Sunday, December 04, 2011

Crossing a line

I have written several times in this space that I believe that it is silly for anybody to make a big deal about a cabinet minister using military aircraft to travel, even if that travel may be for personal reasons.  Ours is the only G8 country that expects members of the cabinet to travel commercial.

That being said I have to say that Peter MacKay had no business using the Cormerant helicopter to get out a fishing camp in Labrador. 

The military has a whole fleet of aircraft available whose sole purpose is to move people, in luxury and otherwise.  If he wants to use any one of these aircraft as his personal air taxi I have no problem with that.  That is what they are there for.

The Cormerants on the other hand are there for Search and Rescue.  The only people they move are SAR Techs and the victims of accidents.  They are not meant to be used as taxies.  Canada does not have many of these aircraft so we really cannot spare one for the personal transportation of a cabinet minister, even if it was not the "on-call" aircraft.

What would have happened if while this helicopter was off flying the minister around a major air or sea accident would have taken place requiring the services of all the SAR aircraft in the area?  Thankfully, we did not have to find out but the potential was there, particulary at this time of year in that part of the world. 

Mr. MacKay's utter lack of good judgement in this case is breathtaking so here is a piece of advice for him.  Stay off the yellow birds.


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