Federal officials scrambled yesterday to rent a high-priced Russian plane to ship helicopters to Myanmar because they could not deliver on Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier's public pledge to provide Canada's new C-17s for the job, sources said.Doh!
As officials quickly discovered, none of the recently purchased cargo lift aircraft were immediately available, contrary to what Mr. Bernier promised in Rome two days ago.
Senior federal officials said Canada's military was caught off guard by Mr. Bernier's promise to airlift World Food Program helicopters into the cyclone-ravaged country or neighbouring Thailand.
"Canada is there to help the people of Burma and we have a C-17 available," Mr. Bernier said after meeting with the WFP's director. "We'll do this flight as quickly as possible."
But sources said the Department of National Defence could not move quickly enough to fulfill Mr. Bernier's vow, given that two of Canada's four C-17s are undergoing work and the other two are in prescheduled use.
Why yes, he certainly is going out with a bang...:)