An Indigenous passenger from Nain Labrador is outraged after a recent flight with PAL Airlines on Monday from Happy Valley-Goose Bay to St. John’s.
Miriam Lidd is from Labrador and was headed to St. John’s Newfoundland with her father Adam Lidd for medical reasons aboard a PAL Airlines flight when two men sat next to her were blatantly racist.
“No one should ever experience what I experienced on flight 922 on PAL Airlines,” Lidd told 100.1 The Moose. “I hope and pray my children don’t ever have to experience what we did yesterday on that flight.”
CBC Newfoundland and Labrador reported that according to a spokesperson from Nalcor, the men were employed by an unknown subcontractor who was contracted by general contractor Enercon Builders, a St. John’s company that was working on the Height of the Land Hotel in Churchill Falls.
“The men said very hurtful words,” Lidd told 100.1 The Moose. “Being called an Eskimo saying we’re stinky saying where’s the kamotik being very rude to the flight attendant and they also sexually harassed her by humping her behind and pretending to kiss her.”
Lidd says the flight attendant did speak up and told him to step away and that they were very rude.
“We were only 30-45 minutes from Gander,” Lidd said. “I really think they should have turned back and dropped them off.”
Lidd was on her way to St. John’s for medical treatment with her Father Adam Lidd and says that the support they have received from people across the country and PAL Airlines was overwhelming.
“I can only say, maybe all of this will make the men better people,” Lidd said. “As old as they are. people can change and dear God I hope they learned from this.”
PAL Airlines responded with a written statement saying “PAL Airlines is deeply troubled by the nature of these remarks and saddened that our valued customers were exposed to this behavior.”
“Comments such as these have no place in our society and will not be tolerated by our company,” PAL Airlines stated. “We commend our flight crew for addressing the offending passengers and appreciate the restraint shown by other customers on board.”
PAL Airlines banned the men from future flights and this morning CBC Newfoundland and Labrador reported that Nalcor Energy has banned the men from future work at the site.
“Nalcor has made great strides in recent years to build relations with Indigenous groups in Labrador, and will not stand for such behaviour,” said Deanne Fisher, a spokesperson from Nalcor.
“Nalcor cannot control who is hired by contractors, but can take action if they behave in such an unacceptable manner.”
Dan Valin is the Manager, of Marketing and Communications of Canadian North, an airline that operates in the NWT. Canadian North operates with the main values of safety, integrity, teamwork, innovation, service excellence and community respect.
“We have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to racism or any unbeknown conduct on our flights,” Valin said.
For the Lidd family, today they are on a flight back to Nain Labrador where they will try to pick up the pieces from this ordeal.
“Thank you to all my fellow people for standing behind me,” Lidd said. “I’m very emotional since I watched the news. Nakummek, thank you all.”