The rich and famous love their private jets. And it turns out, so does B.C. Premier Christy Clark.
The premier has dropped more than a half-million dollars on private planes in the past five years.
“[With] this premier we’ve seen a significant increase in the use of private jets and, frankly, at a time when she’s quite happy to claw back bus passes from people on disability,” NDP opposition house leader Mike Farnworth said.
According to Freedom of Information documents obtained by journalist Bob Mackin (which can be viewed here and here), many of the flights were between Vancouver and Kelowna, where Clark is the MLA for Westside-Kelowna.
“Seventeen times she’s gone on chartered jets to Kelowna since the summer of 2013. Almost of all of those trips, except for two, were same-day trips,” Mackin said.
Clark faced criticism for her spending in 2012 when she defended credit card bills for pricey restaurant meals and expensive hotels.
Past premiers, including Gordon Campbell, have used private jets. Campbell’s tab was never disclosed.
Then there was Alberta Premier Alison Redford. Her massive spending on private jets helped lead to her downfall.
“When premiers get out of touch and develop what you might call Imperial Premier Syndrome,” Farnworth said. “You see what happened in Alberta with Alison Redford. It sounds like from the amount of private jets the premier is taking here that we’re getting a bit of Imperial Premier Syndrome. Maybe that’s a good reason for Air Christy to be grounded.”
In a statement, Ben Chin, the executive director of communications and issues management with the premier’s office, said:
“The Premier is required to travel throughout B.C. and commercial flights are booked when available and efficient to do so. Because of the demands on her time, we do charter flights when necessary as long as the per passenger cost is as close to commercial rates as possible.
“The Premier’s monthly travel costs are posted publicly and have remained consistent over her time in office.”
– With files from Catherine Urquhart
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