On a jet plane


Our national crisis of official air travel protocol reaches the two-week mark with news of Peter MacKay’s Challenger usage.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay outranks almost all his cabinet colleagues when it comes to using federal government executive jets, racking up more than $2.9-million in flights on the Challenger planes in the past four years…

Total flying hours for planes transporting Mr. MacKay comprised 17 per cent of hours flown by all ministers in 2008, 34 per cent in 2009 and 60 per cent in 2010. As of June, 2011, jets arranged for him made up 32 per cent of all flights by ministers other than Mr. Harper.


On a jet plane

  1. To be fair, most of those miles are probably to Afghanistan/Libya or Canadian operation bases around the world (although verification of this assertion would be nice).  Only a small percentage of his Challenger miles are likely attributed to partisan lobster boils and family vacations, given his ministerial portfolio.  Let’s focus on those trips, rather than his overall total.

    • Try reading the Globe and Mail story again.  “None of these went to Afghanistan and, of these 35, 25 were domestic trips inside Canada.”

      • Sorry, I just read Wherry’s excerpt.  Mea culpa.

    • to be fair… that is all spelled out in the Globe article Aaron provided the link to

  2. How close is the Minister of Foreign Affairs to MacKay’s numbers?  I only ask because it seems to me that at a time when we have troops engaged in Afghanistan and Libya, not to mention other foreign missions around the world, that generally one would EXPECT the Minister of National Defence to be one of the most traveled of all of the nation’s Cabinet Ministers, as well as being one of the Cabinet Ministers in most need of the added security of a non-commercial flight.  Mackay’s percentage of all flights might still be out of line, but I would actually expect the Minister of Defence, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the PM to be the most frequent fliers, so that bit on it’s own isn’t too shocking.

      • Thanks. 

        It does seem a bit odd that the Minister of Defence would travel on a Challenger more than 3 times as often as the Minister of Foreign Affairs.  Then again, it’s also odd that the Minister of Foreign Affairs apparently doesn’t crack the top three in this category!

  3. You can’t hop a jet plane, like you can a freight train …

  4. It’s ridiculous that the media (and to a lesser extent, the opposition) are making such a big deal out of absolutely nothing.  What goes around comes around, but it’s still amazing that people who know better willfully participate in this silly little “air travel cost” dance.

    • I remember a lot of fuss about a  minister and a package of gum.  When you are government everything you do is scutinized. 

      • “Cons/Libs/NDP did it too!” is no excuse for bad scrutiny.

        • By bad scrutiny, do you mean too much, too little, or just that directed at CPC members?

          • None of the above.  “Bad” doesn’t relate to quantity or target party.

          • Well I must agree with Crit on this one.  I want maximum productivity from those in cabinet and that means squeezing the most into the work day.  I certainly don’t want him in an Air Canada check-in line, or discussing quasi-confidential matters with an aide while the business man in the next seat listens in.  

            That said, I would argue the old Reform crowd & that silly tax-revolt outfit that Harper used to lead have done much to take this nonsensical type of criticism to a new level.  After all, Mulroney loved his limos & stuff and Lord knows Liberals feel entitled to their entitlements.  

        • Hey,’ the Liberals did it’ is the Cons default defence, but if you want to stop using it, that would be great.

      • But this is totally different. Peter Mackay IS entitled to his entitlements.

  5. “Jay Paxton, a spokesman for Mr. MacKay, released a statement saying: “In approximately 50 per cent of the total Challenger flights Minister MacKay has taken, he has taken these flights to attend the repatriation of fallen military personnel.”
    Records show, however, that of the 35 flights Mr. MacKay’s office requested since September, 2007, only nine were to attend to return of soldiers’ remains to Canada.”

    Damn it. No matter how many times i shove those numbers in the calculator i can’t make em round out to 50%…must be some new fangled math or other. Hope they don’t decide to second Peter to finance. He’s doing less damage where he is…

    • You’re assuming Flaherty is doing any better? Remember, he’s the guy who promised us 4 billion in savings this year almost a year ago.. and just spent another 20 million to call in someone else to see if they can find it anywhere.

      • Maybe Deloittte will recommend they cut back on minister’s air taxis?

  6. Peter Mackay news is bs: 1) DND is behind the story; 2)real costs are 25 percent of reported costs. Media should to get this right

    (twitt by Allan Gregg)

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