Ah, Peter MacKay

June 19, 2014

Now the CBC is after Minister of Justice Peter MacKay for his comments about why so few women become federal court judges. He suggested that women don’t want to be separated from their young children.

Someone no doubt googled Chauvinistic comments by Peter MacKay and came up with a follow-up story based on an old comment to NDP leader Alexa McDonough during an election battle: “I think you better stick to your knitting and win your own riding.”

MacKay seemed taken aback by criticism of this particular bon mot, and I can agree that he probably had no sexist intent in the jibe. “Stick to the knitting” is one of the key slogans for organizational success in Peters and Waterman’s In Search of Excellence, a 1980’s book on organizational structures.

Perhaps more appropriate reading for Mr. MacKay would be The Peter Principle by Laurence J. Peter, in which he suggests that a characteristic of organizations is that the ambitious and capable individual is gradually promoted to his own personal level of incompetence.

Nonetheless, I have become rather fond of Mr. MacKay of late. His good-hearted bloopers lighten my day. (Update: July 3, 2014) Imagine another minister who would handle a question in the manner he did the latest F35 single-engine fighter jet concern.
Asked what will happen if the engine fails, Peter MacKay replied, “It won’t.” Of course an F35 engine blew during takeoff in Florida a week later, grounding the fleet, but you’ve gotta love MacKay’s spunk.

Imagine the fun in 2015 if by some miracle Peter MacKay faced Justin Trudeau in a general election. Journalists would pay attention again. Photographers would have a ball at photo ops where exceptionally attractive couples and their toddlers competed to be Canada’s royal family.

Both of these guys are just loopy enough to get everyone’s attention and involvement. Neither likes a script. What if a national dialogue broke out?

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