You Can Vote, But You Can’t Travel in Canada

This situation is BS.

A Manitoba MP is crying discrimination after two aboriginal women were not allowed to board a plane with her, even though they had tickets.

Niki Ashton, who represents the Churchill riding for the NDP, said Gail and Joyce Nepinak were scheduled to fly to Ottawa from Winnipeg with her on Sunday evening.

MP Niki Ashton said the Nepinaks were embarrassed when they were not allowed to board the plane. (CBC)

​ The Nepinaks had been invited by the House of Commons to speak at the special committee on missing and murdered indigenous women on Monday.

If an MP (with ID) cannot vouch for a passenger, then the whole point of security is exposed for what it is. It’s not to ensure that the people boarding are who they say they are (or who a trustworthy public figure says), it’s to demand red-tape obedience from lowly people not afforded the human dignity to travel freely. It exposes the system’s racism.

Manitoba to Ottawa is an in-Canada flight. There should be no requirement to have photo ID to travel freely within Canada (especially at the request of Parliament).

Ashton asked to speak to an Air Canada manager but one never showed up.

She said that in many ways this situation is symbolic of the systemic discrimination aboriginal people face in so many areas of their daily lives.

This doesn’t just show Air Canada’s horrible customer service, it shows our airline industry and culture around airport travel is very sick and inhuman.


14 responses to “You Can Vote, But You Can’t Travel in Canada

  1. It’s not an Air Canada regulation; it’s a Transport Canada regulation. The government requires all passengers (except minors) have government-issued photo ID. WestJet would also not let someone fly without it, and either airline would be in serious trouble if they ignored the law.

    Your issue isn’t with the airline, but with the government and the law.

  2. Plus ca change, Saskboy.

    46 years ago, I was working in a bush camp in Northern Manitoba. I ordered a .25 calibre pistol from a mail-order company based in Winnipeg. I had to bring it in to the RCMP office in Thompson, Manitoba to register it.

    When I brought it back to camp and showed it to my camp-mates, one of my native friends said something to the effect that, although it was very nice, he doubted that he would be able to get one.

    I naively asked why not, and all the while bad thoughts in the back of my mind hammering racist thoughts about criminal records and god-knows-what.

    Because, he replied, I am an Indian.

    I babbled something to the effect of “No, I am sure …”

    But again – in the back of my mind – I thought, “Jesus. He might be right.”

    That’s how sick this society is.

    46 years, and it hasn’t changed.

  3. Oh please. ANYYONE would be told that they couldn’t board in those circumstances. It has nothing to do with “racism”.

    This cry and hue of “racism” every time an unpleasant situation is encountered or something doesn’t go one’s way is tiresome and it cheapens real efforts to combat REAL racism.

    • No, anyone travelling with an MP to testify in Parliament and sufficient ID to vote in Canada, should be permitted to travel within Canada at the least. This violates the very intent of the freedom of movement.

      • Agreed. However, it doesn’t prove whatsoever that “racism” was a motivating factor for refusing to allow them to board. This kind of red tape BS is something that ANYONE can experience, and as a frequent flyer, I have had to cut through red tape as well.

      • The racism comes into play regarding the accessibility of ID. It’s seen in American elections too, to suppress voting of minorities and poor people. Here it is systemic racism that hurts everyone a little, but more dramatically First Nations.

  4. You’re still not demonstrating how it is “racism” when ID is a bona fide requirement for ANYONE travelling when the refusal to allow boarding because of a lack of it is based upon that. Further, you are not demonstrating EXACTLY how race and the discrimination thereof is a barrier to obtaining that ID.

    • It’s a complicated concept, because it involves statistics and it is hard to recognize because individual cases are not strong indicators of the situation one way or another.
      Institutional racism involves a system that discriminates proportionally more against the intended target than those who create the unfair system.

      Why do we want to live in a country where we have to show government ID to travel within our borders?

      • We don’t necessarily want that.

        But there are those inside and outside our borders intent on profiting from making that the new and ongoing status quo. Not necessarily a conspiracy, but rather a collision of competing and allied interests.

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