Letters to the Editor

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Flying the not-so-friendly skies - Premiers with planes

Last week, after the provincial budget came out, it was reported Premier Alward will likely lose the usage of the government jet due the economic pinch our province is in. Alward graciously agreed to relinquish the King Air Beechcraft if need be, saying he didn't use it much anyway (except for attending Habs games in Montreal, but that's another matter). 

Given that New Brunswick is one of the poorest provinces in Canada, yet still had a plane to ferry around Her Majesty's humble servants, this publication was curious to find out which governments from coast to coast to coast fly and who catches a ride.

Here's the break down:

The first stop was around the Maritimes where only New Brunswick was found to have a plane. We're poor, but stylish. However, the dry Presbyterianism of our latest purse holder is putting an end to that little frivolity. Toot sweet. 

Next on the list was Quebec, where Premier Charest zips around on a Bombardier Challenger (when it's not being used for medevac purposes). It's sleeker and has more leg room than a Beechcraft. Fit for a Premier Ministre. But depending on his needs and schedule, he'll fly commercial. If he has to.

In cash-strapped Ontario, Dalton McGuinty has "access" to a King Air Beechcraft turboprop, part of a fleet he has "access" to from time to time, but there's no exclusive relationship. Just when he needs it. Ugh, men.

In prim and proper Manitoba, they use the medevac jet they share with medical services so little, the Premier's communications officer couldn't even remember the make of the plane. Premier Greg Selinger usually takes scheduled flights or a charter to remote areas if need be. Wow. Respect!

Saskatchewan's Brad Wall and his crew, along with homeboy the Lt. Governor, roll with three King Air's. Two are currently operational, while inconveniently, the third is in the shop. But they only take the planes out for a spin when they have to make a run into the bush or a distant location, for meetings or campaigns.

Alberta, as you might've guessed, since it has the fattest bank account of us all, and kindly chips in on our transfer payment (they hate that, but, well, there has to be some rebut for being called an illiterate Maritimer), gives Premier Alison Redford the use of four planes - and they didn't even elect her. She's still a party appointee filling in until the provincial election on April 23rd. She'd better enjoy them now and use the biggest one of the Beechcraft's instead of any of the smaller three. It might not last long.

BC's Liberal Premier Christy Clark has no plane. She makes do with commercial flights or charter's a plane on a needs basis. Practical, economical, sensible. Is she really a Liberal? Maybe that's why she and Harper got so cozy over a Tim's at her son's hockey game in January.

Ironically, the territories, i.e. the Yukon, the NWT and Nunavut, have the vastest expanse of terrain in the nation, but none of the Premier's up there have a plane. McLeod, Pasloski and Aariak all drive or take scheduled flights and charters into remote communities. Really? Again, respect! If anything happens to those flights, passengers are in the middle of nowhere and could die while waiting to be rescued. That's public service.