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WestJet to revisit policy after Poilievre's speech on plane's PA system

The union that represents the cabin crew of a WestJet flight that Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre recently used as his political platform says the company is blaming them for the stunt.

On Sunday evening, passengers on board a flight to Calgary were given a speech by the party leader, who used the commercial plane's in-flight public address (PA) system to speak to them for under a minute.

Videos of Poilievre's speech were posted online soon afterwards, drawing some support, but also questions about the appropriateness of his actions.

WestJet said in a statement following the incident that while the flight was open to the public, it was specially scheduled to accommodate delegates who had attended the Conservative Party of Canada's convention in Quebec City.

The company says Poilievre gave advance notice to WestJet's operational leadership about the speech and the final decision about whether or not it would occur was up to the flight crew.

However, CUPE Alberta, the organization that represents those workers, says the crew on board that flight "had no input" into Poilievre's use of the PA system for his speech.

"It's very disappointing that WestJet management let a politician use the public address system on a recent flight for his political statement," said CUPE Local 4070 president Alia Hussain in a statement posted on social media Tuesday evening.

"It is doubly disappointing that WestJet is now trying to assign blame on the cabin crew for this event."

Hussain went on to say that WestJet's own guidelines restrict the use of the PA system to the operating crew and any flight crew should never be forced into taking "a political stance."

"Giving Mr. Poilievre a platform showed bad judgement by WestJet. Mr. Poilievre showed bad judgement taking that opportunity. It is the cabin crew who deal with passenger complaints. WestJet management and Mr. Poilievre should not have put them in that position," the statement reads.

CUPE Alberta demanded an apology from both WestJet and Poilievre.

In a statement to CTV News on Wednesday, WestJet said the use of the PA system by individuals other than flight crew is "infrequent" but is granted on "unique occasions."

A spokesperson said the company will be reviewing this policy. Top Stories

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