Unforeseen Political Speech Sparks Controversy on WestJet Flight


A WestJet flight recently served as an impromptu political platform for Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre, a stunt sparking controversy as the union representing the cabin crew alleges that the company is unfairly blaming them for the incident.

On a Sunday evening, passengers were treated to an unexpected speech from Poilievre, who utilized the commercial airplane’s in-flight public address (PA) system to convey his message for less than a minute. Videos of the unannounced address were promptly shared online, garnering both support and criticism about the suitability of his move.

WestJet subsequently issued a statement revealing the flight was open to the public but specifically scheduled to take into consideration delegates returning from the Conservative Party of Canada’s convention in Quebec City. According to the airline, Poilievre had indicated his intent to give the speech to WestJet’s operational leadership and the final decision as to whether it would transpire lay in the hands of the flight crew.

CUPE Alberta, the union representing the cabin crew, disputes this claim, stating that the flight crew “had no input” in Poilievre’s use of the PA system. Alia Hussain, president of CUPE Local 4070, voiced her disappointment with the situation on social media, criticizing WestJet’s management for allowing the political spectacle as well as their subsequent attempt to lay blame on the cabin crew.

Hussain further pointed out that WestJet’s guidelines limit the use of the PA system to operating crew and was adamant that flight staff should never be coerced into political involvement. In her statement, she expressed concern for the cabin crew who bear the brunt of passenger complaints, blaming both WestJet management and Poilievre for putting them in this predicament.

CUPE Alberta holds both parties responsible and has demanded an apology from WestJet and Poilievre.

WestJet responded by stating that the usage of the PA system by non-flight personnel was infrequent but permissible on certain unique occasions.


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