What new jets did Canada buy for prime minister ?
The article only said Challenger jets. Anyone got pics?
"Safety concerns behind $100-million jet purchase"
OTTAWA - The government spent $100 million on new luxury jets because the old ones are no longer safe, the prime minister said Tuesday.
"Many times, I've been involved in some urgent landings with the one we have at this moment – many times," Jean Chrétien said.
But documents uncovered in access to information requests point only to a single case in which the prime minister's jet was involved in a serious situation. That was in June 2001, when it made an emergency landing in Stockholm.
The Challenger carrying Chrétien from a meeting with European Union leaders turned around 15 minutes after taking off from the Swedish city. The cabin pressure had suddenly dropped.
The Defence Department considered it an isolated incident, and said at the time the prime minister was never in any danger
Public Works Minister Ralph Goodale said on Tuesday the incident probably influenced the decision in March of this year to place a rush order for two new Challengers from Montreal-based Bombardier Inc. The order came to a total of more than $100 million.
"When those circumstances happen, it is not a pleasant experience, and therefore, safety considerations are no doubt part of the decision," he said.
The order was placed after senior officers in the Department of National Defence said the older jets were fine.
"Given that there were no identifiable problems or trends with this fleet … it is recommended that remedial action, such as fleet modernization or replacement is not warranted at this time," a report produced last winter said.
Opposition MPs have questioned the ethics of granting the large contract without a public tendering process, and wondered why the government can find money quickly for Challenger jets but can't replace aging military equipment such as the navy's Sea King helicopters.
But the prime minister continues to insist purchasing the two jets was not a waste of taxpayers' money.
"We needed them," Chrétien said. "And it was decided by the administration to have jets for the operation of the government."