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Air Canada apologizes for ‘offensive’ memo

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Air Canada apologizes for 'offensive' memo
Air Canada says it never meant to offend anyone in a memo about the airline's decision to stop using downtown Winnipeg hotels for crew layovers.


October 4, 2011
By The Canadian Press

Oct. 4, 2011, Winnipeg – Air Canada says it never meant to offend anyone
in a memo about the airline's decision to stop using downtown Winnipeg
hotels for crew layovers.

"It appears certain inferences are being drawn from the contents of a recent internal bulletin relating to accommodation for flight crews on overnight layover in Winnipeg," Peter Fitzpatrick said Monday in an email to The Canadian Press.

"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."

The internal bulletin said employees will be staying at a hotel closer to the airport because of security concerns downtown and noted that 1,000 displaced people from rural Manitoba are staying in hotels in Winnipeg's core.

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"Instances of public intoxication, resulting in several downtown locations being susceptible to crimes of violence and opportunity, have been observed by local police," the bulletin said.

Many of the displaced are from First Nations that were flooded last spring.

Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Derek Nepinak says it was racist of Air Canada to link an increased security risk to displaced aboriginal families and asked for a retraction.

"It is entirely inappropriate for one of Canada's largest corporations to link the presence of First Nations citizens in
Winnipeg's downtown core with any increased security risk," Nepinak said in a news release.

"To attribute any community of people as posing an increased risk of violence or criminal activity is racist. Further, such negative commentary regarding our displaced friends and families is irresponsible and displays ignorance of the matters at hand."

Nepinak said those who had to leave their homes have been trying to get moved from the downtown because they find it too dangerous and are worried about the safety of their children and families.

He says violence in Winnipeg's downtown has been an issue long before the flood evacuees were relocated there in May.