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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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