She swore, she kicked, she made a fuss.
It was one of the worst meltdowns a staff member of Charlottetown Airport says he's ever seen - and it came from a federally elected representative.
Junior cabinet minister Helena Guergis has apologized for her behaviour at the island's airport last week, saying she regrets that she "spoke emotionally" to Air Canada staff.
The minister of state for the status of women said she was rushing to catch a flight a week ago Friday and sputtered some regrettable things to airport staff. The Conservative MP for Simcoe-Grey admitted her behaviour was "not appropriate."
Despite the apology, the staff member says he and others remain livid about the way they were treated.
"Everybody was … trying to get her out, trying to help her. But she took it upon herself to think everyone was trying to block her at every move," he said. "She was very unprofessional, very unorganized, very rude."
According to the staffer, Ms. Guergis and her assistant showed up 15 minutes before her scheduled Air Canada Jazz flight to Montreal around 5:30 p.m., already nagging employees to hurry up.
"She was yelling at the Jazz agent to hurry up and that [he was]wasting her time and that she had to get going because she wanted to get home [to her husband]because it's her 'effing birthday,'" the employee said.
They were told they could not tote their oversized bags as carry-on and would have to check them. The pair approached the gate and began banging trying to break through.
"A staffer went to the gates to tell her to just hang on because she was literally banging and kicking on the glass at the security doors," he said.
When they reached security, she ran through the metal detectors, he said, setting off the bells.
"She took her boots off and she threw them" at a security official, he said, berating them the whole time.
Then she was waved over by another staffer, a single mother, he said.
She said 'I'm going to be stuck in this shithole because of you,'" he said.
After clearing security, the two had to wait at the security gate for an Air Canada staffer who had left to search for Ms. Guergis and her aide.
"They started kicking and banging on the glass at the gate trying to get out," he said.
The pair were finally allowed on the plane, the staffer said, which had since been delayed so Ms. Guergis could board.
"There was 40 some-odd other people that she should also be apologizing to," he said.
Ms. Guergis's apology came just after Liberal MP Wayne Easter received a letter Thursday detailing a dramatic series of events much like the one relayed by this staffer, who says he did not write the letter and hasn't seen it.
The employee said Ms. Guergis called some staffers to apologize, but didn't contact everyone.
"It was certainly not my intention to create any additional stress for airport or Air Canada employees who already have a very difficult job," she said in the apology. She went on to say her father was born in Summerside, PEI, and relatives live on the island and that she tries to visit every year.
Colleagues on the Hill were not impressed with the MP's behaviour, but satisfied with her retraction.
"If you're going to lose your temper, you do it behind closed doors, not in public," said Peter Stoffer, the NDP MP for Sackville-Eastern Shore in Nova Scotia. "We're all human, we all screw up and make mistakes, but hopefully she learns from this."
Ms. Guergis stood by her husband, former Tory MP Rahim Jaffer, when he was charged with cocaine possession and drunk driving charges in September, 2009. Last week, court heard that his case would be heading toward a plea bargain in early March.Report Typo/Error