Tories scrambling to extricate MacKay from chopper controversy

Bob Rae also hitched copter ride, Defence says


The Department of National Defence is searching for stories of politicians getting free airlifts and feeding them to journalists in an attempt to extricate Minister Peter Mackay from controversy over a hard-to-justify ride he got on a Canadian Forces’ helicopter, the Globe and Mail reports. One of the stories forwarded by officials in the Department of Defence has interim Liberal leader Bob Rae using a provincial police helicopter to fly to and from his cottage during the Victoria Day weekend in 1992, when he was premier of Ontario. Mackay initially said his own ride was part of a search-and-rescue exercise. Then emails from military officers showed he had requested the flight three days in advance to get himself out of a fishing camp in Gander River, Nfld., where he was on vacation, due to a last-minute need to “unexpectedly” head to London, Ont. The helicopter eventually hoisted the Minister out of the camp and took him to an airport from which he flew London, avoiding a two-hour car and boat ride. Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the use of the helicopter was “appropriate.” The opposition, however, isn’t laying down its weapons. NDP MP Christine Moore accused Mackay of “just completely lying.”

The Globe and Mail

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Tories scrambling to extricate MacKay from chopper controversy

  1. Pathetic group of nobs.

    • I suppose you think they should just roll over and let hypocrites like Bob Rae who have used government helicopters for their own personal trips to the family cottage, scold them?

      • I suppose we should all roll over and let them waste our resources without saying a word. 

        • Nobody said you should but perhaps we should at least expect that the people in parliament who are  demanding better behavior from each other are at least behaving themselves.

      • Two wrongs don’t make a right.

        Though it seems a lot of the CPC (and their boosters) seem to believe that two wrongs make it Right.

        • You are absolutely right there.  It is the hypocrisy of someone like Bob Rae who was not at all apologetic when he used a police helicopter to take him to his cottage, blasting the Defence Minister who at least met with the head of Search and Rescue.  It may not be the greatest excuse but the taxation department will accept it as a business expense if he tries to write off the trip on his income tax.

          • Learn. To. Read.

          • I am glad that you at least admit that Bob Rae did something wrong.

          • Actually, I’m not admitting anything about Rae one way or the other. I’m pointing out that accusing Rae of doing the same action.. whether he did or not.. is immaterial to the condemnation of McKay for his actions — and in no way should be used to excuse McKay.

          • He can write it off as a business expense if he pays for it out of his pocket as long as he has a dated receipt. If you are trying to use the CRA as an example of justice and fair determination then you have never had to deal with them :)

          • Are you suggesting the tax payer paid for the vacation portion of the fishing trip?

          • No of course I am not suggesting that the taxpayer paid for his vacation. That has never been implied by anyone.
            I am saying that if if reimbusrsed the taxpayer for the cost of the helicopter trip the CRA would let him claim the helicopter fight as a business expense even in light of the fact that if it were truly a business expense then we wouldn’t be having this lovely discussiuon.

      • Quote:”The story notes that Mr. Rae had just returned from a 10-day business
        trip to Japan and was to leave for a Great Lakes governors meeting in
        Ohio the next day.

        He pleaded “a need for time with his family,” noting due to his travel
        schedule as premier he had not seen his children for eight days.”

        Of course, a Premier using a police helicopter to travel is exactly the same as a MP diverting a search and rescue helicopter so he could continue fishing a little longer, lie to the parliament about it and use the DND resources to dig up dirt on political opponents, right? C’mon guy, right?

        • Did you miss the part about the flight being arranged days ahead and the retired Major saying that McKay did not “divert a search and rescue helicopter” but as the Minister of Defence met with the head of search and rescue while he was near Gander where search and rescue is stationed.
          As for Mr. Rae, gee I guess his wife and kids could not have just met him town so they could have shared the night together.  Nope….why do that when he had a police helicopter he could take to the cottage.
          As for lying…you guys are saying McKay lied.  Now you are claiming he is using DND resources to dig up dirt…he doesn’t have to.  The journalists of this country are only to happy to do it for him.

          • Wow, just wow. It’s the police’s job to escort Premiers, diverting a search and rescue helicopter because he wanted to continue is vacations as long as possible is about as pathetic as it can get. So instead of saving lives, conservatives think such helicopters should used as their personal taxi… And you are defending that.

            As for the DND ressources being used to defend Mackay, well why don’t you do the highly unorthodox thing and learn to read the article you are commenting on?

            Quote:”A Defence official, meanwhile, wrote Tuesday in the subject line of the
            email to reporters that contained the Star story: “Doesn’t look like
            Bob Rae apologized for using government aircraft to go on personal
            Apparently you think that the terms “search and rescue” apply to the MP integrity and political career, respectively.

          • “It’s the police’s job to escort Premiers”….okay….but I have never heard of them using a helicopter so a Premier can get to his vacation home for an evening with his family….that is a misuse of a police helicopter.
            As for the Globe and Mail suggesting that the DND is phoning around offering up stories about other MP’s who have misused resources….excuse me, but what about the reporters at the Globe and Mail….are they so far away from objective reporting that they can’t even be bothered to check their own newspaper archives?   What proof to they have that Peter McKay asked anybody from the DND to look up anything on his behalf? 

          • Wait.  Was it arranged in advance, or a vacation suddenly cut short?  The two stories cannot exist in the same space-time continuum.

          • I guess it all depends on the definition of the word “suddenly”.  If I was planning a four day vacation and three days before I was embarking on it, it got cut down to 3 days, I would say it “suddenly” got cut short and so I made plans two meet with search and rescue’s boss and combine a training exercise with a ride to the airport.

          • Personally, I think you are working for McKay on damage control so it is pointless to discuss anything with you.

        • You really should read Kelly McPharland’s editorial in The National Post today Dec 8/2011.  He actually defends Bob Rae’s use of the OPP chopper to go to the cottage for “the long weekend’.  In it Bob explains how he usually is driven in a OPP car but that would “take to long to get to the cottage and it was the long weekend”.  Bob doesn’t apologize either.  He can’t be bothered to…he just feels entitled to use the police helicopter to get to his cottage faster because……he’s Bob Rae and dammit it’s a long weekend.

      • Are you totally OK with this trip by Mackay?

        • It appears he’s only unhappy that the focus isn’t on Rae.

        • I don’t know that it is a matter of being “totally OK” or not but at the same time, I am not all that upset over Bob Rae using the police helicopter to go to the cottage either.  I worked as an executive secretary in a business office.  People who travel extensively have crappy lives.  They lose a lot of their vacation time and spend much of their time away from home in crappy hotels and on planes away from their families and friends.  Do I begrudge them a perk that isn’t all great anyway….you cannot tell me that riding in a police helicopter or a SAR helicopter is a comfortable experience….I rode in the front of a squad car….very uncomfortable.  I think a lot of this is just partisan rainmaking…..especially when Rae points the finger at McKay and he is guilty of the same behavior.  I do not for a minute think the OPP or SAR in anyway would have put citizens at risk by taking these flights.

          • Agree with much of that, especially since (as I mentioned elsewhere) the SAR ride ended up being more of an ordeal than I’m sure it was originally envisaged…

            On a range (1 (low) to 10 (high)) of egregious behaviours I’d put Rae’s at 1.83 and MacKay’s at 2.06, or so.

            MacKay’s seems a little worse to me, basically because it was obviously a planned boondoggle, whereas Rae’s strikes me as a bit more of a spur of the moment thing.

      • Heh.  I love that the Conservatives are finding similar misuse incidents from the past with other governments, and calling them illegitimate.  They are effectively turning their guns back on themselves (or more specifically on MacKay) by doing so.

        But then, I’m no fan of Bob Rae either, so it’s a double-plus-win.

        • Well at least you can see that if McKay is guilty so is Rae and it Pot & Kettle.

          • That’s a mighty Clintonian use of the word “if”.  MacKay is entitled to his entitlements, so why is his story this week so different from the story not one week ago?  Own the hoist/helicopter ride, Peter!

      • Different juristiction different circumstances. Rae’s government was defeated maybe this was the political price he paid. What price will McKay pay? I’d be happy if he reimbursed Cananda for the trip… or and also the the site recon trip too.

  2. So let me get this straight: First Mackay misappropriates DND resources by having a chopper lift him out of his personal trip so he can catch an extra 90 minutes of fishing … and now he’s misappropriating DND resources by telling them to spend time hunting down records from the last two or three decades and emailing things to the news media.

    Shameless, shameless, shameless.

    and to think these people campaigned in 2006 on a platform of cleaning up government.

    • Oh no, they didn’t have to do any research.  When Bob Rae was the premier of Ontario he used an OPP helicopter and pilot to get him quickly to his cottage because he hadn’t seen his family in 8 days.  This was a news story, along with the story from the retired Major from Search and Rescue who backed up McKay’s story that they picked up from the fishing lodge while on a search and rescue training mission, that he rode along on the mission and they dropped him off at the airport…at no additional expense beyond that of what the mission would have cost without them picking him up.  The Major also explained that McKay was able to learn much in the face to face interview with the crew about the search and rescue operation and the crew had the opportunity to have face time with their boss to relay any concerns.

      • … and to think these people campaigned in 2006 on a platform of cleaning up government

      • they had to send a copter the day before they picked him up to survey the site of the pickup. This was not a case of “we were in the area anyway”. They set the mission in the area to cover. The fact that they had to winch him into the copter because it was too big to land does not mean that that was part of a training exercise that he was evaluating. How stupid does Mackay think we are?

  3. and now mckay is apparently threatening to sue mps who have accused him of lying-the classic conservative move-like mulroney-when guilty, use the last weapon to scare away the truth….

    • Well if had a Major who was backing up my story and a hyocrite who was slandering me with NO proof that I lied, I would sue too.

      • Versus the Colonel who says that McKay is lying. I think Colonel trumps Major.

        • Not in conbot land … nothing trumps party talking points in conbot land

  4. THE DEPT of NATIONAL DEFENSE coming to the defense of Mackay is highly offensive.

    • This Major who was head of search and rescue at the time of the trip has retired so he is not with the DND.  Maybe you find it offensive that he wanted to straighten out the misconceptions out there but then he is appalled that things have gotten this far out of hand.

  5. The finger pointing, the smoke and mirrors, it is all so transparent… Thank you j bean, it isn’t about party alignment, it is about entitlement and hiding the abuse of resources. Reducing it to a debate about who did what is so childish, it is about elected officials of ANY party abusing privilege. It happens too often and it should be penalized.
    Grow beyond bickering about the misdirections supplied. Peter McKay AND Bob Rae abused privilege, and BOTH owe taxpayers a reimbursement. Forget which party did what, all abuses are wrong. And the fact that people on any side of the floor don’t have the honour to stand and admit the abuse speaks volumes about our elected officials.

    • well said.

  6. This operation was planned 3 days ahead under the guise of a SAR mission, it WAS NOT a last minute ‘rush of necessity’!

    From: Bulls LCol CR@DirPlans@WinnipegSent: Wednesday, 7, July, 2010 15:18 PMTo: Brooks Capt RJ@Dir Plans@WinnipegCc: Plougman Col JB@1 Cdn Air Div HQ Dir Plans@Winnipeg; Treblay LCol JHM@Dir Ops@Winnipeg; Cowen Maj JC@Dir Ops@Winnipeg; +SODO@CAOC@Winnipeg; Fletcher LCol JA@1 CAD HQ Det RACE(A)@Halifax;McGuire Maj DJ@RCC Admin@Halifax; Haviland Capt AJ@Dir Plans@Winnipeg; Benninger LCol JC@Canada COM@Ottawa-HullSubject: FW: Request for Effect – MNDRob,Please take forac. Keep the timings non-specific so as to lend 103 Sqn more flexibility with their flying program, yet meet the desired timings for effect described below. This mission will be under the guise of FG as SAR Trg. SAR takes priority and the mission will be conducted on a non-interference basis

    • * under the guise of a SAR Trg mission.

  7. This is a distraction. Nothing will come of it. I’m not a McKay or Conservative supporter, I’m a social democrat,  but we should let this go. The misuse of public services by government officials is a systemic problem and should be addressed through policy, not through personal attacks.  

  8. Surprise, surprise!!! Harper defends proven-to-be liar McKay! What a pieces of human garbage; makes sense that they would guard each other, being liars, criminals, and brooding tyrants.

    Here’s a good example of how things SHOULD HAVE WENT: Anyone remember ELEANOR CLITHEROE, disgraced former Hydro One CEO, who back in 2002 used a Hydro One helicopter to ferry her from her cottage to a board meeting… she was fired, stripped of her pension and was made to pay reparations… she fought in court and LOST. Harper has destroyed THAT judicial system like the expert fascist tyrant he is, so don’t expect a repeat of useful justice…

    McKay and Harper are just as wrong as she was to mix personal and professional and they must pay. What is worse than the actual transgression is the fact that it trends with the generally contemptuous conservative modus operandi, and that makes my stomach shrink to think of every evil deed the morally bankrupt harper regime perpetrates that we DON’T know about for each evil revelation that comes to the public eye…


    • So does Bob Rae get fired too….see Kelly McPharland in The National Post Dec 8/2011.

      • … and to think these people campaigned in 2006 on a campaign of cleaning up government.

        You just don’t get it do you? The Harper conservatives CLAIMED THE MORAL HIGH GROUND. They chose to hold themselves to a higher moral standard. They asked the Canadian people to give them power so they could do better.

        They are doing worse, worse and worse every week. The corruption and entitlement are one thing, but the continued lies, coverups, and wagon-circling are all indicative of a party that has abandoned any pretense of transparency and accountability.

        The conservatives are rotting from the inside. Enjoy the ride.

  9. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that Peter Mackay actually regrets participating in the entire incident.  I mean really, all the preparatory work, he saved himself all of 90 minutes, rather than simply step onto a waiting helicopter he became the hoistee, and now all of this followup.

    It’s too bad our political system won’t allow Mackay to simply say “In retrospect the entire incident was a poor use of time and effort.  I will keep that in mind when planning future trips.”

    • It does. He just has to say “Sorry, I was wrong, I won’t let it happen again.” It’s really quite simple so long as your not a buffoon clinging to foolish pride.

      • But why is it that so many of ‘them’ (politicians in general, not just current ministers) feel obliged to cling to foolish pride?

        Are there ‘things’ that the media and/or citizens can do to help politicians ‘come clean’?

        • Because many of them feel that the rules only apply to the schleps.

        • You speak as if MacKay has the freedom to chart his own course on this issue. He doesn’t.

          Every single word that comes from a conservative MP’s lips – from the highest cabinet minister to the lowliest sitting MP – is scripted by the conservative party war room. Every single response to a situation is choreographed.

          This party is all about message control and marketing. There is no room for honesty or contrition.

          • That would be a problem….

      • I would like him to pay back the cost of the trip; but you are right if he said he was sorry right up front that likely would have been enough.
        This business of trying to make it seem legimate is ham fisted at best. Dragging other people in to bolster seeming half-truths is unseemly if nothing else. Even if it is a legimate training exercise… to create a legitimate training exercise just to make acceptable the use of a DND helicopter in this way is just smoke and mirrors and smacks of privilege and entitlement.

    • Our political system will allow it just fine.  Hell, I personally expect the real political system would *reward* such behavior.

      Unfortunately, their advisers and political staffers seem to be complete noobs when it comes to dealing with mistakes.  They’re acting like kids trying to hide it and obfuscate which only draws more and more attention to it.  Sure, during the short span of an election campaign, the short term gain can be enough, but we’re not in a campaign anymore, and these are the kind of things that stick with people.

      They don’t seem to realize that a mistake, especially one that in the grander scheme of things is pretty minor, is actually an opportunity.  It’s an opportunity to show how honest you are, to show how you’re only human and make mistakes, and to show how you learn from those mistakes.

      It’s also an opportunity to build credibility so that if a more serious mistake is found, you can deny it and have your reputation as someone who admits their mistakes lend weight to your lie.

      • Yes, I like all of that, on the surface its all true, yet here we are, with yet another minister, obfuscating.  Which makes me wonder if we really are as good at forgiving as ‘we’ claim to be.

        Btw, your last paragraph, how very cynical of you!!

        • I think we are. Look at examples of politicians who were unabashed and owned their actions, no matter how unpopular the actions might be, politicians like Trudeau, or the unabashed drunkard Churchill. Both remain hugely popular. Hell, even GWB2 managed to skate by a huge number of mistakes and deliberate screw-ups, and he did so, I would argue, specifically because he portrayed himself as a moron — “Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?” and the like.

          We are hugely forgiving of people being human, if they’re unwilling (or unable) to hide it.

          That said, it’s not something most folks really understand and believe until they’ve had a fair amount of experience dealing with people and being unsuccessful in hiding their mistakes — something which I honestly don’t think most of the CPC staffers or cabinet have had.

  10. It’s called the “He did it too” defense. It’s actually quite common in elementary schools across Canada.

  11. MacKay totally lied, along with Harper and everyone else that has become involved in this BS. It is no wonder that the public is so apathetic that they do not even bother to vote anymore. I am sick to death of these people thinking that they are above every one else and they are entitiled to preferential treatment. They are overpaid, underworked, pompous beauracrats. MacKay deserves to be fired and if Harper continues to defend him, we should get rid of him too.

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