Opinion Editorial

Time for Guergis to re-evaluate her minister role

It may be time for Simcoe-Grey Member of Parliament Helena Guergis to take a step back -- back to the back benches, that is.

This latest incident at the airport in Charlottetown could be considered a one-off, if it wasn't indicative of a consistent pattern of conduct unbecoming her position since she was elevated to a ministerial rank by Prime Minister Stephen Harper back in 2006 when the Conservatives took office.

There have been several incidents that have only served to highlight her rather childish behaviour:

* Referring to then Liberal leader Stephen Dion and deputy-leader Michael Ignatieff as "Dion and Iggy" when the pair headed to Afghanistan in 2008, and telling the media it took the pair "eight months to find Afghanistan on a map." She also made the rather ludicrous statement that "The irony of Dion and Iggy being in a war zone and being protected by the same troops who protect Afghan women and children is palpable."

This was as Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs; she would have been aware the Liberals had made the request, for several months, to go to Afghanistan -- a request that required the permission of the government.

* Chiding a W-5 producer asking about the Brenda Martin affair to not ruin an announcement she was making at a Canadian Tire in Toronto as the parliamentary secretary in charge of sport -- then ducking out the back door without making the announcement in order to avoid the television cameras. That particular stunt cost taxpayers about $1,500 according to her expense report on the Government of Canada's website.

* Blaming Dion for her not being allowed to set a wedding date because of the possibility of a snap election -- ignoring the fact that as the parliamentary calendar is published, it left plenty of windows of opportunity for her to get hitched without worrying about an election being called.

* Wagging her finger at the media -- again, accusing them of ruining an event -- when she was questioned about husband Rahim Jaffer's criminal charges.

In a piece by theNational Post'snational affairs columnist -- coincidently, almost exactly two years ago -- Don Martin wrote Guergis "should be removed before her amateur antics and strange behaviour trigger an international incident."

Well, her alleged antics at the Charlottetown airport may not be on the other side of the international border, but it is certainly making waves across provincial boundaries.

It is also well beyond the usual partisan chicanery we've come to expect from the Simcoe-Grey MP. As a number of commentators have pointed out, had an average Canadian exhibited that kind of behaviour in an airport, being a few minutes late for a flight would have been the least of his or her problems.

If Guergis is indeed under stress from her "workload and personal circumstances," as she stated in her apology in regard to the incident, then it may be in her own best interests to re-evaluate her political career and request a demotion.



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