Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Delegation joining Harper in Israel, courtesy of taxpayers

At least 30 will accompany PM and his entourage

  • Print

OTTAWA -- Taxpayers will be footing the bill for an entourage of at least 30 business people and community leaders to accompany Prime Minister Stephen Harper on his Middle East visit starting this weekend, his spokesman says.

Air travel and some accommodation costs will be paid out of government coffers, although full details of the final tally are not yet available, Jason MacDonald said Friday.

There is also as yet no complete list of all of those who will be accompanying Harper on the trip, MacDonald said.

But MacDonald said the list includes at least 30 people. An unknown number of other people are flying to Israel on their own dime.

"It's still in flux. It is a significant delegation," he said.

"As far as who pays, typically when people are invited to fly with the prime minister on a trip like this, as part of the delegation, the government of Canada will cover the costs for the travel."

MacDonald said a cost estimate was not available. Media organizations travelling with the prime minister are paying $8,000 a head, a price tag that includes ground transport and access to communication facilities.

Harper's delegation will include business leaders, and leaders from various communities, including cultural communities, MacDonald said.

They were invited because they will be taking part in business meetings and cultural events on the trip, he added.

Harper will also bring a sizable entourage of his cabinet for portions of the trip, including Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, Employment Minister Jason Kenney, Industry Minister James Moore and Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver.

Development Minister Christian Paradis and Trade Minister Ed Fast are also part of the delegation, MacDonald said.

"Tomorrow I'll be joining the prime minister as we depart for Israel," Paradis writes in an email distributed to Conservative supporters Friday to promote a special section of Harper's website dedicated to the trip.

"I don't want you to miss out on this historic trip to the Holy Land."

Other "caucus colleagues" will be on the plane, but MacDonald was unable to name which other Conservative MPs or senators might be making the trip.

Harper is to spend a week in Israel, the West Bank and Jordan. He will meet Israeli and Palestinian leaders, as well as the king of Jordan.

Harper is also to address the Israeli parliament, known as the Knesset -- the first Canadian prime minister to do so. He will also receive an honorary degree from Tel Aviv University.

Harper will promote commercial relations, as well as peace and security in the region, said MacDonald.

The ongoing Syrian civil war, the Iran nuclear crisis and the Middle East peace process will be on the agenda.

It's Harper's first visit to Israel since winning power in 2006, though he wasted little time in shifting his government's Middle East policy toward the Jewish state.

In the summer of the 2006, while Israeli warplanes were pounding Lebanon after Hezbollah militants kidnapped an Israeli soldier, Harper characterized the response as "measured."

That comment angered Canadians of Arab and Muslim descent, and was widely viewed by analysts as marking a significant shift away from Canada's traditional role as an honest broker in the Middle East.

Harper has also created a warm relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has called Harper a friend of Israel.

Harper's unwavering support of Israel was on full display again Friday when his spokesman sparred at length with reporters over Canada's policy toward Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 18, 2014 A30

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Bowman questioned on financial solutions for city

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Horses enjoy a beautiful September morning east of Neepawa, Manitoba  - Standup Photo– Sept 04, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS 060711 Chris Pedersen breeds Monarch butterflies in his back yard in East Selkirk watching as it transforms from the Larva or caterpillar through the Chrysalis stage to an adult Monarch. Here an adult Monarch within an hour of it emerging from the Chrysalis which can be seen underneath it.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you think e-cigarettes should be banned by the school division?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google