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Sunday,  June 23, 2024 6:10 AM 

Poilievre speech aboard WestJet flight sparks outrage; Jann Arden announces boycott

  • Air
  •   09-12-2023  7:04 am
  •   Pax Global Media

Poilievre speech aboard WestJet flight sparks outrage; Jann Arden announces boycott
Footage show Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre delivering a speech aboard a WestJet flight. (X)
Pax Global Media

The internet is furious and Jann Arden is unhappy after Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre made a short speech on board a WestJet flight Sunday evening (Sept. 10).

As seen in footage circulating on social media, the party leader can be seen standing at the front of a aircraft cabin, holding an intercom receiver, delivering a campaign-style address to passengers on board.

"This is Pierre Poilievre," he said in the speech, which reportedly lasted around 45 seconds. "Happy to join you on a WestJet flight back to my hometown of Calgary.”

Videos of the impromptu moment made the rounds on social feeds on Monday, sparking both support for Poilievre, and disapproval, along with questions about whether it was right of WestJet to allow a party leader to address passengers on an airplane.

Video footage of Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre addressed passengers on a WestJet flight Sunday night. (@jenniferelle_/X)

Juno Award-winning singer, television star and author Jann Arden wasn’t having any of it.

"A P.A. system on a plane is for the flight crew. Full stop. Not a political soap box for social media,” the singer wrote on X, the platform formally known as Twitter, commenting on a video that captured Poilievre on board.

Arden, who was not on the plane at the time, followed up with a second tweet, telling WestJet that she would never do business with the airline again.

“This is so ridiculously disappointing,” Arden wrote.

Flight added for convention

Upon closer observation of the incident, it appears the flight wasn’t full of everyday WestJet customers.

As one social media user pointed out, the flight was added to carry passengers attending a Conservative Party convention in Quebec City for Western Canada.

“…before you get upset about Pierre speaking on the plane, this flight was specifically added by @WestJet for their own customers attending convention so we could get home. It was all delegates,” wrote X user @jenniferelle_.

Comments from WestJet later on confirmed that while the flight wasn’t a charter (it was open to the public), the service was indeed added to accommodate delegates attending a convention.

“The flight was added to our schedule and advertised as a flight serving the CPC convention. As it was a commercial flight however, guests who booked the flight were not required to indicate if they were attending the convention and therefore we are unable to determine if there were guests onboard who were not attending,” a spokesperson told CTV News.

The airline went on to say that Poilievre was granted permission to speak in the skies ahead of time.

"The use of the PA in this circumstance was approved in advance by WestJet operational leadership and up to the final determination of the operating crew."

In a follow-up statement to PAX on Tuesday (Sept. 12), WestJet spokesperson Madison Kruger added:

"To assist demand for the CPC convention, WestJet added two commercial flights for service between Western Canada and Quebec City. The use of the PA microphone onboard our aircraft, while infrequent, may be approved occasionally, for unique occasions and individuals, like this one. WestJet routinely adds capacity for conventions, sports, festivals and key events."

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