William H.A. Willbond MSM, CD

DID HE LAUGH AND SNEER UPON THE FLOOR?

Pete laughed and sneered upon the floor?
About the claw back, Canadian veterans abhor.
Sir it does not pay to be rude to MP Peter Stoffer.
For all of us veterans, he has a great Bill to offer.

Canadian People watch the things that you do.
It is best to be honest, to speak and act true!
Any nefarious actions will come back to haunt you.
The press digs up the dirt – it’s a thing that they do.

Bless you for the work you did in Afghanistan.
A task much admired by each woman and man.
Who serve this great Nation before going to pension.
Help us to fix the claw back, avoid further dissention.

Author’s Note: Looks like the Minister wasn’t quite truthful in Parliament?

Emails Contradict Defence Minister’s Story On Fishing Trip Helicopter Airlift

Canadian Defence Minister Peter MacKay
Chris Wattie/Reuters – Defence Minister Peter MacKay has been criticized for apparently using a search-and-rescue helicopter to pick him up from a private fishing trip.
Postmedia News Dec 1, 2011 – 3:24 PM ET
By Lee Berthiaume

OTTAWA — Internal emails have confirmed Defence Minister Peter MacKay used a search-and-rescue helicopter last year to pick him up from a private fishing trip so he could get to an announcement in Ontario and that he was not participating in a training mission, as had been suggested by his staff.

In fact, the emails indicate the training mission explanation was intentionally trotted out as a way to cover for MacKay’s private use of the Cormorant, which military officials had warned could generate negative media attention if discovered.

“When the guy who’s fishing at the fishing hole next to the minister sees the big yellow helicopter arrive and decides to use his cellphone to video the minister getting on board and post it on YouTube,” Col. Bruce Ploughman of 1 Canadian Air Division Headquarters wrote on July 6, 2010, “who will be answering the mail on that one?

The morning of July 6, 2010, officials within the Defence Department were notified that a helicopter airlift would be required for the minister at a location, referred to as Burnt Rattle, near Gander, N.L.

“(MacKay) is currently at this location but must be in London, ON for an announcement at noon on 9 July 10,” reads the email from Col. Frances Allen. “Thus he needs to be at Gander Airport to start his flight 0800.”

Allen asked if search-and-rescue personnel in the area would be able to pick up the minister, saying the alternative was a 90-minute boat ride and a 30-minute drive to get to the Gander airport.

The note does not say why MacKay could not have left the day before to catch his flight or why the two-hour alternative was unacceptable.

Cormorant search-and-rescue helicopter
Postmedia News files
A Cormorant search-and-rescue helicopter
One partially blacked out email from a Maj. SC Reid of the Gander search-and-rescue squadron said MacKay “is fishing,” adding: “I am confident we will be able to accommodate on Fri morning. The weather looks good. Let’s just hope for a quiet SAR night.”

At one point, while military officials were debating whether the helicopter could land at Burnt Rattle or whether MacKay would need to be winched up, Allen indicated this wasn’t the first time the minister had been in a Cormorant in the area.

“I am told by the (minister’s) staff that last year the (minister) was flying near this location, and the pilot landed there (at a spot near the shore, perhaps a short distance away),” he wrote. “That being said, apparently that pilot has now been posted from Gander to Comox, so he is no longer at your (squadron), so he can’t pinpoint the location.”

Col. Ploughman in Winnipeg then raised concerns about the optics of picking the minister up from a fishing trip with a military helicopter.

“If we are tasked to do this we of course will comply,” he added. “(G)iven the potential for negative press though, I would likely recommend against it, especially in view of the fact that the Air Force receives (or at least used to) regular ATIs specifically targeting travel on (Canadian Forces) aircraft by ministers.”

The next day, July 7, 2010, Lt.-Col. Chris Bulls said the “mission will be under the guise” of search-and-rescue training.

Questions about MacKay’s use of the Cormorant first surfaced this past September. At the time, one of MacKay’s spokesman dismissed suggestions the minister had been using the helicopter for personal reasons.

“After cancelling previous efforts to demonstrate their search-and-rescue capabilities to Minister MacKay over the course of three years, the opportunity for a search-and-rescue demonstration finally presented itself in July of 2010,” Jay Paxton told media. “As such, Minister MacKay cut his personal trip to the area short to participate in this Cormorant exercise.”

Posted in: Canada, News, Politics Tags: Canadian Forces, Canadian Politics, Conservative Party of Canada, Cormorant, helicopter, Liberal Party of Canada, Military and Defense Policy, New Democratic Party of Canada, Peter MacKay

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