The University of Winnipeg supports First Nations leadership and flood evacuees 

Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Winnipeg is calling on Air Canada to reverse a decision to pull its flight attendants from a downtown Winnipeg hotel and is offering to meet with its President to correct inaccurate perceptions of downtown safety. In an open letter sent today to Calin Rovinescu, President and David I. Richardson, Board Chair, Air Canada, Axworthy notes that UWinnipeg is an active partner in downtown renewal which is resulting in crime reductions. He also expresses distress that Air Canada is perpetuating stereotypes towards First Nations people. 

Lloyd Axworthy, President and Vice-Chancellor, UWinnipeg

“As a University located on Treaty One land in the heart of the Métis Nation, where a full 12% of our students self-identify as Indigenous, and as a learning institution, it is our responsibility to speak out and to educate,” said Axworthy.  “As one of Canada’s best known companies Air Canada should lead by example, and I can only express my extreme disappointment and call upon you to reverse your decision and provide a full and unequivocal apology.” 

This past summer, UWinnipeg partnered with a broad-based community coalition to create fun and educational opportunities for Manitoba’s flood-evacuated children, many of whom remain stranded in hotel rooms.  

“The University of Winnipeg has worked closely with several of the flood-evacuated communities and leadership and we have had a very positive experience,” stated Axworthy in his letter to Air Canada. “When a major Canadian corporation blames a lack of safety and security in a large Canadian city on a specific community the action is irresponsible, not to mention inaccurate.Your memo perpetuates a stereotype as witnessed by comments removed by various media outlets in response to stories on the issue.” 

Click here for the complete letter by Dr. Lloyd Axworthy

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Diane Poulin, Communications Officer, The University of Winnipeg
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