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Cost of "Victory Parade" Made Public.

The cheque for Canada's ceremony honouring the victorious NATO mission in Libya has come in at more than $800,000. Defence Minister Peter MacKay placed the total cost of the Parliament Hill ceremony at $850,000. Canadian Forces insisted the cost of the parade, complete with cannons and a flypast by CF-18s and other aircraft, was $812,000. The discrepancy in the figures is the result of a contingency fee built into the cost, according to Canadian Forces.

The Privy Council Office commissioned the ceremony on October 2, more than two weeks before the death of dictator Moammar Gadhafi. The original estimated cost to tax payers, provided by the Canadian Forces, was S396,000. That figure more than doubled once the cost of the flypast, originally billed to regular training hours, was factored in.

"All opportunities to fly, including ceremonial flypasts, provide valuable training for Royal Canadian Air Force personnel," a Canadian Forces representative told the Ottawa Citizen.

The victory ceremony culminated in Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard, commander of the NATO mission, being awarded the Meritorious Service Cross in Senate chambers by Governor-General David Johnston,

A larger plan for an en masse medal ceremony for Canadian Forces members deployed in support of the Libya mission was scrapped as the medals would not be ready until six months after the completion of the mission.

Critics, including NDP MP David Christopher son, compared the ceremony to George W. Bush's "Mission Accomplished" moment. Meanwhile, MacKay insists the ceremony acted as a valuable recruiting tool for the air force.

In recent weeks, cracks began to appear in the authority of Libya's National Transitional Council. Oil-rich eastern Libra has demanded some level of autonomy from the central government in Tripoli, while militia leaders in western Libya have hammered out their own tenuous alliance.

Seven CF-18s and one CC-150 Polaris tankey mark the end of Operation MOBILE by flying over the Parliament buildings in Ottawa on November 24, 2011 as part of the official "welcome home" parade recognizing those who dep;oyed in support of this seven-month operation. (MCPL JULIE BELISLE, DND)

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Title Annotation:Hits & misses; ceremony for North Atlantic Treaty Organization's mission in Libya
Publication:Esprit de Corps
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Apr 1, 2012
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