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Cameron's House of Fun

Fatherhood, politics, education, random thoughts (heavy on the random thoughts) and stuff (always stuff).

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Of Jets and laziness

Before I get going, I want to make something clear. I think the Prime Minister of Canada should be able to fly on Canadian Forces flights whenever he or she bloody well wants with the bill footed by us, the Canadian tax payer, with in limits (joy rides, political fund raising trips etc).

The era of rail travel or actually riding the campaign bus is over and, honestly, in Canada with our size, it was never really possible.

What does bother me is when people say one thing and then do another, something that our current PM, Steven Harper, seems to becoming a specialist at. Recently there has been an uproar about his use of the CF run Challenger jet.

As the article notes, Harper attacked the Liberals for using the jet service, in fact he went on about it a fairish amount. It was all part of the "look they are elitist, snobby shits, not like us common folks" offensives. Good politics. Smart politics. Apparently politics that wins elections.

The problem with this kind of politics is that it comes back and bites you on the ass, hence the uproar.

Honestly, I also buy the whole "PM security needs" argument, Harper shouldn't jump on an Air Canada jet and fly business class when he's off on CPC business. Hell he mb shouldn't do that when he's off on vacation. But when he and the CPC figures out how much to pay us all back (well the CF, but us eventually), it can't be done using an apples and oranges mechanism.

The CF run Challenger jets are manifestly not the same as an Air Canada flight available for purchase by me.

First, AC goes on routes, routes that are profitable (attention AC is a business, the CF's jet service isn't). So the only way they fly somewhere is if they make money. They can do this in many ways: by ripping us off, by realizing economies of scale, by using the most efficient plane per run etc etc etc. So, for instance, the flight between Montreal and Toronto can use a certain size of jet and go at a certain frequency. The same size of jet and frequency of flights makes no sense at all for a flight between Montreal and Vancouver or Halifax and Montreal.

I know this, anyone with a brain knows this, anyone who thinks about it for about 5 seconds knows this. Apparently the CPC and the PMO doesn't think we know this. They also seem to think no one will remember that whole "nasty elitists up in their private jets" thing.

Again, I'm not saying that Harper should have flown coach to go and see a Leaf's game with his son (at this point I want to tell young Master Harper that he should cherish his Dad, because that is one hell of a fucking cool Father - Son night, you're a lucky young man). I think he should have flown in the CF Challenger. But I also think he should have paid back the full cost of running the damn thing. Or, baring that, there needs to be an actual formula, spelled out that says something like "this is how much it would cost if the PM flew to X, but the RCMP says no, so the PM/his party/who ever isn't the taxpayer should pay X".

Ok, so now the lazy bit, at the end of that article it says "The Canadian Press noted that it is difficult to calculate the actual cost of a flight on the jet. Military documents, obtained through Access to Information, suggest the cost of operating the jets range from $9,124 to $11,541 per hour."

I thougt the "difficult to calculate the actual cost" bit was, umm.. bullshit. So Mr. Google and I had a wee visit together. And I found this. Go there, click on the pricing. Look at Large Cabin. OMG A CHALLENGER. Now the costs are in USD but you can also find exchange rates on Google. Some of the sites that do this don't even need you to do math.

I also found a bunch of other sites with other price schemes (cards - can you imagine someone giving you a pre-filled gift card like thing with $50K USD worth of private jet time on it? YES PLEASE!). So, in like 10 minutes of poking I apparently am able to find out the hourly, commercial cost of chartering a private jet.


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At 9:02 a.m., Blogger Margie Bargie said...

OK...another reason why this Gov't sucks so bad! The rattling of sabers gets on my nerves big time!

In other news...sunny and lovely in London - construction workers are learing....spring is on its way!


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