Appalling Behaviour By A Cabinet Minister

            Kent Hehr, the minister of sports and disabilities, should be fired.

            During a meeting in his office with a group of thalidomide victims it’s said that he lectured: “You don’t have it so bad today as adults as you did when you were kids.” “Everyone in Canada has a sob story .....not just you.” And, most egregious of all, “So you probably have about ten years left now. That’s good for the government.”

            That Hehr himself is disabled doesn’t excuse him; if anything it makes his comments even more unacceptable and inexcusable.

            His “apology” was both revealing and ridiculous: revealing in that he didn’t deny making the statements; and ridiculous in that he suggested his remarks were misconstrued. His remarks were not capable of being misconstrued.

            Hehr was previously minister of veterans affairs, but was relieved of that portfolio a few months ago, presumably for incompetence.

            Liberal MP Steve MacKinnon, best known for his supercilious smirk when trying to defend the indefensible on CTV’s political show Power Play, stated that Hehr is one of the most empathetic people he knows. If MacKinnon thinks Hehr’s comments reflect empathy, I shudder to contemplate what MacKinnon thinks antipathy would sound like.

Too Thinned-skinned Or ....

            Sherry Romando, parliamentary secretary to the minister of veterans affairs, said this week that a “sexual remark” made months ago by Conservative MP James Bezan caused “great stress and negatively affected my work environment.” Let’s examine the facts.

            Romando and Bezan were at a function honouring veterans when they were asked to join an unidentified person for a photo. Bezan flippantly remarked, “This isn’t my idea of a threesome.” Although juvenile and inappropriate, as a “sexual remark” that’s pretty benign.

            Romando complained to Chief Resources Officer, Pierre Parent, that she’d been subject to sexual harassment, a gross exaggeration by any measure. Not surprisingly, Parent didn’t support Romando’s claim, and no disciplinary action was taken. By one journalist’s count, Bezan has apologized ro Romando at least five times, including immediately after making the remark and later in the House of Commons.

            This woman is either too thin-skinned to be in politics or is simply an unscrupulous political opportunist.

An Unskilled Cabinet Maker

            As it takes a skillful carpenter to build a solid cabinet, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau must have badly failed shop class.

            Almost one third of his 29 cabinet ministers have experienced levels of bad judgement and/or incompetence ranging from surprising to shocking.

            On the list are: Diane Lebouthillier; Harjit Sajjan; Bardish Chagger; Melanie Joly; Catherine McKenna; Maryam Monsef; Madeleine Meilleur; and, in a class by themselves, Bill Morneau (bad judgement) and Kent Hehr (both bad judgement and incompetence).

            This, of course, is what happens when appointments are based on gender, geography, race, religion, and political expediency rather than on merit.

            The only thing worse than the calibre of Trudeau’s workmanship is his headstrong, egotistical refusal to fix his mistakes.

            Two observations come to mind: the Conservatives allegation that Trudeau was not ready to be Prime Minister, and the prediction of a politically astute friend of mine that Trudeau would gradually self-destruct.

            It’s looking more and more like both were correct.

Greg Zaun’s Firing

            Because of Paddy’s return last week I didn’t post a regular Musings, so this item is a week late. But I have three things to say.

            First, during Thursday’s Children’s weekly lunch on November 30th, veteran broadcast executive Doug Beeforth asked when we thought the sex scandal tsunami would hit the shores of the sports world. We all agreed it was imminent. We even speculated as to who the first person outed would be. Although Zaun’s name didn’t come up, less than six hours later his firing was announced. (Thursday’s Children is the venerable sports/broadcast group to which I’m honoured to belong.)

            Second, I was surprised.

            And finally, if Zaun’s inappropriate behaviour was known to so many for so long, why didn’t Sportsnet take steps much earlier?

Blue Jays Sales Sale Rumour

            There are many reasons why Rogers might consider selling the Jays, but number one on the list is likely the potential capital gain of more than a billion dollars.

Harvey Brooker

            Toronto weight-loss guru Harvey Brooker died this week.

            As I’ve noted before, Harvey’s radio ads were tagged with one of the best lines ever. “If you could do it alone, you’d have done it already.”