OTTAWA — Canadian politicians are piling on Air Canada CEO Michael Rousseau despite his apology for comments he made about the French language that sparked widespread backlash.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called it “an unacceptable situation,” noting that the minister in charge of official languages is “following up.”
The New Democratic Party called for Rousseau’s resignation. NDP deputy leader Alexandre Boulerice, the party’s lone MP in Quebec, says Rousseau was “spitting in the face of Quebecers and all members of French-speaking communities across the country.”
He says Rousseau should be ashamed for boasting that his mother and wife speak French while never learning the language.
Boulerice notes that Canada’s largest airline, based in Montreal, is subject to an average of 80 complaints annually to the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages.
Rousseau ignited a firestorm after he gave a speech Wednesday almost entirely in English and then told reporters he didn’t have time to learn French.
A spokesperson for the commissioner of official languages says more than 200 complaints about Air Canada were filed by Thursday evening.