NDP wants limits on use of government jets
Marlene Leung and Andrea Janus, CTVNews.ca
Published Tuesday, April 1, 2014 11:28AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, April 1, 2014 3:30PM EDT
The NDP has tabled an opposition day motion stating that government planes should only be used for government business.
NDP ethics critic Charlie Angus announced the motion at a news conference on Parliament Hill Tuesday morning.
The announcement came on the heels of a news report that said a longtime fundraiser for the Conservatives has been allowed to fly on the government Challenger jets. According to the report, Mark Kihn has travelled with Prime Minister Stephen Harper a number of times over several years.
The government has repeatedly said that the costs associated with the travel of any non-government official on the jets are repaid.
Angus said that it's "simply unacceptable" that the Conservatives used a government plane to transport party fundraisers.
He said that Harper came to power in 2006 with a promise to Canadians that "he would clean up the culture of entitlement" in Ottawa.
"If he's decided that the only thing he wanted to clean up was Liberal entitlement, but Conservative entitlement is OK, I think that that is sending a message to the Canadian people that the taxpayers and the Canadian people are really being held in contempt by this government," Angus said.
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair asked Harper about Kihn’s travel during question period on Tuesday.
“Can the prime minister tell us who Mark Kihn is?” Mulcair asked. “What role does Mark Kihn play in the government and what business does he have on the government jet?”
Harper did not give a direct answer to the question, saying his government has already answered those queries.
“We’ve been very clear; our practice, my practice as prime minister is any use that I make or anybody else makes of the Challenger for anything other than government business is reimbursed immediately at commercial rates,” Harper said. “That has been done in this and all cases.”
The NDP motion states that "government planes, and in particular the plane used by the prime minister, should only be used for government purposes, and should not be used to transport anyone other than those associated with such purposes or those required for the safety and security of the prime minister and his family."
In 2012, the government announced it was cutting down its fleet of Challenger jets from six to two. The government has said that it has already reduced the use of the jets since coming into office.