When the Royal Canadian Air Force deployed over Libyan skies, its pilots bedded down safe and sound in hotels in Sicily.
In fact, all Canadian troops there in support of the UN-backed mission in Libya were booked into hotels — an initially ad hoc solution that lasted for nearly nine months and cost taxpayers millions of dollars.
CBC News has learned the Armed Forces likely spent about $11 million on hotel bills, which amounts to more than 10 per cent of the military's $103 million total cost of the mission.
One spreadsheet shows $7.7 million for accommodations for a few hundred troops in two or three locations on the island of Sicily.
NDP Defence critic Jack Harris says that's a hefty price.
"It was a temporary mission, and as a result you are going to get a temporary cost," he said. "But our understanding was — and the Canadian public was led to believe — that they had all the co-operation of the government of Italy, and the use of their base to run operations out of."
Cruise ship considered
Even though the military had secured access to an air base near Trapani, Sicily, it was unable to get military accommodations there.
It spent considerable effort looking at whether and where it could build a temporary base for Canadian troops. It also solicited cruise ship owners who might be prepared to lease a vessel to act as a floating camp.
Military planning documents obtained by CBC News show the military knew that option would be expensive especially if the mission carried on for more than just a couple of months, as it did.
But officials worried about the optics of the air force waging a war over Libya while bedding down on a cruise ship off Sicily.
A ship might make sense, one official wrote, "but we need to survive the Globe and Mail test."
In the end, the military decided not to rent a ship or build a camp, but to rent hotel rooms.
In May, the military said it had spent more than $30 million on food, transportation and accommodations for the mission.
On Wednesday, the military said it was unable to confirm the CBC's figures. Spokesman Daniel Blouin said the military was still working to break down the figures.
But, Blouin says, all those costs were incurred in an effort to free the people of Libya from the regime of former dictator Col. Moammar Gadhafi.
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1972: Outclassed By Idi Amin
Gaddafi was only 27 when he seized power in 1969. As young man, it took him a while to find his signature style. Catapulted on the world stage, he found himself mixing with the likes of Idi Amin, who sharply styled himself as a general. Gaddafi took a few style pointers and later smartened up his military garb with more striking accessories. (President of Uganda Idi Amin Dada (2nd-L) poses with Syrian President Hafez al-Assad on the left, Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat to Amin's right and Gaddafi in 1972 in Kampala during a summit.)
1975: Lounge Suit Lizard
Gaddafi kicks back in this nonchalant, Western-style lounge suit with black ankle length boots. The polo neck epitomises 1970s lounge chic. Gaddafi poses with Ahmadou Ahidjo, the President of Cameroon, on his state visit to Libya in 1975.
1982: Austrian Attire
March in Austria can get a bit nippy, so Gaddafi opted for the three-quarter length version of his military coat to keep his derriere out of the draft. Gaddafi visited the Austrian Chancellor, Bruno Kreisky in 1982.
1985: Casual In Corduroy
Gaddafi has got this leisure outfit just right - and he knows it. Padded corduroy jacket with press studs cuffs and a draw string collar were all the rage back in 1985. Gaddafi in Libya, February 1985.
1986: Errant Plumber
The utilitarian body warmer with matching trousers, offset by a emerald green shirt, is a look few can pull off. His philosophical stance and nearby globe save him from looking as though he had come to fix the pipes. Gaddafi addresses journalists in 1986 in Tripoli, during a meeting of "The High Command of The Revolutionary Forces of The Arab Nation".
1988: Doing The Congo
Gaddafi kept it traditional African when Laurent-Desire Kabila came to visit from the Congo. It was Gaddafi's subtle way of entering his quest for domination-of-all-of-Africa phase. Gaddafi receives Democratic Republic of Congo President Laurent-Desire Kabila on visit to Libya 17 April in 1988
1989: Stayin' Alive
You can tell by the way he uses his walk he's a ladies man...The sleek outline is perfectly offset by the little heels to add just the right amount of stature on the red carpet. To the right is a young Saif al-Islam, Gaddafi's son, going through the difficult boy to (mad)man stage in an ill-fitting suit. Gaddafi review troops in 1989 upon their arrival to Belgrade.
1992: Wheeler Dealer
The heavily-patterned open-necked shirt under the double-breasted suit gives the Colonel the air of a used car salesman. It probably was not the look he was aiming for, but he maintains his signature effortless, natural style air. He's a dictator - who's going to tell him it's not working? Gaddafi at the construction of the Great Man Made River Project in Libya, in 1992
2001: Tangled Up In Blue
Gaddafi causes a splash in a melange of cool blue and green shades in a silky fabric that was surely the envy of the other delegates. Gaddafi attends the opening session of the Arab summit in Amman in 2001.
2002: Purple Reign
Perhaps inspired by the artist formally known as Prince, Gaddafi goes for on-trend colour blocking, keeping it lilac from head to toe. A striking look that leaves his fellow statesman looking square and sartorially unimaginative. Gaddafi poses with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, during celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Egypt revolution in Cairo in 2002
2007: Brown for Blair
This is one of the fashionista's few fashion blunders in the noughties. With the passing of time, his figure isn't what it was, and these draped trousers are unforgiving on the thighs. The golden sunglasses do not do enough to distract from the problems around the waistline. Gaddafi meets Blair in 2007 in Sirte, Libya.
2007: Jazzy Print
The African continent print is a bold move, but , but one that surely impressed his fellow African statesmen as they took the compliment. I'm sure Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy would love to see David Cameron in a Europe-print number at the next summit. Gaddafi receives a delegation of various international associations for talks about PanAfrica in 2007.
2008: Brave Face-Print Shirt
Wearing his loyalties on his chest. A quirky individualistic take on the traditional band t-shirt. Gaddafi during a press conference in Tripoli, Libya. Gaddafi was urging African leaders to unite in a single government to stop foreign powers taking control of the continent.
2009: Pimped-Out General Gear
Nothing says 'I've still got it' like some golden tassles and a chest full of badges. This is the last word in tyrannical chic. Gaddafi at a parade organised in Tripoli, Libya, on September 1st, 2009 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of his coup.
Rebel fighters react after entering into Muammar Gaddafi's compound in Tripoli.
Rebel fighters react after entering into Gaddafi's compound in Tripoli.
Rebel fighters gesture as they stamp on a part of a statue of Gaddafi inside the main compound.
A rebel fighter gestrures as he stands on a monument inside the compound.
A rebel fighter pours water on his head inside Gaddafi's compound.
A rebel fighter climbs on a statue inside Gaddafi's compound.
An injured rebel fighter gives the victory sign, after fighting just outside Gaddafi's compound.
An injured rebel fighter lies on the ground following fighting just outside the compound of Gaddafi's compound.
Rebel fighters kick the head of a Gaddafi after entering the Libyan leader's compound.