MLA defends 'weather girl' comment, files suit
Last updated Jun 7 2006 11:01 AM ADT
Liberal MLA Mike Murphy has slapped Tory Margaret Ann
Blaney with a slander suit for accusing him of making
a sexist remark in the legislature.
Murphy, a lawyer, filed the action in Fredericton
court Wednesday morning. Blaney was served with the
suit in a back corridor of the legislature soon after.
"These is a line in the sand and she's crossed it,"
the Moncton-area MLA said. "It was an innocuous
statement and she knows it."
Blaney, who represents Saint John Kings, told
reporters that Moncton North MLA Mike Murphy referred
to female weather broadcasters in a derogatory way
during Question Period last Friday.
"He was talking about the budget," she said. "He said,
'I want the minister to tell me what proof he has from
any district engineer,' very professional term, 'any
departmental official,' again, professional in
approach, 'any climatologist' professional 'or any
weather girl,' " she said, recalling Murphy's
comments. "You know, we've moved on to the 21st
century. I thought it was derogatory and I thought it
was inappropriate and I thought it was the kind of
language we shouldn't be employing in the house."
Murphy said he is outraged that Blaney, who served as
minister responsible for the status of women from 1999
and 2006, interpreted the statement in that way.
He said he never intended the term "weather girl" to
be offensive. "This is a slur against my family name.
This is a slur against my wife, this is a slur against
my children — of the five of them, two are teenaged
girls and this is an insult to them."
Murphy is seeking general and special damages, and
costs. He says he will drop the suit if Blaney
apologizes for the accusation. So far, she has refused.