Broten to sell politicians’ exclusive airplanes

Bill Boyd alone racked up nearly $400,000 in flight costs, mostly to and from home

The Sask. Party is the last provincial government with a taxpayer-funded fleet of airplanes exclusively for the premier and cabinet ministers – and Cam Broten is planning to end that entitlement and sell the planes.

Making that announcement on Monday, Broten pointed to flight manifests that show Brad Wall’s senior minister, Bill Boyd, using the planes like a personal taxi. In the current term alone, Boyd billed the taxpayers for $245,847.12 just for personal flight mileage and at least $148,000 more for special flight privilege charges.

“It’s a beautiful drive from Regina to Eston – there’s no good reason for Mr. Boyd to require his own personal flight just to go to work in the morning,” said Broten. “But the perks of power have changed the Sask. Party. More and more, they’re in it for themselves. 

“It’s time to end the gravy plane for politicians.”

Broten will sell the airplanes, convert one to northern Air Ambulance

Broten committed Thursday to sell the airplanes used for “Executive Air” and end that program. Those planes are exclusively for the use of government politicians.

Broten also pledged to convert one to an air ambulance plane, to be stationed in northern Saskatchewan.

The estimated proceeds from the sale of the airplanes is $4 million.

Alberta was the last province to sell its fleet of airplanes for the premier and cabinet. In that province, the Auditor General said using the special airplanes instead of appropriate commercial or charter flights came at an extra cost to taxpayers of $4 million.

Boyd’s personal flights

Boyd’s Executive Air flights between October 2011 and June 2015, including deadheads to pick him up or drop him off, totalled more than 61,000 flight miles, or nearly 100,000 kilometers.

On 279 occasions, Boyd had the airplane come pick him up or drop him off at his home. For an airplane to take Boyd to the legislature, the plane flies empty from Regina to Boyd’s home and takes him to Regina. When he’s ready to go home, it flies him back, drops him off and flies back to Regina empty. This flight pattern, at government billing rates that do not represent the full cost of the flight, is about a $3,000 tab.

Boyd’s $400,000 in flights on the government's fleet of King Air planes does not include commercial or charter flights, most of Boyd’s out-of-province travel, all out-of-country travel or any ground transportation.

In one case, a government plane was in the middle of a trip from Regina to La Ronge and back. The plane left La Ronge, flew all the way to Eston to pick up Boyd and take him to Regina, only to return to La Ronge the next morning to complete its original trip.

In another wasteful example, in April 2014 Boyd had the plane take him from Saskatoon to Eston. The plane continued on to Regina empty, only to come back for Boyd the next morning to take him to Regina.

“Having a plane take you home for the night just to come back for you the next day – that’s pretty self-entitled behavior,” said Broten.

“Mr. Wall and Mr. Boyd need to realize they’re not rock stars, and it’s not their money they’re spending – it’s taxpayers’ money. Using a government executive plane like a personal chauffeur to go to and from work is no more acceptable than Mr. Wall’s order to pay $103,000 per acre for land valued at $30,000 per acre. All of that kind of behaviour stinks and it needs to end.”

The Sask. Party revealed this week that it’s running a deficit of at least $427 million.

“They’ve cut $51 million from our kids’ classrooms since March. They’re cutting the number of health care professionals in our hospitals. They’re even cutting funding for the most vulnerable among us. But they’re spending like taxpayers’ money grows on trees when it comes to their perks and entitlements, like fancy flights on an exclusive plane, or Mr. Wall’s personal travel scouts.

“They’re focused on themselves now, and everyday families just aren’t their priority anymore.”

 

Read the details here.

 

Sign the petition to end the use of tax payer funded airplanes by government politicians and Stop the Gravy Plane! http://www.saskndp.ca/stop_the_gravy_plane