Military plane’s mission to Mali will cost $11.7-million: general

Ottawa — The Globe and Mail

French soldiers look at a Canadian Air Force C-17 transport plane which carries French army equipment at the airport in Bamako. January 22, 2013. Canada is providing logistical aid to French forces fighting Islamist militants in the north of the country REUTERS/Eric Gaillard (MALI - Tags: CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT MILITARY) (ERIC GAILLARD/REUTERS)

The 30-day mission of a Canadian Forces cargo plane ferrying French supplies to Mali will cost $11.7-million, a senior general says.

Canada sent the C-17 heavy lift plane, with a massive cargo hold big enough to transport armoured vehicles, to help France mount its military mission to Mali.

The “incremental” cost of the mission – the amount over and above what the plane would cost if it did not go to Mali – will be an estimated $11.7-million, Major-General Jonathan Vance told the House of Commons foreign affairs committee. The full cost – counting fixed costs like a portion of the purchase price of the plane – will be $18.6-million, he said.

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The plane began ferrying French supplies and troops Jan. 17, and has made 13 trips since, Maj-Gen. Vance said. Its mission is slated to end Feb. 15.

Maj-Gen. Vance made the comments at hearings on Mali, the first chance MPs have had to discuss the crisis in the country, and Canada’s response, since France intervened three weeks ago.

After it emerged earlier this week that Canadian special forces are on the ground in Mali’s capital, Bamako, to protect diplomats, Maj-Gen Vance declined to provide details – but he said Canadian troops are protecting diplomats and the C-17, but not the private assets of Canadian companies, like mines.

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