Spinks has a post up about the most recent shenanigans of Margaret-Ann Blaney and an unfortunate comment by Roly MacIntyre that has allowed her to get out of the controversy over her flawed remarks.
MacIntyre called Blaney "Barbie" during Question Period yesterday which sounds quite vile, but deserves some context. Elizabeth Weir was the one who started calling her Barbie and use to call her it almost everyday and it is now a common nickname for her around the legislature and when Elizabeth used to say it on the record it was never considered sexist. Moreover, Blaney never protested when it was used informally and infact, I believe, referred to herself as such on a few occassions.
This isn't the first time she has taken something completely out of context, feigned being the victim, and tried to make political hay of it.
In 2000, when she was Transportation Minister, there was a big scandal because her riding association sent out a letter saying that if construction companies didn't donate, they wouldn't get road contracts. It was a huge bru-ha-ha and everyone expected she would resign but the Times & Transcript had an editorial cartoon of two construction workers, one with a bulge in his pants, and the caption was "Is that Margaret-Ann Blaney in your pocket or are you happy to see me?" She threw a big spell, cried on the floor of the legislature, and the story became about the cartoon and not her unethical campaign contribution solicitations.
In 2005 when she was Minister of Training & Employment Development, she appointed a bunch of Tory partisans with no qualifications to the Human Rights Commission and I think the Workplace Safety Commission. Mike Murphy went on a lengthy rant about it and listed off a bunch of occupations that would be suitable backgrounds for the appointment and said something along the lines of "we don't need dog catchers, garbage men and weather girls deciding on workplace accidents and discrimination cases". She, a former weather news broadcaster, claimed Murphy was making a personal and sexist attack by criticising the qualifications of female weather broadcasters. The story about the bad appointments went away and "weathergirl" became the story.
Just now, she was taking heat for making a ridiculous accusation that the Minister responsible for the Status of Women was incompetent and should resign because she was allowing the Liberals to bring in policies that would give cash only to full time university students, arguing that it is discriminatory against single mothers who can only go to school part time. So she has seized on the Barbie comment despite the fact that it is widely used as a name for her around the legislature by men and women alike of all parties and by herself.
Enough is enough. She has the distinction of being one of two ministers ever dropped from a Bernard Lord cabinet over the course of more than 7 years. I think you can imagine why.
Still working on finishing up my lengthy ramblings on the New Brunswick budget and will hopefully finish them today as the premier will be wrapping up the budget debate tomorrow. For my thoughts on the federal budget, please see Calgary Grit as we seem to be on the same page.