Barret Armann, pilot and Unifor Local 7378 president, April 12, 2021
Barret Armann, pilot and Unifor Local 7378 president, April 12, 2021

“No more excuses, no more delays”: Conservative MPs and union officials blast Liberals for lack of airline industry aid 

OTTAWA — Conservative MPs, union officials and pilots blasted the Canadian government today for failing to offer sector-specific support for the airline industry, more than a year into the pandemic.

Measures to help the embattled airline industry, and by extension other industries including travel, tourism and hospitality, are long overdue, said MP Tony Baldinelli, who represents Niagara Falls, ON.

Tony Baldinelli, MP, Niagara Falls, ON, April 12, 2021

Tony Baldinelli, MP, Niagara Falls, ON, April 12, 2021

“The Trudeau Liberals are failing Canadians,” said Baldinelli at today’s briefing.

The federal government is set to unveil its 2021 budget on April 19, 2021. Now at 13 months into the pandemic, and more than 5 months after then-Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced that discussions would begin for financial assistance for Canada’s airline industry, many expect that a package will be included in the April 19 budget. The news will impact travel agents as well, as the retail travel sector waits to see if commission protection against up to $200 million in commission recalls will be also be included.



For some in the industry, a bailout at this stage may be too late, said Barret Armann, a pilot and the president of pilots’ union Unifor Local 7378.

“It’s been one year plus since we voiced our concerns to the government. We’ve heard is ‘help is coming’ and ‘we’re in discussions’. After an entire year, we’re still waiting,” said Armann at today’s briefing.

“What is the plan? How much longer will we have to wait?” he asked.

“The Trudeau government must communicate to our sector, so we can plan. It will take months, years [to repair the damage] the Trudeau Liberals have caused to this sector,” said Armann.

“We demand real support. We need a plan. We need security for our careers,” he said.

“There must be support for furloughed workers after June 5,” he added.

Government aid programs including CEWS are currently set to expire June 5, 2021.

The industry also needs a “plan to return to normal,” said Armann.

“Our pilots are tired of waiting and hearing excuses,” he said. “No more excuses, no more delays.”

He added: “This is an embarrassment for our industry and a scar on our nation.”

Stephanie Kusie, MP, Calgary Midnapore, was also at today’s briefing. “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Transport Minister Omar Alghabra, you have heard our message,” said Kusie. “[This industry and Canadians] expect more and on April 19 we will be waiting for a response.”

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