Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Minister Helena Guergis

A recent despicable act of disrespect for security employees at a Charlottetown airport should not be allowed to pass without consequences. Junior cabinet minister Helena Guergis is off the hook with a simple apology that has been accepted by the Prime Minister’s Office. That is little consequence for a minister who, according to media reports, allegedly threw a tantrum and screamed obscenities at airport staff who asked her to take her boots off for security screening.

In her apology Minister Guergis, minister of state for the status of women, said she was rushing to catch a flight and spoke emotionally to some staff members. She also said, “Regardless of my workload and personal circumstances, it was not appropriate and I apologize to airport and Air Canada staff.”

The larger issue here is how elected officials see themselves after their election to office. It becomes an issue of whether or not they appreciate the trust voters and the Prime Minister’s office expect of them. I believe voters should hold politicians to account for their actions. In most cases an apology is sufficient, but in this case something more than a simple apology would be appropriate and should be expected by both the Prime Minister’s office and the voters. Maybe since she is a junior minister she should be required to wear an “In Training” label for a month at minimum wage as a consequence of her inappropriate conduct. Or, maybe she shouldn't be in cabinet at all.