One of Canada’s largest unions is crying foul over the RCMP’s decision to order a union-chartered plane flying over Ottawa to land, accusing the Mounties of doing so for political reasons.
The Public Service Alliance of Canada says the plane was carrying a French-language banner on Saturday that translates into “Stephen Harper hates us.”
An RCMP spokeswoman said in an e-mail that the plane appeared to be flying within restricted airspace over Parliament Hill so the Mounties requested it land.
Corporal Lucy Shorey says the RCMP is responsible for security of Parliament Hill and takes all potential threats seriously.
She says the questioned the pilot and determined there was no security threat and considers the matter closed.
But in a news release the union says the pilot was aware of airspace restrictions in place in Ottawa and says Nav-Canada has confirmed the plane did not venture into the restricted zone.
It says the RCMP could have radioed the pilot and asked his intentions rather than arbitrarily ordering the plane to land.
The union says the plane had been towing the banner over Montreal and other communities in Quebec for the past couple of weeks.
The union has been waging a public relations battle with the Harper government over its plans to slash thousands of public sector jobs.