Sunday, October 16, 2011

ROBBLOG # 328


An Open e-mail to Bruce Stanton, MP for Simcoe North:

Hello Bruce,

I am not sure if you’ll read this or an assistant but I felt I had to send you an e-mail. I know what you’re thinking- “Cripes another feekin’ letter from some angst-filled, sorry-butt, whiny Air Canada employee.” No. That’s not the case but I am the husband of one. In between the 25+ years years in my broadcasting career, I too worked for the airlines for about 13 years. So, although Broadcasting (Swisssh Radio) and Acting (The Garage Door Players) are my major interests these days, the airlines are close to my heart. This is especially true since my husband Tom is an Air Canada In-charge Flight Attendant. Tom’s career has spanned more than 35 years starting way back with Wardair. Actually, we met on a Wardair Flight to Hawaii 26 1/2 years ago.
I digress.
I am sure you have received mounds of e-mail from Simcoe North constituents concerning the Air Canada labour unrest and I need to add my comments to the pile.
Some thoughts... 


Lisa Raitt?
I have little respect for her meddling. That’s what it is Bruce, plain and simple meddling. The kind our grandmothers used to do. Funny thing is, if you had of asked me a couple of weeks ago- who is the Labour Minister?- I would have had no idea. Now she’s a megastar in your Harper Government. That’s what the Canadian Government is called these days Bruce- in case you haven’t heard- the Harper Government. So, she’s made a name for herself at least. I believe you know deep down that what she has done is fundamentally wrong.
Oh but I hear you!
How dare I even suggest knowing what you know and how you feel.
Well, I have met you and talked to you and shook your hands with you, so I get the vibe. Beneath all that Conservative hogwash, you’re a good guy. So, just step away from your Conservative viewpoint for a second- I won’t tell anyone, then dig deep down and ask yourself- Is this the right thing to do?
I mean really.
Really?
Would you want that to happen to you if you were in a similar position?
Have your rights taken away- as a Canadian?


This is still Canada not Egypt or Afghanistan or any number of far off countries in this world. There’s a fine line between freedom and having rights removed or crushed. I sure don’t want even a tiny bit of that to be a part of my Canada. It’s not the way we deal with things in this country.


Flight Attendants are fellow Canadians like you and I. They work hard for their wages- like you and I.
Okay, I’m retired and get a measly- but very welcome, CPP cheque every month. Living on a “fixed income” they call it- don’t they?


You see all Air Canada employees really want to do is pay some bills, look after their families and get on with their lives. They are not the enemy here Bruce- although with the protest outside Ms. Raitt’s Milton Office, one would think they were “Banditos” and not airline workers. Air Canada Flight Attendants are front line people just like their colleagues in Passenger Services- the Ground Agents. They don’t sit in offices making millions and getting millions in raises and other perks. Yes, they have a “perk”. They travel at a reduced rate. However, as a flight Attendant- or a flight attendant’s husband, we are not privy to receiving a “complimentary”upgrade such as Lisa Raitt received.
We wait in line.
We respect our seniority and we pay for the upgrade privilege and we shut up about it.
We consider ourselves fortunate to be able to travel and use the service of a well-known, award-wining company that bears our Maple Leaf.

Stephen Harper. I am still warming up to him but I have a difficult time as many Canadians do. Keep in mind Bruce that more Canadians voted for other parties than for the Conservative/Reform folks- not to mention the millions who didn’t even bother to place an “X”. That’s a shame, considering it is one of the rights and freedoms we have as Canadians. Once again rights and freedoms you and your fellow MP’s are chipping away at. I mean with the numbers you get in Simcoe North, Mr. Harper still keeps you in the backbenchers gallery?
Gee, you must be really pleased with that position.
How unfair is that?
There has to be a tiny part of you- deep down inside- not on the surface, that is really ticked off at him for keeping you down. Oh, I know you’ll smile and say- whatever your leader decides is OK, but is it?


Like you, the flight attendants want to get off the “backbenches of wages and benefits” and work towards making a better life for both themselves and their families right now and in retirement. 


Listen Bruce, I’m just saying....I do and always will respect the Office of the Prime Minister of Canada, no matter who occupies that office. As a Canadian that is still the leader of my country. If I met him in person I would smile and greet him warmly because of the office he holds.
I don’t have to agree with his politics.


The Conservative Federal Party has already made their mark looking out for the CEO’s and Managers- that’s called big business in this country, sometimes forgetting about the little folks.
I know that’s what Conservatives do.
I have friends who are Conservative- leaning a lot further to the right that me, so I know how they think.
It’s not the way I do. I don’t agree with their politics either. How they think about immigration, Gay and Lesbians, Transsexuals, religious matters and more.
I say live and let live.
Keep order.
Keep the peace.
Be decent.
Be respectful.
Be cheerful.
Be helpful to others and lend a hand where you can but live and let live.
It’s a beautiful life but sometimes there are rutts in the road.
Wait!
Maybe that should be “Raitts” in the road! 


Air Canada flight Attendants work their collective butts off.
I know.
I have been married to a flight attendant for more than two decades- as you know. I also know Tom has been threatened, kicked, yelled at and more all while representing Air Canada. 


I remember a few years back you voted against Gay Marriage. Tom and I both told you how we felt about that and you redeemed yourself by attending that Pride Flag Raising a few years ago downtown at the Orillia Opera House. I will never forget that. It was proud that day and like the FA’s they deserve to be proud too. They deserve a break to decide their own future with Air Canada. 


If Air Canada- the award-winning, favourite North American Airline who have flight attendants who were voted North America’s best, would just realize that these front-line people deserve to be “awarded” none of this unrest would have happened. The contract would have been fair and just.
It is not.


Tom, for instance, is still paying for concessions made more than a decade ago. Financially he has never recouped what was taken away. So how does upper management justify raises  of millions of dollars and separation bonuses of millions of dollars- the likes that former Air Canada CEO Robert Milton among others, received in recent years. It doesn’t add up Bruce and it doesn’t help when your labour minister decides to over-ride the bargaining process to “protect” Canadians as she says!
What is she protecting Canadians from?
The scabs (replacement flight attendants )those who in a strike would take over professional Flight Attendant’s jobs, while keeping passengers safe flying with minimal experience and minimal training. It has to be the only danger she truly believes she is protecting Canadians who fly via Air Canada. 


Of course, complimentary upgrades aside, this is politics and we know politics and politicians sometimes waver from the path of righteousness- just like lapsed Catholics. I mean if they didn’t what would CTV have to talk about on their National News- some guy growing a 700 pound pumpkin?
That’s not news.
Lisa Raitt is however. 


Now Bruce, this is just my 2 cents. Alright, looking back at the length of this e-mail, it’s more like a dollar and a half but still you get the gist of what I am saying and being our Federal Rep here in Simcoe North, it’s your job to listen to me and read my long boring e-mails.
Sorry about that.

By the way, if you’re not personally reading this Bruce and it’s just your “office” workers, I say to them- I don’t need to receive a form letter reply. I don’t really expect a reply at all for that matter. You know, saying you appreciate that I have written and while not agreeing with my thought process- blah..blah..blah. 


Have a good one Bruce and maybe one day Mr. Harper will give you your due. If only you could bargain, carry a picket sign showing your disappointment and fight for your future...


Because, in the end it’s all about the latter days.

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