Air Canada Apologizes for ‘Racist’ Memo

Bartley Kives, Montreal Gazette, October 4, 2011

Air Canada has apologized for what the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs called a racist internal memo that suggests First Nations residents displaced by floods are making downtown Winnipeg dangerous.

In a widely circulating memo, Air Canada said it’s pulling flight crews on Winnipeg layovers from downtown’s Radisson hotel to the Sandman hotel near the airport because “several downtown locations” are “susceptible to crimes of violence and opportunity.”

The memo connects the safety situation to the presence of “approximately 1,000 displaced people from rural Manitoba” in hotels near the Radisson.

The memo has already been criticized by Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz, the downtown Winnipeg Business Improvement Zone and Air Canada’s pilots association. The mayor has requested Air Canada reverse its decision.

On Monday, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs blasted the memo as racist, requested clarification and an apology. Grand Chief Derek Nepinak said the victims of flooding at Lake St. Martin First Nation and other Interlake communities have suffered enough without being blamed for downtown Winnipeg’s woes.

“It’s entirely inappropriate for one of Canada’s largest corporations to link the presence of our people in the downtown core with any security risk,” Nepinak told reporters, calling the memo racist.

Approximately 700 displaced First Nations residents remain in hotels and another 1,000 are being billeted in homes or apartments, the AMC estimates. Nepinak said many displaced families currently living in hotels would like to leave downtown Winnipeg because it’s not safe for young children.

He said he is aware of a handful of individual displaced people causing problems, but they are no longer in hotels.

Nepinak said an apology from Air Canada would go a long way. He said the AMC is exploring legal options but is not calling for a boycott or any other action until Air Canada clarifies its position.

Two hours after Nepinak met with reporters, Air Canada offered an apology.

“It appears that certain inferences are being drawn from the contents of a recent internal bulletin relating to accommodation for flight crews on overnight layover in Winnipeg,” spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick said via email.

“Air Canada wishes to state categorically it had no intent to cause offence to any individual or group and apologizes if it inadvertently did so.”


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27 Responses to “Air Canada Apologizes for ‘Racist’ Memo” Subscribe

  1. Anonymous October 4, 2011 at 5:51 pm #

    “He said he is aware of a handful of individual displaced people causing problems, but they are no longer in hotels.”

    So he admits it. So much for “racist”.

  2. October 4, 2011 at 6:29 pm #

    So bruised egos trump public safety. Canadians are as demented as Americans.

  3. Anonymous October 4, 2011 at 6:34 pm #

    This guy cries foul and then acknowledges the problem is real in the very same breath.

    This mentality is not innate, it is very carefully cultivated. This kind of illogic is rejected by a normal mind.

  4. Cliff yablonski October 4, 2011 at 7:06 pm #

    Oh My GOD now we can’t even warn ourselves about the violence being directed at us?

  5. Anonymous October 4, 2011 at 7:22 pm #

    Aboriginals in Canada are about 600% over-represented in prisons and this figure would actually be much higher except that courts in Canada, under political pressure, give many of them suspended sentences.

  6. Jim Moore October 4, 2011 at 7:46 pm #

    Canada does not have a First Amendment. You can be charged criminally for publicly saying you dislike the gay lifestyle. They are much more political correct up there. The litmus test should be: is it true that displaced Indians have cause an increase in crime in downltown Manitoba?

  7. Epiales October 4, 2011 at 7:51 pm #

    I thought the original warning was quite clear, and needed no clarification. Now I understand: Clarification = Apology

  8. Istvan October 4, 2011 at 7:52 pm #

    The guilty always expose themselves. Last Thursday one of my employees did something they should not have. On Friday morning I had a meeting and reminded the entire work group that certain actions were no-nos. I mentioned NO names. The person who committed the infraction threw a fit. That employee outed themself. Just like the First Nations. The airline mentioned no specific group, just that because of “flooding” crime had increased. The guilty group was immediately offended. Why? Because that group is guilty!

  9. Ray from Western New Yok October 4, 2011 at 8:14 pm #

    Flight crews with private emails do not require airlines warning them or not warning them of a danger in a given destination. The internet can be the CB radio of the 21st. century, though one must be careful to use it covertly and not be vocal on company time. A flight crew or pilots’ association web site with a bulletin board would serve the same purpose. Once crews are alerted, they can protest their employers’ actions via their union grievance procedures (if necessary).

  10. white advocate - Canada October 4, 2011 at 8:48 pm #

    Does anyone feel a responsibility to provide visitors to Winnipeg with honest advice about avoiding danger? While political correctness games are played, people could get hurt roaming about unaware in downtown Winnipeg. I know because I was one of them. I didn’t get hurt but I easily could have been. I worked in Winnipeg for a couple of years after being in Toronto. Toronto has its problems but the main downtown streets are safe for walking at all hours of the day and night and I have done so many times. I assumed Winnipeg was the same. Wrong. Two young Indian men tried to mug me by threatening me with bare fists. They confront you in the street and get you to back up to where a buddy is waiting around a corner with a bat. I have karate training so that was unsuccessful and I hurt one of them more than I care to remember. What if they had guns or knives? I told people at work about this and they were shocked that I was so stupid to walk about downtown Winnipeg at night.

  11. Anonymous October 4, 2011 at 9:04 pm #

    There you have it, taking steps to prevent yourself from being robber or killed is racist. I think it might be a little bit more racist putting across the idea that the well being of whites is of no importance.

  12. Anonymous October 4, 2011 at 9:17 pm #

    Winnipeg dangerous?!? Pshaw. Try Baltimore or Philly.

  13. Ben October 4, 2011 at 9:28 pm #

    I guess it must be racist to advise people from having sex in Africa due to the high HIV rates as well…

  14. John L. October 4, 2011 at 9:38 pm #

    I was listening to a tiresome CBC segment where they were going

    after Air Canada for their transgressions. I was painful listening to the CBC Host probe around the issue, and try to convict Air Canada for Racism. It wasn’t possible People like the CBC Host to say that there is a problem with first Nations on the Prairies. I do feel sorry for first Nations, but I think the Pairies Natives with their higher birth rates are going to start an insurgency One Day, because after All they believe We (White People) stole their Land. I wonder how the CBC and the rest of the PC crowd will handle a Native insurgency.

  15. Anonymous October 5, 2011 at 12:03 am #

    In a small native community in Saskatchewan last week there was a drunken riot involving 50 – 60 people trying to break into the hospital.

    I’m surprised CBC allowed comments on the story. In Canada the native community causes far more crime per capita than any other ethnic group. A lot of it may be related to the fact than many of them are alcoholics/addicts. But we are not allowed to talk about that–it is a thought crime to notice that sort of thing.

  16. Anonymous October 5, 2011 at 12:44 am #

    John L. Wrote:

    “I think the Pairies Natives with their higher birth rates are going to start an insurgency One Day, because after All they believe We (White People) stole their Land. I wonder how the CBC and the rest of the PC crowd will handle a Native insurgency.”

    Not that I condemn our forebears’ conquests, or the prosperity their incredible efforts brought us, but did not our ancestors take Indian lands?

    The Amerinds, and the Mestizos, the whole damn third world, are captives. They lost, we won.

    So be it.


    Now we need to throw out the third world from our midst, because lunatics of the last three generations have brought the disaffected, incapable, violent and backward primitives into our midst.

    That’s all.

  17. white advocate - Canada October 5, 2011 at 12:45 am #

    Gosh, I’ve been thinking hard about that young Indian man I hurt; broken jaw or teeth but there was blood for sure. I don’t feel guilty. Remember the bat waiting behind me? If Canada was still an English-French-Indian nation, I would try to find the man and help him if he needed it. I understand the issues between us and I would still like to help. But now, as a European assimilated WASP, I feel threatened by the arrival of non-whites. So I just can’t be bothered to try to find the young man I surely caused hurt to. I have too many important white things to do.

  18. SKIP October 5, 2011 at 12:50 am #

    ” Now I understand: Clarification = Apology”

    Apology which of course means later lawsuits, groveling and out of court settlements.

  19. SKIP October 5, 2011 at 12:54 am #

    “Winnipeg dangerous?!? Pshaw. Try Baltimore or Philly.”

    Detroit won the “FBI most dangerous U.S. city” again, tops all the lists in Murders, Robberies, Rapes and assaults for 2010, I’m confident that Detroit will do as well this year…YES THEY CAN!

  20. Anonymous October 5, 2011 at 5:43 am #

    2 — wrote:

    So bruised egos trump public safety. Canadians are as demented as Americans.


    Actually, no. They are WORSE!

    They are more like Europeans.

    I used to love Canada and Canadians. Now, less so.

  21. Anonymous October 5, 2011 at 5:47 am #

    What are Indians … (Ooops! I mean First Nations!)… doing being housed in plush hotels in downtown Winnipeg?

    How lucky they were to get flooded out of their teepees!

  22. Southern Hoosier October 5, 2011 at 6:33 am #

    Winnipeg sounds like it has become a small scale version of Houston after Katrina.

  23. Anonymous October 5, 2011 at 10:31 am #

    Why isn’t Air Canada demanding that Grand Chief Derek Nepinak apologises on behalf of his people for their violent behaviour in Winnipeg that necessitated their warning e-mail in the first place? Time to turn this anti-logic on its head and re-direct to the real source of the problem.

  24. James October 5, 2011 at 6:30 pm #

    Not that I condemn our forebears’ conquests, or the prosperity their incredible efforts brought us, but did not our ancestors take Indian lands?

    No actually we didn’t. Archeological finds prove that Europeans were here first. The most recent find is in Florida. It is dated to 7,000 years ago. The settlement was advanced even by today’s standards and the tartan weave of their clothing was as good as today’s cloth. No joking.

    This was 3,000 prior to the first so-called natives.

    Something happened to change the dynamic and it is speculated that the incoming warring co-called natives, murdered most of these earlier Europeans.

    We only took back what was rightfully our to begin with.

  25. Browser October 5, 2011 at 8:28 pm #

    What are Indians … (Ooops! I mean First Nations!)… doing being housed in plush hotels in downtown Winnipeg?


    They never had it so good — until the accursed White Man came and inflicted on them all his comforts and conveniences.

    If only those G.D. whites whould go back to Europe! — but leave the TV, the booze, the phones, the cars, and the hotels behind. Oh yes, and the Welfare too. Without the White Man, life would be paradise.

  26. Spirit Wolf October 10, 2011 at 8:42 am #

    #24 – Even so, as far as how history presents, we still didn’t steal the land. There were treaties and other deals involved, resulting in us getting to use the land while they get special-citizen status. That’s the deal (and that’s the deal misunderstood by so many, particularly immigrants, who point at Indians and say “Well, if they can be treated special, so can we!”

    The Indians of Canada are not a conquered people – the French are, but not the Indians. What we did to them was demographically swamp them; we did not war against them for the land, the closest thing we had to “Indian Wars” was the Riel Rebellions, and that wasn’t about land or treaty rights, so much as it was about picking sides, really, English or French/Metis. The action of the band at Ipperwash, in “taking back” the former army reserve base, was criminal, because that land had been _traded for_ during WWII – the Indians got Kettle Point in return for the sand dunes of Ipperwash.

    As far as an insurgency goes, they really have no right or basis for it. They negotiated themselves to where they are now, which would be a damn good place, actually, if they could get their own selves together. They’re a couple generations removed from the Stone Age now, time to start adapting.

  27. verzekeringen October 12, 2011 at 4:36 am #

    Multitudinous politicians and pundits warned us that the health be keen on revise (HCR) legislation that well-deserved became law purpose ruin America. Guidance bureaucrats thinks fitting cover greater than well-being be responsible for decisions, we were told. The superannuated and sickly would be hauled away next to cessation panels. Everything close to the conduct we come into our medical attend to will replace with, and change drastically, they said.