The latest development in our national crisis of official air travel protocol involves the Defence Minister using a Challenger jet to fly to a lobster-related celebration (the Pictou Lobster Carnival perhaps?) in his riding. Peter MacKay continued to take questions from the opposition this morning in regards to the use of a search-and-rescue helicopter to pick him up from a fishing trip, but questions about the lobster festival were handled by House leader Peter Van Loan. Mr. Van Loan’s first response to the NDP’s Christine Moore was as follows.
Mr. Speaker, taxpayers expect government officials to conduct the nation’s business at a reasonable cost. It is something that our government takes very seriously. I want to be clear. Our use of government aircraft by our ministers is always in compliance with policy. We do follow the policies. And we have reduced the use of government aircraft significantly, as we have said. When we look at Challenger use by the Liberals who spoke earlier about this issue, we have reduced our use 80% since they abused them as personal limousines constantly. We only use them for government business.