Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre says the union representing WestJet flight crew owes him an apology for attempting to stifle his “freedom of speech.”
“The crew invited me to give a speech,” Mr. Poilievre said during a Sept. 14 press conference in Vancouver. “And they did that multiple times.”
While on a flight from Quebec City to Calgary on the evening of Sept. 11, following the Conservative Party convention, Mr. Poilievre delivered a speech to passengers using the airplane’s public announcement system.
The speech, which lasted around 45 seconds, was captured on video and circulated on social media. It subsequently drew the ire of the president of CUPE Alberta’s local 4070, who lambasted the airline for permitting a politician to deliver a politically-charged speech, and said the crew weren’t consulted in the decision.
The union has demanded that both WestJet and Mr. Poilievre apologize for the incident.
“WestJet’s own work rules state clearly that no one other than operating crew are to use the PA system.”
WestJet’s CEO Alexis von Hoenbroech announced in a social media post that the company will revisit its policy, and that the airline is non-partisan.
Mr. Poilievre’s speech, which at times drew applause and laughter, took a veiled shot at the Liberals' governance.
“This is your captain’s warning, a little bit of turbulence, but it will only last about two years,” he said. "At which time we’ll have a totally new crew and pilot in charge of the plane. We’ll pierce through the storm, safely land in our home, in the country we know and love. Your home, my home, our home. Let’s bring it home."