Enough for an on-going series? Why, yes, I do believe so.
Today Peter MacKay, whose pants have been burning merrily since the days of the Canadian Alliance-Progressive Conservative Anschluss, is in the news again. In July, 2010, he commandeered a Canadian Forces helicopter to transport him from his deep-woods fishing hole to the airport. Cost us a mere $16,000—chicken feed, really, compared to the $50 million Tony Gazebo spent on his riding to buy his infamous belvedere and tweak the Chandeliers of Muskoka.
But he lied about it to Parliament and to the Canadian people. When questioned, he claimed he’d cut his vacation short to take part in a search-and-rescue exercise. His subordinates knew differently:
Internal emails, first obtained by the Toronto Star through access to information legislation, show the Cormorant flight was arranged a few days beforehand with only a single reference made to a search and rescue operation.
“This mission will be under the guise of” a search and rescue demonstration, reads an email by Lt.-Col. Chris Bulls.
Other emails show senior staff were concerned about the optics of the chopper flight.
“So when the guy who’s fishing at the fishing hole next to the minister sees the big yellow helicopter arrive and decides to use his cellphone to video the minister getting on board and post it on YouTube, who will be answering the mail on that one?” asks then-Col. Bruce Ploughman, director of the Combined Aerospace Operations Centre in Winnipeg.
Ploughman advises against the chopper flight, given the potential for negative press, but he concedes “if we are tasked to do this, we, of course, will comply.”
And so they did. MacKay rode to the airport in style. Conservatives, after all, are not shy about enjoying the usufructs of power—unless, of course, they’re caught at it. Remember Bev Oda? No, ^NOT for that. For this. And, what the heck, this.
In my idle dreams, I imagine Grand Chief Stan Louttit placing the government under third-party management. Having met the man when he was an MA student in medical anthropology at Carleton, I’d welcome it about now.
Meanwhile, when the weather turns colder, the poor folks in Attawapiskat can always stand next to the Conservative cabinet.