MONTREAL - A luxury bus being used this week by U.S. President Barack Obama and built in part by a Quebec-based firm is causing quite a stir.
One prominent tabloid has chastised the president for using Canadian-made transportation during his economic recovery tour.
A New York Post piece on the bus ran with the headline: "Canucklehead Obama bus-ted!" There was also a cheeky insertion of a Canadian flag in a picture of the bus.
Canadian company Prevost says it is aware of reports but the company is keeping mum on the affair.
Steve Ziegler, the director of business development for Prevost, says the company only designed the outer shell of the luxury bus.
The interior was mainly done by a company in Tennessee and the U.S. Secret Service — which ordered the bus — put in a few finishing touches.The Republicans criticized Obama's choice of transport, saying that the President should've chosen a made-in-America product. "He should spend more time in the White House doing his job rather than riding around on his Canadian bus," said Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on a conference call to reporters. But the Chicago Tribune reported that former president George W. Bush also used a bus from the same Quebec manufacturer during his 2004 campaign.
The Post reports that the vehicle is modified to carry all the president's equipment, including codes to the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
But the Quebec-based bus-maker doesn't have anything to do with things like the so-called nuclear footballs.
"We just build the shells and we don't always know where it's going to the end user," Ziegler said.
"We're not really at liberty to talk about them, because it's Secret Service."
Prevost's VIP H3-45 is often used by rock stars on tour.
The jet-black behemoth with tinted windows has garnered attention for its elaborate look.
The $1.1 million bus is one of two ordered by the Secret Service and will be used during the upcoming U.S. presidential elections.
In the past, the service has had to lease buses and retrofit them for that purpose.The bus likely has similar security features to the President's armoured limousine, writes the Christian Science Monitor, which include protection from chemical attacks, a fire suppression system, armour plating, night vision cameras and even shotguns. The new vehicle even has a nickname, Ground Force One, after the plane that traditionally carries the U.S. President. With files from The Huffington Post Canada