Originally published on the DaninOttawa.com site on February 9th, 2013.
Today I have new found empathy for Globe and Mail reporter Kenneth Harvey. Back in the summer of 2011 Mr. Harvey found himself “bumped” from an Air Canada flight by none other than current MP and interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae. Mr. Rae had claimed his “Super Elite” first class status in order to board the Air Canada flight leaving Mr. Harvey behind to ponder what just had happened. Ultimately this led to an entertaining column by Kenneth Harvey that can be found online here …
Last night on my way back to Okanagan-Coquihalla I arrived at the Lester B. Pearson International airport (YYZ) in Toronto where I had a confirmed ticket for a connecting flight to Vancouver. Subscribers to my weekly MP reports and regular followers of my blog will know that I make every effort to avoid flying first class. I made a commitment when I was elected that wherever possible I would run my constituency affairs not unlike how I ran my business.
To my surprise an individual who was NOT confirmed for my flight (but like me was desperate to get back to BC), appears to have executed the same Bob Rae maneuver and claimed the same kind of “Super Elite” status to get on the Air Canada flight thus bumping off another passenger. You can guess which passenger was bumped! All I can say is that I sympathize with Mr. Harvey and ended up arriving at my destination around 3 AM.
The upside, is that the added time waiting for another flight allowed me to catch up on the day’s events including hearing about a small family business who after 14 years of paying into EI benefits, was ultimately denied them. Apparently this can be quite a common occurrence. I placed a call to the CFIB’s (Canadian Federation of Independent Business) new director of Provincial Affairs Mike Klassen to find out just how often this situation impacts small family run businesses. This may well be a subject worth further investigation. I also had a chance to catch up with my staff (who also like to work crazy hours) and a few constituents back in Okanagan-Coquihalla. All in all it ended up being a fairly productive wait for the next flight and thanks to technology I was able to stay connected and enjoyed hearing from citizens back in BC.
I not only now have a better understanding of Kenneth Harvey’s experience, I also appreciate why many MP’s look to get "Super Elite" Status– if you have important commitments it is clearly one way to better ensure that you get to your destination. Unfortunately this in effect also means that your arrival may come at the expense of another passenger. I am sticking to flying the same way that I always have and how most of the citizens who live in Okanagan-Coquihalla fly. My apologies to those citizens that I have had to reschedule with today on account of my delay.
In addition to his weekly MP Report. the Dan in Ottawa blog is another resource for residents of Okanagan-Coquihalla. Chronicling Dan’s personal experiences as he travels to Ottawa and throughout the riding as your MP.
For more information about Dan Albas, click here.