Labrador Indigenous leaders condemn racism on provincial airline flight

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. _ Indigenous leaders in Labrador are condemning an incident on a provincial flight Monday when passengers accused two men of making racist remarks.


PAL Airlines says it has banned two passengers from future flights for making what the company calls “hurtful and derogatory remarks” towards people on board a flight from Happy Valley-Goose Bay to St. John’s.


Former Labrador MP Peter Penashue posted about the incident on Twitter, saying the two men called an Inuk man a racial slur and mocked an Innu woman for speaking her language.


The airline responded the next day, saying it is “deeply troubled” by the remarks and committing to a welcoming environment for all customers, especially Indigenous communities in Labrador.


Johannes Lampe, president of the Nunatsiavut Inuit government, said the incident is “troubling and disturbing” and thanked the airline for its quick response.


NunatuKavut Community Council President Todd Russell also expressed disappointment over what he called the “vile” situation, while thanking the airline and passengers who shared the incident on social media.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 11, 2019.

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