Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Sask politicians using government aircraft as personal mini-vans


REGINA: Saskatchewan politicians took more than 2,038 flights on government aircraft between April 2002 and March 2005, averaging nearly 58 flights per Cabinet Minister, according to documents obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) through Freedom of Information.

Buckley Belanger is most frequent flyer, Sonntag flies solo
Of all Saskatchewan Cabinet Ministers, Buckley Belanger is the top flyer. During the three years surveyed, Belanger took a total of 261 flights, or 7.25 flights per month or a trip every four days. Maynard Sonntag came in a close second with 247 flights, nearly seven flights per month.
Of Sonntag’s 261 flights, 68 were solo trips (Sonntag and flight crew were the only passengers) to his constituency of Meadow Lake.

“Buckley Belanger has been recognized by the CTF as the King of the Skies in the past, but Belanger’s consumption of aviation fuel continues unabated,” said CTF Saskatchewan Director David Maclean. “Perhaps it would be cheaper if we moved the entire department of Northern Affairs to Prince Albert.”

Eric Cline bringing up the rear
Third place goes to Industry and Resources Minister Eric Cline with a total of 189 flights or just over five flights per month. The vast majority of Cline’s flights were to Saskatoon and back (Eric Cline represents the constituency of Saskatoon Massey Place.) Cline also took 17 solo flights. All but one of these flights were to Saskatoon.

“If the key to growing the Saskatchewan economy was found in a King Air 350, Eric Cline would have Saskatchewan roaring,” added MacLean. “It seems like a lot, considering the premier took only 60 flights over the same three-year period.”

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