NEWS
10/13/2011 01:19 EDT | Updated 12/13/2011 05:12 EST

Gunman Shows Up At Ottawa Home Of Air Canada Executive Duncan Dee

Air Canada
OTTAWA - The labour dispute between Air Canada and its flight attendants has taken a menacing turn after a suspected gunman made a late-night appearance near an airline executive's home and the federal labour minister closed her office after receiving threats.

Police are investigating after a man showed up near Air Canada executive Duncan Dee's Ottawa home late Wednesday evening with what appeared to be a handgun.

A police spokesman says the man drove up to a private security guard outside Dee's house and showed him what looked like a gun before driving away.

"We responded to a call in that area at around 11:20 last night when a private security guard saw a suspicious male in the area," Const. Marc Soucy told The Canadian Press.

"That suspicious male was driving a vehicle and showed him what appeared to be a firearm. It was never confirmed."

Soucy added that "Nothing was ever said that he was going to kill anybody or do harm to anyone."

Dee is the airline's executive vice president and chief operating officer. He has been Air Canada's main spokesman during the airline's contract dispute with the union representing its 6,800 flight attendants.

Air Canada was not immediately available for comment.

CBC reported that Dee has extra security as a precaution during the current labour dispute.

On Thursday, threats prompted Labour Minister Lisa Raitt to close her constituency office in Milton, Ont., just outside Toronto.

A note taped to the door did not specify the nature of the threats.

"Please be advised that due to threats and charges of both a direct and an indirect nature, our office is closed for reasons relating to both personal and public safety concerns," the note said.

On Wednesday, Raitt thwarted a planned strike by referring the dispute to the Canada Industrial Relations Board. The flight attendants cannot strike while the matter is before the tribunal.

The board says it has been asked to determine whether flight attendant services need to be maintained "to prevent an immediate and serious danger to the safety or health of the public."

The union has accused Raitt of misusing the board, which is mean to be an independent, quasi-judicial body.

The flight attendants have rejected two contracts that the Canadian Union of Public Employees negotiated with Montreal-based Air Canada in the last three months

The rocky relationship between the airline and its unions goes back years to when the company restructured under bankruptcy protection and won concessions from workers to reduce costs.

— With files from Craig Wong and Allison Jones