Canada minister sorry for airport tequila tussle

Fri Mar 19, 2010 1:20pm EDT
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - A Canadian government minister apologized on Friday for getting into an argument with airport security staff after he was told he could not take a bottle of tequila on board the plane.

The incident was the second time in three weeks that a member of the Conservative government has apologized for misbehaving at an airport.

Veterans Affairs Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn said Ottawa airport officials had confiscated the bottle late last month because it was too big. He then got into a heated argument with staff, demanding it be destroyed.

"Granted, I was definitely upset at what happened, and I apologize to those I could have offended," Blackburn said in a statement. CTV television quoted sources as saying the argument was so heated that airport staff almost called police.

In late February, junior cabinet minister Helena Guergis apologized for berating airport staff at Charlottetown in Atlantic Canada. Media reports said Guergis, angry at being forced to go through security, had called the town "a hellhole" and told staff she was "working my ass off for you people".

Opposition politicians say the incidents show the Conservatives are out of touch with ordinary Canadians.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Rob Wilson)