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HomeBusinessPlane carrying Prime Minister to Vancouver parade burned more than 13,000 litres of fuel

Plane carrying Prime Minister to Vancouver parade burned more than 13,000 litres of fuel

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11Bob Mackin

The Canadian Forces jet that brought Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Vancouver for the Chinatown Lunar New Year parade needed more than 13,000 litres of aviation fuel.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at Vancouver’s 2023 Chinatown Parade (PMO/Twitter)

The itinerary shows Trudeau was on the ground in Vancouver for only four hours on a trip that cost taxpayers an estimated $58,000. 

Receipts released via access to information by the Department of National Defence show 6,400.3 litres of aviation fuel were pumped into the Bombardier CC-144D Challenger jet, which is called Can Force 1 when Trudeau is aboard, on Jan. 21 at the Ottawa Shell Aerocentre. The cost was not shown on the receipt. 

The itinerary showed a 7:48 a.m. departure from Ottawa Jan. 22 and the breakfast menu included crepes, espresso, overnight oats and fresh fruit. Light snacks were served closer to the end of the flight. A receipt showed ingredients were sourced on a $425.97 shopping trip to a Loblaws grocery store in Ottawa. 

After the plane’s Vancouver International Airport arrival at 9:46 a.m., a motorcade whisked Trudeau to Chinatown, where he met with Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim before marching in the Lunar New Year parade with Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, B.C. Premier David Eby, Chinese consul-general Yang Shu and other local politicians. 

After his parade appearance, Trudeau returned to the airport, where the jet was waiting. Signature Flight Support had replenished its tank with 6,735 litres of aviation fuel. 

The itinerary listed a 2:05 p.m. departure and 9:54 p.m. landing in Toronto. Trudeau had a photo op scheduled the next morning before beginning the Liberal caucus retreat in Hamilton. The passenger report showed only one seat occupied for the return leg to Ottawa late Jan. 22, Trudeau advance travel aide Benjamin Sparkes.

The entourage for the Vancouver trip also included executive assistant James Armbruster, press secretary Alison Murphy and four other PMO staffers, including a videographer, photographer and digital media specialist. 

Inside a Bombardier Challenger jet.

Because of the quick turnaround, the jet left Vancouver with three new Canadian Forces crewmembers who had traveled to Vancouver by a commercial flight a day earlier. 

The itinerary showed a total flight time for the jet’s mission of 10.4 hours, but the documents did not include the total cost to fuel, staff and operate the flight. 

Before the pandemic, records released under access to information about trips in July and August 2019 showed that the average hourly cost to operate Trudeau’s flights on the Challenger jet was $5,636. 

Based on that figure, the Ottawa to Vancouver to Toronto trip’s cost would have been around $58,614. 

Carson Binda, the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation B.C. director, called it “incredibly hypocritical for the Prime Minister to be telling the rest of us to tighten our belts” when it comes to spending on fossil fuels.

“It really speaks to the culture of wasting taxpayers money that exists in the Prime Minister’s Office,” Binda said. “We’ve seen it with him spending $6,000-a-night on a hotel room in London, we saw it with him blowing tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars on a trip to Jamaica.”

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