Beefed up rides for RCMP protective detail

The Mounties that escort Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be soon rolling in newly overhauled wheels.

A contract disclosure shows that the RCMP spent just over $1 million to armor five 2009 Chevy Suburbans, with huge V-8s engines creep along at 16 MPG without the heavy bullet-protection. The contact includes materials, ancillary equipment and labour to plate the SUVs with an unspecified type of armor.

The work was performed by Illinois-based company, Scalleta Maloney Armoring.

The company explains:

An armored vehicle gives travelers the critical extra time needed at the moment of attack to escape with their lives.

Unlike in films, armored vehicles do not deflect bullets without damage, and do not usually have offensive weaponry. They are designed for defensive use, to withstand a certain type and number of hits fired from a certain type of firearm at a certain speed.

There’s no indication the SUVs were armored in response to any specific threat.  Harper, incidentally, usually travels in a limousine escorted by the Mounties in the SUVs, which are a regular sight on Parliament Hill.

When the RCMP added SUVs to the motorcade in 2006, an NDP MP said the vehicles sent the wrong message.

“We’ve got this gas-guzzling behemoth touring around with the prime minister,” said Pat Martin. “It looks tough, it looks quasi-military. Is that the kind of image the prime minister wants to project?”

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