Harper’s jet repainted for $50,000 by taxpayer dime

Julian Wolfe
June 7th, 2013

Prime Minister Stephen Harper wasted $50,000 on the look of his personal government plane with the design revealed on February 24 being applied to the jet. NDP leader Thomas Mulcair accused Harper of blurring the lines between government and party money as the plane clearly didn’t need a paint job and is themed after the Conservatives’ three main colours.

To the left is how the plane looked before the paint job – ready to fly and get the job done. Now, Harper’s jet is flashy and takes after the colour scheme of the Conservative Party. This paint job wasn’t paid for by the Conservative Party, however, it was paid for by taxpayers in a time when Harper was preaching fiscal restraint. Rather than cut $50,000 elsewhere, why not simply not get this paint job?

The government defends its move saying the paint job happened at the same time as routine maintenance every 6 years – but costed $50,000 more – and features symbols that build on Canadian history.

Official Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair isn’t impressed, saying “I don’t think we’ve ever seen a government in Canadian history that so readily blurred the lines between government money and party money.”

“The colours of the plane, the whole detailing is clearly patterned on the Conservative Party,” said Mulcair. “I can tell you this, that when we form government in 2015 we will not be painting that plane orange.”

But Mulcair will have a lot of work to do if he wants to form the next government. He will have to learn how the Westminster parliamentary system works and teach his MPs. First, MPs are representatives of their regions and once elected they can stand with whichever party they please – just because they plan to change party doesn’t mean the government needs to be up in arms and call a by-election. Secondly, you cannot expect senators to work for free and while the Senate is still part of our system, de-funding it is reckless and unfounded. Would NDP MPs do their jobs for free? This is doubtable, especially when it was an NDP MP that defended the ridiculously high pension plan MPs get.

NDP MP Ryan Cleary said in April 2012, “I work my butt off. Would I deserve a pension of $28,000 after six years? Probably not. It should be more than that.”

The PMO started their push for colourful planes in 2009, but Defence Minister Peter MacKay thinks they should remain grey in emails obtained from The Canadian Press. MacKay said grey is the operational colour for the military – you certainly don’t want a colourful plane that will be easy to shoot down.

A military officer wrote, “to have an Airbus permanently configured for VIP use in a colour other than the standard grey would have an impact both financially and on operations, as essentially it would leave you with one less air resource.”

So not only did Harper waste $50,000 on a paint job, he wasted one of our limited military planes.

This plane is also used by the Governor General and the royal family when they visit.

What do you think of the $50,000 paint job? Could they have put that money somewhere else? Where?

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   Categories: Department of National Defense, Government Mismanagement, Military, Spending

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