the way … just so I am clear. I love Halifax and Nova Scotia. Amazing people and the traditional lobster boil is an incredible experience. I was blessed to spend over 4 months basically living and working in Halifax and Dartmouth while on contract way back in the early 80s and I have nothing but respect for that province. So don’t take this in any way as ridiculing the province, their lobster festivals or anything else. This post is about government spending and possible duplicity. Pure and simple.