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CUPE is blaming Ottawa for the announcement by WestJet to cut 80 per cent of flights in Atlantic Canada. The union says the Trudeau government has ignored the impact of the pandemic on airlines.
Chris Rauenbusch is president of CUPE 4070. He represents over 4,000 cabin crew members at the WestJet group of companies. He says government neglect is doing permanent damage to Canada’s airlines.
“There is no guarantee that our airlines will continue to exist if Ottawa doesn’t act immediately,” said Rauenbusch.
“Let me be blunt. Ottawa is ignoring us and creating a massive problem in a country whose economy heavily relies on an airline sector. The disregard Ottawa demonstrates to airlines ignores the massive economic impact we have.”
Rauenbusch says WestJet has made great efforts to survive the pandemic and keep serving all Canadian cities that it did prior to the pandemic. He believes however that the federal government is making it harder.
“We are the only G7 country without an airline strategy,” said Rauenbusch. “And what is Ottawa doing? Putting up barriers to our survival.”
Rauenbusch said varied and confusing travel bubbles, increases in fees, and vague rules around employment support, are all factors making it harder for planes to stay in the air.
“This government needs to step up and provide meaningful support to Canada’s airlines. Doing so will safeguard employees, our economy, and the public we serve.”
“Ottawa doesn’t get it. Canada could have zero national airlines when this is over,” said Rauenbusch. “Their neglect is reckless and will hurt our recovery when the pandemic is over.”