'That is appropriate'

The Prime Minister stands by Peter MacKay.

Mr. Harper, who was in Burlington, Ont., to open an arts centre, was asked by reporters to explain what message it sends to Canadians if a minister can mislead the House of Commons and there are no consequences for his actions. Mr. Harper replied that the government has been very clear. “The minister was called back from his vacation and used government aircraft only for government business. And that is appropriate.”

This is more or less in keeping with what Peter Van Loan told the House this morning.

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence has already answered these questions. There are really no new facts here. The fundamental facts remain the same. The Minister of National Defence paid for air travel to and from his personal vacation. Government aircraft were used only when he was called away on government business.

Both of these explanations seem to completely sidestep the question of the search-and-rescue demonstration. When Mr. MacKay first addressed this issue in September, that demonstration was foremost in his explanation and it was for that demonstration that he cut short his fishing trip.

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