Up in smoke

30 Jan

“It’s just plain stupid,” said Ajai Sahni, executive director of the Institute for Conflict Management in Delhi and a leading expert on terrorism in South Asia. “From a pure security perspective, it’s money down the toilet.”

Sahni was referring to today’s reports that Canadian taxpayers paid more than one million dollars to fly two of Prime Minister Harper’s personal armoured vehicles (a Cadillac and a Chevrolet Suburban) to and from India during his official visit last November. That works out to a shipping bill of about $30,000 an hour.

The Indian Government routinely provides visiting dignitaries with armoured cars and security personnel.

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews said the RCMP had determined that India didn’t have a single appropriate armoured vehicle. When asked what “appropriate” meant, Toews replied that he wasn’t allowed to say. “You’ll just have to trust me on this,” he said.

As the political storm over wasted public funds escalated, other senior officials came to Harper’s defence.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, taking a breather from his usual meddling in Middle Eastern politics, said he found Opposition complaints “bizarre”.

“Look, you really can’t be too careful when you’re trying to protect an individual like Mr. Harper. You never know when he’s really going to piss someone off.”

“Besides,” he added, “Indian officials insisted the Prime Minister visit Mumbai. Do I really have to remind you people what Mumbai used to be called? Bombay. That’s right — BOMBay. What is it you snivelling peaceniks don’t get about this?”

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