It seems Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has developed a taste for taxpayer-funded travel, far exceeding other Ministers in his use of government aircraft.
And while the logical guess is that Sajjan need to fly on government (military) planes to visit dangerous areas overseas, it turns out that’s not the case. Instead, much of his travel costs were on flights within Canada and to and from safe countries.
As reported by the Globe & Mail, “Flight logs for 2016 and the first five months of 2017 show Mr. Sajjan took 20 trips on Challenger aircraft from January, 2016, to May, 2017, at cost of $670,692. These flights comprised more than 206 hours of flying time. These are not flights in which the Defence Minister was merely a passenger, but ones where he is listed as the requisitioning minister.”
The true cost is even worse, as the report notes that the $670,692 figure doesn’t include the cost of flying the planes or paying the pilots.
When included, those costs reach the staggering figure of $3 million.
This comes at the same time as the government is buying cheap, used Australian fighter jets to ‘replace’ the decrepit CF-18s. In Trudeau’s Ottawa, it seems that quality flights are only for the ministerial elite.
NDP ethics critic Nathan Cullen made a similar point, telling the Globe & Mail, “He is taking the jets because he wants to take the jets because he doesn’t want the hassle of mixing with ordinary people. We are not able to provide our troops with the proper equipment and this will be pretty offensive to a lot of our men and women in uniform.”
Of note, other Ministers such as Chrystia Freeland – who often travels internationally – did not once use government aircraft to travel according to the time examined in the latest records.
This only magnifies how outrageous Sajjan’s repeated use of taxpayer-funded aircraft has become:
“In February, 2017, Mr. Sajjan was the lone passenger on a Challenger jet flying from Ottawa to Washington and then on to his home in Vancouver. The cost: $36,605.”
Also, “On one occasion in December, 2016, Mr. Sajjan opted to fly from Ottawa to the Trenton, Ont., military base rather than drive about 2 1/2 hours in his government limousine. The cost of flying to Trenton was $6,358.”
That is an insane level of entitlement. Even the limo we taxpayers are paying for isn’t enough for him.
Sajjan also used the taxpayer-funded jets to travel to countries like Germany and Denmark, despite far cheaper commercial flights being easily available.
Trudeau won’t do anything about it
The right thing to do would be for Trudeau to demand that Sajjan pay at least some of the money back, and pledge to use commercial flights from now on unless visiting military installations. Even better would be to shuffle Sajjan out of the defence minister post to send a very clear message.
Of course, Trudeau has shown himself to be the most entitled person in the government, especially considering he was the first PM in history to be found in violation of a federal statute after his Aga Khan private island trip.
So, it’s almost certain that Trudeau will take no action.
That leaves it up to the Canadian people, who need to send a message in 2019 that this entitlement won’t be accepted any longer.
Our country, and the Canadian taxpayers who keep our country running, deserve far better.
Photo – Twitter