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article imageOp-Ed: Canadian Prime Minister Harper brings armoured Cadillac to India

By Ken Hanly     Nov 5, 2012 in Politics
New Delhi - Stephen Harper, the Canadian Prime Minister, shipped two armoured cars to India for the use of himself and his entourage, including an armoured Cadillac.
While visiting the city of Agra, Harper was driven around in a black Sport Utility Vehicle with Ontario licence plates. No doubt this would be a novelty in India! When he arrived in New Delhi, he was transferred to a black armoured Cadillac sedan.
When reporters asked about the reason for shipping these armoured vehicles to India for the visit, the Prime Minister's Office referred them to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Spokesperson, Cpl. Lucy Shorey responded with a statement:"The deployment of RCMP resources are dictated by operational requirements, including public and officer safety considerations, and a threat assessment of the events/environments.For security reasons, details on the security plans will not be discussed."
The prime minister has also used his own vehicles in visits to Haiti and Afghanistan. However, in a recent trip to Kinshasa in the Congo he was seen being driven around in a Toyota Forerunner that did not seem to be from Canada. Ordinarily, on his Indian visit, he would be driven around in a Hindustan Motors Ambassador. Probably the government provided transportation would be free, but traveling in imported armoured cars no doubt will cost the Canadian taxpayer a pretty penny.
Perhaps Harper is trying to keep up with the U.S. president. Barack Obama flies in his own armoured vehicles when he goes on foreign trips. He used them even when he visited Canada back in 2009.
Andrew MacDougall, spokesperson for the prime minister, said that the total price for these security measures will be disclosed once it is known. He said: "I don't have the costs in front of me. We won't know that for a while."
Security for Harper was tightened even during trick or treating . Children had to pass through metal detectors and leave their plastic swords etc. at the checkpoint at the end of the drive before getting their goodies at the Prime Minister's residence at 24 Sussex Drive in Ottawa.
While in India, Harper at a business round-table in New Delhi, touted 14 new trade and investment agreements which he claimed "demonstrate the increasing depth of the Canada-India relationship." International Trade Minister Ed Fast said that $2.5 billion in new business deals with India are planned although some are still in the form of memoranda of understanding. Harper has been trying to diversity Canadian exports so as to take advantage of developing Asian markets. He has also encouraged Asian capital to invest in Canada.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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