A blast from the past. A German-Canadian huckster. A former Progressive Conservative cabinet minister. A dodgy prime minister. A European aircraft giant with a reputation for handing out easy money. Karl Heinz Schreiber, Elmer MacKay, Brian Mulroney and Airbus. Schreiber went into a German jail cell. Elmer, late father ofContinue reading
Message to WestJet: It’s time to negotiate with your pilots like grownups. After all, this is Canada and they’ve got a constitutional right to bargain collectively, so you need to just get over it. At this point, you’ll do more harm to your business by fighting them than you willContinue reading
As always, The Simpsons predicted the future. In a season 9 episode called Trash of the Titans, Homer runs for sanitation commissioner against career civil servant Ray Patterson, voiced by Steve Martin. At one point, Homer gets into a shouting match with Patterson, and threatens to run for commissioner. “WannaContinue reading
Germanwings 9525 = Al-Qaeda Triumphs Again Abstract: Fear and paranoia enabled the conditions and killing of the passengers on Germanwings 9525; in honour of the victims of that flight, and for all future fliers, sensible policies, that do not replace reasonable prudence with get-tough politically-expedient reactions and expressions of fear,Continue reading
Abstract: Fear and paranoia enabled the conditions and killing of the passengers on Germanwings 9525; in honour of the victims of that flight, and for all future fliers, sensible policies, that do not replace reasonable prudence with get-tough politically-expedient reactions and expressions of fear, nor place sole power in the hands of One person or agency, should be enacted.
Surely I’m far from the first (1000, 10 000?) people to make this simple point, but fear and paranoia and obsession with “security” appear to have led to another disaster and mass loss of human life. That the 9/11 attackers de facto created a policy that made much of the world place collective fates in the hands of one extreme or potentially wingnut person no doubt gratifies them immensely in their exquisite afterlives—surely such terror, or infidel reduction, was key amongst their goals.
The tragedy occurred because one pilot was allowed to stay in the cockpit, and prevent entry from anyone else.
I’m struck by how former pilots and aviation talking heads are expressing shock and amazement that pilots would do something so horrible, when of course there are many examples of pilots embracing their godlike roles and taking many lives other than their own into their hands not for professional reasons, but for their own personal use and/or destruction (Ethiopian Airlines 702 and Egypt Air 990 are a couple of recent examples amongst numerous instances). On CTV News, an “aviation expert” named Phyl Durdey offered: “You know, who would think that, y’know, an aircraft would be put into a descent by the co-pilot?” I can’t speak for Phyl, but I don’t care if there’s 4 passengers or 400—I sure wouldn’t want to be on board an aircraft if one of the pilots found out that, say, he was being canned, or his co-pilot was sleeping with his wife, or something. Phyl seems to attribute godlike non-humanity to pilots, and with reference to the black box in the German pilot’s head, Phyl’s views are terrifyingly ironic, indeed.
Or then there’s good ol’ Air Canada. One time, just after 9/11, I was coming home from the U.S., and it was one bizarre flight. The flight crew brought our food, late at night, and then disappeared to sulk, never to return. We all sat there with our trays for an hour or so, and then began shifting them into bulkheads and under seats and into the aisles and so on; the attendants weren’t coming back. This wasn’t prior to any kind of strike or major job action or anything. I still don’t know what was up. But what’s so chilling to think of now was how the Air Canada pilot (was he alone?) came on during that inky night at 35 000 feet or more and embarked on this long and incomprehensible diatribe about things in general. He invoked Christ (Preston—“Presto”—‘no government is good but if we just follow God it’ll be great!!’–Manning, seated a few rows behind me, was perhaps comforted, but I sure as heck wasn’t). The pilot talked about holidays and work and unfairness and so on, but I do remember he didn’t say anything explicit to explain what was going on behind him, as the flight crew basically vanished and refused to work. He definitely didn’t support them or explain anything. He really only referred to himself, not crew or passengers. But he talked religion and fumed and rambled disconnectedly as though he were playing a video game or poking a mobile device at the same time. I suppose he was—I hope he was. To be truthful, my most exact recollection of this flight was exchanging looks with my flight partner, looking up and around in the darkened cabin (I still have the beige mental images, to be sure), and just thinking to myself (praying?), “Christ, I wish he’d just shut up, because the longer he keeps talking and keeps working himself into this lather, the more dangerous it gets for all of us and the more likely it will be for all of us that something catastrophic could happen because of his distractedness and anger.” Only when he quit rambling, and nothing radical ensued, did I start to breathe easier. Thank goodness I didn’t have a heart condition and was flying, say, to see family for an almost last time—the Air Canada pilot’s irresponsibility could have caused a death in and of itself. Was there anyone with him? Maybe there was and it finally caused him to glance over and take a nod and settle down. Or maybe there wasn’t and he took advantage of his godlike moments to berate the world in general as we soared through the black night in his hands. Something like the Germanwings flight sure makes you recollect and ponder.
Well, as I say, the terrorists won again. A statesman once said, “we have nothing to fear but fear itself.” By fearing fear itself, and distrusting one another and enacting ludicrous policies that can put One and only One person in charge, we opened the door for One to perversely and inexplicably take the lives of others.
That’s right, 0 (until I stand corrected). But the world largely reacted with policies that insisted that One godlike person should take control, and that does reflect a lot of our yearnings, whether that One is a person in a uniform or a generalized kind of overlord agency (or obviously a religious proxy/prophet). And obviously the exact wishes of the terrorists.
I’ve never been fond of flying. I usually have to overcome physical and physiological fears and work my way into a kind of philosophical-mental zone. You know how they say that, when you’re about to die, your whole life flashes in front of your eyes? I thought that was just a phrase—a believable phrase—but just a phrase. But I know it’s true because I’ve had that dream on airplanes and on airplanes alone—first pet, mother, etc. You never have dreams like that on the ground.
How times change. Last week, industry minister Susan Sullivan attended an announcement by Air Canada that they would be bringing back year-round direct flights between St. John’s and London. Starting in the fall, Air Canada will offer three direct flights a week to London. Next summer, they’ll offer daily service.Continue reading
by: CUPE | Press Release: Ottawa, July 12, 2013 – As more details emerge following Asiana flight 214’s tragic crash in San Francisco on Saturday July 6th, CUPE flight attendants are hoping that Air Canada learns from the flight attendant ratio on the airplane at the time of the accident. TheContinue reading
Published on Monday January 7, 2013 by UFCW Canada Political Action Blog For many Canadians, the phrase “Canada: The True North Strong and Free” means that we are free to live in a democratic society where we have the right to freedom of expression and association, but under Government BossContinue reading
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading. – John Conway discusses the Cons’ project of destroying Canada’s social safety net. – But the good news is that Stephen Harper is running into a few roadblocks along the way. For example, the rule of law – as a Federal Court judge hasContinue reading
… complete with Dippers, Lisa Raitt, Ashley (boo-yaa) Madison! And fish trafficking too! —————————————————————————————————————————————————— The NDP leadership convention is this weekend and NDPers from across the nation are flocking to the land of the Toronto Blue Jays (used to be the Leafs) to choose and bless the leader to replaceContinue reading
Denis Lebel’s formal salute to union workers involves another finger. When Air Canada passed off its maintenance jobs to Aveos in 2011, there was a significant outcry about the move. Nobody at Air Canada wanted to go to Aveos which had financing issues as late as 2010. They were toldContinue reading
With the federal Conservatives trying to destroy unions and bully working men and women, the BC Liberals are following suit with teachers. Unlike Air Canada employees, BC’s teachers are not going to take this one lying down. The bill, which will become law by Saturday, orders a six-month cooling-off periodContinue reading
I’m beginning to think this might be a pattern. Same company, same rhetoric, same lies. They’re all in favour of letting workers try to defend their livelihoods at the bargaining table, so long as no one notices. What I said before still goes too. I’m sorry Madeleine, things seem toContinue reading
Friends of Canadian Broadcasting continues to raise the alarm over threats to our nation’s public broadcaster and well they should. While Heritage Minister James Moore promised in May to maintain and expand support for the CBC, Tory antipathy to the CBC is well known. Recent initiatives, such as the petitionContinue reading
Air Canada was happy. The union was not. But then, this is Lisa Raitt’s shop, we could have predicted that, right? So here is my understanding – as an outsider – of what was at stake.Continue reading
When I first saw reference to this on Twitter I thought maybe it was some sort of hyperbole. Or that some progressive soul, like myself, prone to Swiftian rhetoric, had done the whole reductio ad absurdium thing to normal Tory talking points. But no. L…Continue reading
The General Assembly (GA) of Occupy Ottawa last night resolved to join Air Canada flight attendants’ rally on Parliament Hill at 12:00 noon on Friday, Friday, October 21, 2011. Occupy Ottawa is encouraging all in the movement to come out and “…Continue reading
… if I couldn’t imagine it actually happening…
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Trashy, Ottawa, OntarioContinue reading