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Bad behaviour unbecoming

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I have to admit when I hear one party demand the resignation of a member of another party I usually tune it out.

Demands for resignations are so common among politicians they have lost their lustre as news.

But when a cabinet minister kicks and screams her way through an airport, throws her boots and curses at airline staff, security personnel and others, it’s not surprising to see demands for her resignation.

Manitoba Liberal MP Anita Neville this afternoon issued a news release demanding Minister of State for the Status of Women Helena Guergis, resign.

"Stephen Harper needs to hold his Ministers to a higher standard and go beyond insincere apologies and childish excuses," Neville said in her press release. "He needs to ask her to step down. Ms. Guergis’ behaviour is completely unacceptable of any citizen, let alone a Minister of the Crown."

This after stories about Guergis’s behaviour at the Charlottetown airport last week made their way into the national media.

The incident in Charlottetown occurred Feb. 19. Guergis did not apologize until Feb. 25 after an anonymous letter sent to PEI Liberal MP Wayne Easter outed her.

If anyone else had behaved as Guergis did, they’d likely have been detained by police and possibly barred from boarding that or any other flight. Guergis however was accommodated by having a plane held for her for 40 minutes, delaying other passengers and putting an airline’s schedule out of whack.

Anyone else embarrassing their employer by behaving like that on a business trip would also likely face serious consequences at work.

The irony that the Guergis story broke almost at the same moment as Transport Minister John Baird was announcing a new tax – erm okay user fee – to beef up security in airports is likely not lost on anyone.

I have no idea why she behaved like she did. I have no idea if this is normal behaviour for her or not. I imagine her life has been somewhat stressful of late as her husband, former Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer, faces charges of drug possession and impaired driving.

It’s also interesting to note Jaffer was disciplined in 2001 by the Canadian Alliance Party when he sent an aide to impersonate himself on a radio call-in show. The aide resigned and Jaffer was suspended as chair of the Alliance’s small-business advisory committee.

Having someone impersonate you on a radio show when you are an opposition MP was dishonest Jaffer was appropriately punished for it.

But if his behaviour resulted in a demotion, what should become of a minister of the crown who throws a hissy fit and demands special treatment?

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About Mia Rabson

Mia Rabson is a born and bred Winnipegger whose interest in politics seemed clear when she dressed up as Prime Minister Brian Mulroney for Halloween in the 7th grade.

Her interest in writing was no surprise to her parents, who learned early in Mia’s life that no piece of blank paper — or wall, for that matter — was safe in her hands.

She holds an honours BA in English from Queen’s University, a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Western Ontario, and has completed a political journalism fellowship in Washington, D.C. with the Washington Centre for Politics and Journalism.

Prior to working for the Winnipeg Free Press, Mia briefly worked for the Detroit News in the paper’s Washington bureau.

Mia joined the Free Press team in February 2001, and in April 2001 was appointed to the Manitoba legislature bureau. In December 2004, she was appointed bureau chief at the legislature. She became the newspaper’s parliamentary bureau chief/national reporter in Ottawa in January 2008.

In 2008 she was nominated for a Michener Award with a team of reporters from the Free Press for its coverage of the province’s child welfare system.

She counts reliving the invasion at Dieppe, France, with veterans of the failed Second World War expedition and overcoming her fear of heights to touch the Golden Boy statue atop the Legislative Building among her favourite experiences as a reporter.


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