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$1 million to send Stephen Harper’s armoured cars to India


Bruce Campion-Smith/Toronto Star file photo When Prime Minister Stephen Harper arrived in New Delhi on Nov. 5, 2012, the armoured Cadillac that typically shuttles him around Ottawa was waiting at the end of the red carpet.

OTTAWA—It cost more than $ 1 million to transport two armoured vehicles to India to shuttle Prime Minister Stephen Harper around during his November visit, a new document shows.

In an unprecedented move, the RCMP brought an armoured Cadillac and SUV to India to transport Harper in safety during his visit to four Indian cities last fall.

The move is a break from tradition since Harper has previously relied on vehicles provided locally when he travels abroad.

Now, the federal government has revealed the cost of flying the two vehicles to India onboard an air force C-17 transport jet — $ 1 million for the operation of the jet and another $ 31,356 to cover the cost of the military personnel during the trip.

The C-17 left Canada on Oct. 29, 2012 — six days before Harper arrived in the country — and returned Nov. 10, 2012, a day after his final stop. During its time away, the C-17 flew 48.5 hours, according to a document tabled in Parliament on Tuesday.

The vehicle transfer came to light at Harper’s first stop in Agra, India, when a Chevy Suburban SUV with Ontario licence plates was used to take the prime minister and his wife, Laureen, to the Taj Mahal.

Later in the day, as Harper arrived in New Delhi, a Cadillac was waiting at the bottom of the steps as he exited the aircraft.

The two vehicles were then moved to subsequent stops in Chandigarh and Bangalore.

At the time, RCMP officials declined to comment on the prime minister’s security arrangements or the specific reason they flew his vehicles to India.

However, other officials privately pointed the finger at the hosts, saying local Indian authorities refused to guarantee adequate transportation for the prime minister during his movements within the country.

thestar.com – News