Jean-Pierre Blackburn's airport meltdown has received considerably less ink overall in the papers, it seems, than the Guergis tantrum. Granted, this is no doubt because Blackburn's tale lacked hurled footwear and insults to a province. But -- and I just throw it out for discussion -- might it also be that we have slightly more tolerance for men losing their tempers?
Green Party leader Elizabeth May, in a new blog post, argues that we should have zero tolerance for bad ministerial behaviour at airports, whether they come from men or women. And she cites the precedent of Alan Redway.
I am writing a blog about this because I think I am the only person in
political life who remembers Alan Redman. Alan Redman was a Progressive
Conservative MP in the Mulroney government. If memory serves, he was a
Minister of State in a lesser portfolio until his airport misadventure.
Unlike recent bad behaviour from Cabinet members, he was a real
gentleman, so no tantrums were involved. But Alan Redman made the
mistake of a little joke in the security line up. He suggested with a
laugh that the businessman traveling with him might have a gun and to be
sure to search him properly.
The fact he was a Cabinet member did not merit him any latitude at
security. He was charged. He was demoted. And he was very contrite
and genuine in his apology.
Perhaps if people could be reminded of how these incidents used to be
handled (penalty for foolishness, not expecting MPs to get away with
behaviour the average citizen could not evade, real apologies), perhaps
if we remembered how a more minor incident was handled, we might insist
on consequences for those in public life today.