OTTAWA - Liberals slammed the Conservative government Friday for sending the Canadian military packing from a secret base in Dubai after it bungled negotiations with the United Arab Emirates over airport landing slots.
"It is an unbelievable act of negligence, of arrogance and of incompetence by this Conservative government," said Liberal foreign affairs critic Bob Rae.
"We are not just talking about a stubbornness or petulance on the part of the government, we are talking about a $300-million price tag for the failure to negotiate in good faith on the base with the UAE and with all the commercial issues involving the UAE," he told reporters.
The Canadian Forces were left scrambling to pack up and ship equipment to Germany this week as the government waits to finalize a deal with another country to set up a new logistics and transit hub for troops in Afghanistan.
Rae said he can't believe a diplomatic solution wasn't found and blames Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon and Prime Minister Stephen Harper for failing to negotiate with the UAE in good faith.
"This is not just an inconvenience for our military, it is a massive expenditure of time and money," Rae said.
The UAE kicked the Canadian Forces off the base in Dubai after Canada refused to grant the UAE's national carriers more flights in and out of Canadian airports.
The federal government is refusing to say how much the last-minute move cost Canadian taxpayers, but reports suggest it will cost approximately $300 million.