Skip to comments.[Canadian PM] Harper takes flak over plane's red, white, and blue paint job
Posted on 06/08/2013 9:41:53 AM PDT by rickmichaels
OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper is getting flak over what critics say is a partisan new paint job given to the military plane that flies him to overseas events.
The Royal Canadian Air Force recently had RCAF-01, the specially outfitted CC-150 Polaris used by the prime minister, in the shop for a "heavy maintenance" checkup, a $2.5-million routine it goes through every six years.
The plane normally gets a new paint job during this checkup, but instead of coming out of the shop with a fresh coat of its dull, nondescript greenish grey, it came out with a sparkling red, white, and blue paint job with lots of swooshes and swoops.
Using red, white, and blue paint on the plane cost $50,000 more than the old paint would.
And it didn't matter to the opposition that the red, white, and blue of RCAF-01 happens to be the official colours of the Royal Canadian Air Force. All they could see was the red, white, and blue of the Conservative Party of Canada.
"I don't think we've ever seen a government in Canadian history that so readily blurred the lines between government money and party money," NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair told reporters Friday. "The colours of the plane, the whole detailing, is clearly patterned on the Conservative Party."
In the House of Commons, Liberal MP John McCallum kept it up.
"I did not think the government could come up with one action that would waste money, hurt the Canadian Forces, and inflate the prime minister's ego all at once." he said.
Conservative MPs defended the plane's new livery.
"This repainting (was) part of the routine maintenance. It is a small proportion of the overall cost. And it is done with a view to promoting Canada, promoting Canada's interest abroad, in our best traditions, as we have always done," said Conservative MP Chris Alexander.
Harper will put his freshly painted jet to its first use next week to take cabinet ministers, aides, and a group of Parliamentary Press Gallery reporters to Europe, where he will touch down in London, Paris and Dublin before finishing up at the annual G8 summit to be held this year in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland.
While he's London, Harper will give a speech to the U.K. Parliament, an honour not afforded a Canadian prime minister since William Lyon Mackenzie King in 1944.
Old and New Paint Jobs:
I don’t know how to spell it, or even what it means, but the first thing that comes to mind is...
Suc Le Bleu...
Oh the tender mercies, painting a plane like this. How dare they?
Change a few decals and they can lease it to Hillary! for the 2016 campaign stint.
The new paint job looks alot better.
Official RCAF colors?
Well gee, can't have that.
Maybe they should strip the nice paint job off and go back to the drab one (/s).
Sure does. No confusing it for a “USA - American” plane. Literally covered in Maple leaves — LOL.
If the plane had simply been repainted the same dull colors, the cost would have been fine.
Different colors? Now it’s a scandal. Total B. S.
Looks like a 737.
The original paint job was ugly and uninspiring.
Perhaps the liberals could get themselves an old Fokker Tri-Motor to make themselves feel better.
I’m not so fond of the new paint job as I think the old was horrific. Dull. Dull. Dull. That’s no way to promote Canada. Harper was right to bring visibility to his country through its head of state’s designated aircraft.
Sacrebleu: An old French profanity meant as a cry of surprise or anger. It originated from the swear words “sacré bleu,” a Marian oath, referring to the color (i.e., “sacred blue”) associated with Mary, mother of Jesus.
Why can’t we get upset over $50K? Seems like it has to be in the billions before anyone cares in this country.
I guess I’m dense. I don’t get the problem. The aircraft looks really good and doesn’t look like it is headed for the aircraft graveyard!!
Similar in size to a 767.
I’m not a Canadian so my opinion certainly doesn’t mean much but to me the colorful version is better.Although Canada’s a relatively small country (population-wise) you’d think that the Prime Minister would have one or more aircraft dedicated to him as do many Western leaders.When the President/Prime Minster of a country flies somewhere,particularly to a foreign country,you’d think that something a little more lively than the first aircraft pictured would be better “PR” for the country.
Actually, Queen Elizabeth is Canada’s head of state.
Thanks for the background Rick. I had heard it used in the context you explained, so I was pretty sure it worked here.
I appreciate the response.
oops .. and I knew that !
The wings say "Airbus" to me.I've never seen Boeing place those "things" (don't know what they're called..I'm not an aeronautical engineer) on the bottom of their wings.
Does Bruce Dickinson pilot that bird?
Put a maple leaf or two on this baby and your PM would turn some heads arriving in Washington,London or Beijing!
Yeah, Dickenson is multi talented. I believe he’s also one of the top rated fencers in the world.
He was rescuing people trapped in Lebanon during the last round of heavy fighting.
Is it rusted?
I like the new paint job. Very snappy and a good ad for Canada.
Now that’s a bad@ss jet.
Yah,I should have specified that it needed a cleanup before the maple leafs were applied.
It’s an A320 variant.
This has been a nearly 4 year long dispute; the present paint scheme is slightly updated from the current vip paint scheme, but the dispute wasn't over the extra cost of the paint job, it was over a plane that is designated for multiple missions, including missions into combat territory, where the (politicians) military wanted a lo vis paint scheme.
In reality, they are up in arms not over a 50k additional cost of painting, but in the effective seizing of a military asset for use by politicians. The silly argument that it is in the colors of a particular political party is sideshow stuff to try to make an old dispute appear fresh and relevant.
As others have said, this paint scheme is a better image for Canada for foreign dignitary visits. But the paint and the internal upgrades makes this a single mission aircraft, likely unfit for moving troops in battle areas... Well, maybe not really, since when this plane is used, the US is typically using commercial charters, which don't have lo vis paint schemes. And some of the upgrades have made the plane more survivable in an engagement scenario, and neither paint scheme was effective against the biggest danger in a combat arena.
I’m surprised that AF1 doesn’t have a Kenyan Flag on it. Or the Obama symbol.
The old paint job was RCAF standard for troop transports; RCAF-01 was acquired as part of a fleet of transport A/C.
Obama was born in Mobassalulu.
A ‘camo’ look for troop transport is understandable, but not for transporting the PM on international junkets that always involve ‘selling’ his country.
The A320 is a single aisle, not a widebody like the A310, similar in size to a 737.
Looks like a flying turd.
Canada is in fantastic shape economically. We are awash in oil and gas and other resources. PM Harper is doing an outstanding job of managing the country and its finances. Our biggest problem is getting all that oil out to the market.
The opposition parties are populated by idiots and lunatics. They are: the left, the far left, and the separatists who think they are going to leave Canada, be better off, and get paid to do so. They have absolutely nothing to complain about. So they complain about a fantastic paint job on a plane that will probably be a prototype for every RCAF plane that gets repainted.
That's about it.
Thanks. Labeau on Hogan’s Heroes used to say it quite often.
My spousal unit is a Maritimer. I showed her this and her opinion is not the cost but that the Pea Soupers were not consulted from a fashion sense.
Paint it like a plate of poutine and all will be resolved.
The hammer & sickle would be even more fitting.
Among my most vivid airport memories was,while leaving the old Kai Tak Airport after having just arrived for my first visit to Hong Kong,looking up and seeing a bright orange Braniff 747 just about scraping the nearby rooftops as it approached the runway.I managed to shoot a picture of it but have since lost it.This was something like 30 years ago.
Yep. The old paint job looks awful for a plane that has to make diplomatic trips. Imagine AF1 painted dark grey.
Remind me to never go there.