The Conservative government has kept the pricey Challenger jet fleet mostly grounded since taking office, leaving Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean as the most frequent flier of the government aircraft.
Defence Department logs obtained through Access to Information show most cabinet ministers opted for commercial flights over government planes for business travel.
Jean used the plane to make official visits across Canada and to Italy, Haiti and El Salvador. Only one trip was for personal travel -- a family March-break trip to the Bahamas -- requiring the jet to make two separate trips to return the aircraft to Ottawa and go back to fetch Jean's family a week later.
Jean's spokesman Randy Mylyk said the GG rides the Challenger for security reasons.
"It's always been a security advantage; the RCMP has requested domestic and international travel by the Challenger," he said. "One can ultimately override, I would say, and go against the recommendation of the RCMP. But no, that is not done -- both the prime minister and the Governor General follow the security recommendations of the RCMP."
Underlying the heavy use of official perquisites is a sense of powerlessness. Constitutionally, our governor general is all-powerful; practically, she is a reine faineante.
Those with real power, don't need to convince themselves of their power by accumulating all sorts of gaudy trappings.
Thus why the most garish displays of excess are to be found amongst third world kleptocrats and Communist apparatchiks, while their first world counterparts are usually much more restrained in their display of material wealth and pomp.
Source: Ottawa Sun