Stephen Harper's 2012 Indian limo tab rises to $1.2M

The final, official price tag for shipping Prime Minister Stephen Harper's armoured limos to India in 2012 is in and it's even higher than previously thought.

Military charged RCMP to fly 3 armoured cars to India

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's armoured Cadillac with Ontario plates is pictured in Dehli, India, in November 2012. RCMP documents released to CBC News show the costs to fly this vehicle and at least one more were more than $1.2 million. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

The final, official price tag for shipping Prime Minister Stephen Harper's armoured limos to India in 2012 is in and it's even higher than previously thought.

The RCMP said it paid $1,200,260 to the Canadian Forces to transport two armoured Cadillacs and a bulletproof SUV to India in November of last year. That cost was provided to CBC News in documents released under the Access to Information Act.

While in India, Harper visited Agra, Delhi, Chandigarh and Bangalore. On each stop, the RCMP provided the prime minister with an armoured car or SUV. CBC News also reported on the presence of a Canadian Forces C-17 in India, which the government later admitted was used to transport the cars from Canada.
A Royal Canadian Air Force C-17 sits on the tarmac in Bangalore, India, during Prime Minister Stephen Harper's November 2012 visit. The massive cargo plane was used to fly armoured vehicles from Canada for Harper's use during the trip. (James Cudmore/CBC News)

The question of whether the cars were even necessary dogged Harper during his news conferences in India, especially after it emerged that the Indian government had offered to provide cars.

At one point sources suggested the car offered by India for Harper's use was an unsuitable Hindustan Motors Ambassador car, a vintage-looking white sedan, several of which were seen in the PM's motorcade during the trip. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is frequently pictured travelling in an armoured BMW. And just a few weeks before Harper's visit, then Australian prime minister Julia Gillard was pictured during her own official visit travelling in a black Mercedes.

The RCMP evaluates these things and they make the operational decisions.- Andrew MacDougall, former Harper communications director.

Harper refused to address the issue himself during the trip, but his spokesman at the time, Andrew MacDougall, told reporters on the tour that the Prime Minister's Office had no role in the decision.

"The RCMP evaluates these things and they make the operational decisions," MacDougall said.

The RCMP is responsible for the prime minister's security and provides protection both at home and abroad.

"The deployment of RCMP resources are dictated by operational requirements, including public and officer safety considerations, and a threat assessment of the events/environments," RCMP Cpl. Lucy Shorey said in a written statement released in November 2012.

In January, the government released a different set of numbers for the use of a military C-17 aircraft to transport the limos.

Back then it said the total estimated cost was $1,061,448. The government based that number on 48.5 hours of flying time for one C-17, between Oct. 29 and Nov. 10, 2012.

The documents also show RCMP officers were paid $286,779 in overtime during the trip.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversationCreate account

Already have an account?