Musician Jann Arden says she is banning WestJet after the airline allowed Canada's conservative party leader to say some words over its public announcement system.
The Calgary-born vocalist joined vocal outcry from Canadians on social media over the past week, who shared everything from confusion, support, frustration, mockery, and outright anger over the sky-high political stunt.
Pierre Poilievre used the PA system to give a 45-second speech on Sunday, Sept. 10 night on board a WestJet plane that was headed to Calgary from Quebec City after the Conservative party convention.
@westjet and @Transport_gc - comment please on the lawfulness of this stunt and why it was allowed to happen. And where is #cdnmedia reporting on these stunts? And you @ElectionsCan_E?— Pierre PoiIievre 🍆 CPC Leader Parody 🏳️🌈 (@PierrePoiIievre) September 12, 2023
Arden shared her disdain for Poilievre and his speech in several tweets, underscoring in one of the posts that "a P.A. System on a plane is for the flight crew -- full stop. Not a political soap box for social media."
The Canadian songstress said that she won't do business with WestJet in the future, remarking that "this is so ridiculously disappointing."
Good morning freedom lovers!!— Jann “stop live horse export” Arden (@jannarden) September 12, 2023
I would like to point out the exits on this plane—um, hang on—There are four—- oh— wait a minute… sorry— there is no way out— if you’re trans— or a woman—or indigenous—or a book. Ya—I’m taking to you BOOKS-if you’re about stuff that you shouldn’t… pic.twitter.com/0BGsrIQpX5
Vancouver locals respond to Pierre Poilievre WestJet incident
Vancouverites also expressed their outrage with WestJet. One local said that the airline has "just made it clear that they endorse Pierre Poilivre in the upcoming election" and that an endorsement for his party includes a host of negative connotations.
So @WestJet has just made it clear that they endorse Pierre Poilivre in the upcoming election - And here I thought WestJet was better than supporting racism, qanon, homophobia, transphobia, and white supremacy.#themoreyouknow #westjetlovespierre— Jdub (@JeremyCanHelp) September 11, 2023
Local Judy Marshall said she won’t fly WestJet anymore since the airline has "shown what they’re about," noting that it is "too bad Air Canada has reduced flights in the west."
Vancouverite Brad Dirks said WestJet CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech recently dinned with former Prime Minister and Conservative leader Stephen Harper, noting that people should blame the airline's top executives rather than its employees.
This is @WestJet’s CEO, just data before having dinner with Pierre’s mentor/advisor, Stephen Harper… I wouldn’t blame/shame #WestJet employees… I think it’s coming from those currently running things… pic.twitter.com/ywVgn71kkq— Brad Dirks (@BradDirks) September 14, 2023
In response to the backlash, von Hoensbroech says the company will revisit its policy for allowing people to use the PA system. He also clarified that allowing the politician to make the speech wasn't an endorsement.
Some Vancouverties didn't see an issue with Poilievre's speech. One man said that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau already flies in a private jet "like he's a king or James Bond" and that a flight to Winnipeg in a regular plane is not a big deal.
Matt Ilich echoed this sentiment, tweeting "we have bigger problems in this country…people just want to yell and scream at each other; it’s tiring. Cool video and I’m sure Pierre isn’t the only leader who has done this."
With files from the Canadian Press.