Saganash booted off flight

Image from Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press.

NPD MP apologizes after being kicked off a regional flight for public intoxication

By Keating Smith, Contributor

New Democrat MP Romeo Saganash has publicly apologized for being kicked off of an Air Canada Jazz flight last week after showing signs of public intoxication.

Saganash, the MP for the Abitibi-Baie-James-Nunavik-Eeyou constituency in Quebec was boarding the plane in Montreal bound for Val-d’Or when crewmembers on the flight deemed him too intoxicated to fly.

“Neither fatigue nor stress can justify what I did. I need help to overcome a medical problem, a dependence on alcohol, like far too many other Canadians,” Saganash said in a public statement.

Both a residential school survivor and former deputy grand chief of the Grand Council of Cree’s, Saganash became the first person of Cree decent in Quebec to receive a degree in law which he completed at the Université du Québec à Montréal in 1989.

Saganash has asked for a leave of absence in order to deal with his problematic issues surrounding alcohol and suggests in his statement that his problems with alcohol are related to the 10 years he spent in residential school.

“Life on Parliament Hill can be hectic and exciting, but it is also full of obstacles and pitfalls. Many of my colleagues can attest to this,” Saganash said. “I have asked my leader [Thomas Mulcair] to give me leave so that I can take the necessary time to treat this illness.”

Last year, Saganash was the second behind Brian Topp to make a bid for NDP leadership. He dropped out of the race in February, citing a lack of financial support, illness in his family, and time constraints as to why he ceased campaigning.  He later supported fellow Quebecer Mulcair in the race.