Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Stephen Harper's Scandalous Challenger Problem

Once upon a time Stephen Harper used to take a perverse pleasure in going after the Liberals for using taxpayer's money to fly around in Challenger jets.

But once he came to power he changed his mind.

And now he uses them all the time to ferry him and his friends around.

And doesn't seem to give a damn about sticking taxpayers with the tab. 

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party has racked up tens of thousands of dollars in flights on government Challenger aircraft to ferry the prime minister, staff and a longtime party fundraiser around the country, iPolitics has learned.

While the party or Conservative officials repaid the Department of National Defence for use of the planes to travel to partisan Conservative Party events, the amount the party has repaid pales in comparison to the cost to taxpayers incurred by using the government planes.

Or giving his good buddy and bagman Mark Kihn lots of rides for the price of a train ticket.

The invoices show Kihn travelled on a Challenger with Harper and his family every year but one between 2007 and 2012, usually a flight from Calgary to Ottawa just after Christmas. While Kihn was billed $1,300 for five flights — an average of $260 a flight — the December 2012 flight from Calgary to Montreal was billed directly to the Conservative Party of Canada.

But then Kihn isn't just a bagman, he's a friend of the family.

Kihn appears to have close ties to Harper and his family as well. Passenger logs for several of the flights reveal that the only passengers on the flights from Calgary to Ottawa were Kihn, Harper, Laureen Harper and Harper’s children Ben and Rachel. Kihn is Facebook friends with both Ben and Rachel.

The family that flies together stays together.

Harper’s mother, Margaret Harper, has also been a passenger aboard a Challenger at least four times, often between Calgary and Ottawa in the summer.

And just like DND could do anything about Peter MacKay's aeroplan miles...

There's nothing they can do about Harper's frequent flyer program.

Initially, DND calculated the cost of flying Harper and six staff from Ottawa to Moncton for a Conservative Party by multiplying the 3.1 hours of flying time by the $2,139 an hour cost of operating the Challenger for a total of $6,630.90, Canadian Press reported. 

However, the PMO soon informed DND that the party would only reimburse the cost of economy class commercial flights and calculated the tab at $3,144.18. It has been calculated that way ever since.

Because when the Harperites claim that flying Challenger class is like flying Economy class...

Who would dare challenge that claim, and not pass the bill on to the taxpayers?

But then to be fair, if Great Leader likes to fly around like a Bollywood star it's only because he IS the star of his own home movies.

As many as four public servants from the Privy Council Office are engaged in the publishing of weekly video clips that celebrate Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s accomplishments.

And although hardly anyone watches them...

For good reason.

Viewership peaked for the clips in their first edition, covering Jan. 2 to Jan. 8, when 10,172 people watched the English version on YouTube and another 14,342 watched through a proprietary software used on the website.

The numbers have been in sharp decline since, with only 100 watching the Jan. 23-29 English version on YouTube and 19 in French.

We're paying for that too. So his PMO minions can try to brainwash us with OUR dough, into thinking that Great Leader is a good money manager AND the taxpayer's CHAMPION.

Great eh? 

Oh boy. It may have been a long time since Harper used to attack the Liberals for doing the same or less than he's doing NOW.

"As they pad their expense account and look out the windows of their $11,000 per hour Challenger jet flights to B.C., they think that everything is going pretty well," Harper then said. "They just don't get what real life is like for ordinary Canadians."

But he has always been a hypocrite. He has no idea what life is like for ordinary Canadians. 

And the good news is that what we're seeing is just the corruption of power.

The Con hogs have been around for too long.

The fish is rotting from the head down.

Great Challenger Leader is out of control.

And sooner rather than later.

We are going to GROUND him...

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  1. The UK which is a real G7 economy flies commercial. Canada should do the same. If a politican has to go through all the crap we face to fly, it will get better. If they can fly at 40,000 feet above the crowd it will become their chief objective. Ban the jets, sell them all.

    Harpo taking his limo to India should have sunk him. Why that did not happen is why we need to investigate the CTV, Global, Sun and Globe Belll media.

    1. hi steve...I don't know if they should sell them all. There are occasions when they are necessary. But what offends me the most is the grotesque hypocrisy, and they way they are used for such blatantly parisan purposes. But yes, the limo story should have put a dent in his wandering ways, but I don't just blame the media. All of us need to do a better job of defining the Cons. It's the way politics works in the modern era.
      However, now that the Cons are in election mode maybe that will change...

  2. Part of the problem is that the opposition also wants these perks. Where is the leader to say if I am elected I will not live large?

    1. hi Steve...Our side should do what Olivia Chow is doing by talking about how she takes the TTC. Because anyone who has ever had to take a bus or the subway at rush hour knows what that means. It's instant empathy. But then of course, some people are so stupid Rob Ford could turn up in a pimpmobile, with a hooker on each arm, and they would still vote for him...

    2. Anonymous3:40 PM

      There is at least one elected official in the world who doesn't care about perks! My hat off to him! I'm not saying that all elected officials should live like him. There's a happy medium! I'm talking about Jose Mujica. It's a common grumble that politicians' lifestyles are far removed from those of their electorate. Not so in Uruguay. Meet the president - who lives on a ramshackle farm and gives away most of his pay.

      Laundry is strung outside the house. The water comes from a well in a yard, overgrown with weeds. Only two police officers and Manuela, a three-legged dog, keep watch outside.

      This is the residence of the president of Uruguay, Jose Mujica, whose lifestyle clearly differs sharply from that of most other world leaders.

      President Mujica has shunned the luxurious house that the Uruguayan state provides for its leaders and opted to stay at his wife's farmhouse, off a dirt road outside the capital, Montevideo.

      The president and his wife work the land themselves, growing flowers.

      This austere lifestyle - and the fact that Mujica donates about 90% of his monthly salary, equivalent to $12,000 (£7,500), to charity - has led him to be labelled the poorest president in the world.

      I got this online somewhere. Sorry, I can't remember where. It just goes to prove that elected officials should not take advantage of the tax payers.

  3. ...take the omnibus 'arp. the one big enough to run down all your cast-offs

    1. hiliberalandlovingit...I am hoping the Lord Harp will one day be forced to ride on a bus. A bus with very small windows. The ones that shuttle cons from the pen to the courts and back again... ;)

  4. Anonymous11:06 AM

    Well, yer buddy harpie just announced that federal employees and retirees are going to foot the jet bills by having to chip in half of their medical insurance premiums beginning next year thereby "saving" the gov. over $6,000,000,000. so that the cons can afford to fly "economy class" all the time. Didn't the Frenchies, once upon a time, figure out a remedy for this kind of government back in the 1700's? Muahahaha!!!

    1. hi anon...there must be some mistake, MY buddy Harper? Surely you mean my MONKEY Harper. ; >) But yes, I see how Clement is screwing with people's medical insurance, and you can't get much lower than that. And I don't know about the French Revolution, but for now I'll settle for a Great Canadian Spring...

  5. Anonymous11:37 AM

    There had been other outrageous expenses as well. There was the charge to taxpayers for $9460 for 5 upscale haircuts leading to the G8/G20 meeting in Toronto: . How many Canadians pay almost $2K for a haircut? If Chretien/Martin had done that, he would have spouted fire and brimstone and his supporters would probably have railed that the Liberals do not get what real life is like for Canadians.

    In addition, he had also charged the costs of his family's passports to taxpayers. I do not think anyone has any problems paying for the PM but his family is another matter entirely obviously. Now we see that his family, and Cons Party fundraisers, had apparently been subsidized by taxpayers for flying the challengers on personal or Cons party business trips.

    Then there was the story about how he had eviscerated his former mentor, Manning, for accepting a secret party supplement to his salary: . Imagine what he would have said if Manning had abused the use of the challengers?

    That article above gave a very good idea of the kind of person Great Leader appears to be: he seems to see the speck of dust that is in his brother's eye but fails to see the beam that is in his own.

    And now he is in Ukraine/Europe railing against Putin and his aggression and corruption. Again, he sees Putin's faults clearly, but now his own.

    1. hi anon...yes Harper really is putting on quite a show isn't he? I mean he's always been a hypocrite, but the way he's living it up while preaching austerity, or promoting democracy in Ukraine while suppressing it at home really is the limit. the good news is that he's doing it because he's desperate, and sooner or later it will lead him to his political destruction...

  6. Anonymous2:17 PM

    And, Alison Redford had to resign regarding, her travel expenses and her team ripping her apart. Harper even uses the Challenger jets, to take in hockey games with his kids.

    Harper only did a stint in the same oil company his Dad worked in. Other than that, Harper has lived off the tax payers dime. Harper has had plenty of time, to write a book, act on TV shows and play in his band. Harper had only attended Parliament, five times in five and a half months.

    Harper loses absolutely nothing by threatening Putin. The other countries do especially if, this turns into a fight. If Harper's mouth was a little bigger, he could get both of his feet in it.

    I guess Harper has his stealth snowmobile if, Putin decides to take much more land in the Arctic. Putin claims there is an under-the-sea shelf, that is attached to Russia.

    1. Anonymous3:10 PM

      You are correct but what a lot of people don't seem to understand is that Putin can seriously damage the u.s. economy just by refusing to accept their petro dollars from anyone anywhere to pay for oil/gas from Russia who just happens to supply a HUGE amount of fuel to Eurasia. And then if, for some mystical reason, China decides to call in the u.s. markers they owe China (possibly as a show of solidarity with Russia), the u.s. is well and truly fucked. You don't have to like or respect Putin but you damned well better not underestimate him or Russia's capabilities to counterstrike anything the west may try and do to "sanction" Russia, as if they could actually hurt them anyway.

    2. hi anon 2:17...I was thinking of including a reference to Alison Redford, but I didn't have the space left to do that. And to think she was accused of bullying people. As for harper's so-called foreign policy it's all just cheap politics, all designed to appeal to different groups of voters. I see he's suddenly announced he would like to visit China, so he can build on his support in the Chinese Canadian community, and of course pander to the pandas. They only thing we can hope for is that he doesn't start the Third World War...

  7. Anonymous10:13 AM

    What a messed up race we are! Things need to change now.
    I do not want any children growing up with this anymore.Let's start being truthful to them.
    Maybe then things will change.