WestJet planeThe President of the Airline Division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) weighed in today on this issue of WestJet allowing Opposition Leader Pierre Poilievre to use the public address (PA) system on a recent flight.

Wesley Lesosky said WestJet was wrong to claim it was the flight crew who authorized and approved the use of the PA system.

“After pushback from Canadians online, some of whom were calling for a boycott of the airline, WestJet tried to throw our members under the bus,” said Lesosky. “But cabin crew were acting on direction from management. When the boss tells you to do something, there’s not a lot of options.”

Lesosky said the use of a PA system on a flight for a political speech isn’t appropriate and may break Transport Canada’s guidelines related to the use of emergency equipment.

“Mr Poilievre claims he was exercising free speech, but that’s nonsense,” said Lesosky. “There are safety rules against what he did, and they are there for good reasons.”

“We take our responsibility for the safety of passengers extremely seriously; it’s a shame Mr. Poilievre and WestJet don’t feel the same way.”

“Mr. Poilievre should focus on unpaid work of cabin crew in Parliament, while we do what we do best and focus on safety.”