Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Things I Now Care About

Maxime Bernier's ex-girlfriends.

What looked like a non-issue a week ago has exploded with the surprising firing/resignation of Maxime Bernier, ending a rather underwhelming year as foreign affairs minister. Once touted as a possible heir to Harper, his political future is pretty much toast:

Maxime Bernier has resigned as foreign affairs minister, after he acknowledged leaving sensitive government documents out in the open -- apparently at his former girlfriend's home.

Sources told CTV News the documents included classified information for last April's NATO summit in Romania. One sensitive document contained details about NATO's military strategy in Afghanistan.



Leaving your stuff at an ex's is always awkward, so I'd image when it's confidential NATO files, "awkward" doesn't even begin to describe it.

So Bernier is out and the former Liberal David Emerson becomes Harper's third foreign affairs minister, with a shuffle expected this summer, at which point some other poor sucker will get the job. Although it's a difficult portfolio, I can't for the life of me imagine them faring any worse than Bernier, who has now given Harper one of the larger black eyes of his time as PM thus far.

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24 Comments:

  • Guys,

    This is not the worse. The GF said that her home was bugged. She knows because a security sweep found the bug.

    That means the government knows that she has been compromised. And, harper did nothing.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 1:23 AM  

  • Didn't have to be the gov't bugging her, it could've been the Angels...which would be even worse, you know they have just a teeny interest in certain Afghani crops, as well as airport security...just sayin.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:57 AM  

  • Today is... a good day to be Lawrence Cannon.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 6:54 AM  

  • This news led me to 3 thoughts:
    1. I can't believe we criticized MacKay's choice in women.
    2. How much would Air Canada charge to ship a dog from a farm in Nova Scotia to Beauce Quebec?
    Just wondering cause Bernier could use the prop. Errr, companionship.
    3. Now that MacKay and Prentice have quietly gotten rid of Bernier as a leadership threat, will the infighting get nastier?

    By Blogger ktr, at 9:27 AM  

  • So, uh, how messed up must Foreign Affairs be these days? Briefing a new minister every few months must be getting kind of old.

    By Blogger Demosthenes, at 9:49 AM  

  • And, harper did nothing.

    ...besides fire Bernier as soon as he found out?

    By Anonymous The Invisible Hand, at 10:16 AM  

  • He'd almost have done just as well to give Day the job; defying all odds, ol' Stock has flown under the radar the last few years.

    By Blogger IslandLiberal, at 10:17 AM  

  • To be honest, I think Day got a bad rap from his tenure as Alliance leader. Under his leadership, yes there were gaffes, but the Alliance gained 6 points in the 2000 election (Harper only did 4% better in 2004).
    Day is actually one of the few members of Harper's cabinet with ministerial experience... so perhaps Day will have his day yet.

    Stockwell Day fun-fact: Stockwell Day once worked as an interior decorator.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 10:49 AM  

  • If we all cross our fingers, we may wake up one day with a Rob Anders as Foreign Minister.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:33 AM  

  • I don't think the idea of Stockwell Day in Foreign Affairs is all that loony, actually.

    He's been one of Harper's most sure-footed ministers, and has represented Canada well on his international jaunts.

    I'm sure the media would have a field day with it, and perhaps his past will forever tar his name, but Day has been a stalwart in the Harper cabinet and would probably be a very solid Foreign Affairs minister.

    By Blogger sir john a., at 12:24 PM  

  • Can Stockwell redo 24 Sussex, Stornoway and Rideau Hall? Save the taxpayer a bundle. He can rpobably get a deal at RONA on CPC bleu paint.

    Maybe a religious theme in all?

    That mural in the BC legislature depicting partially clad natives needs a home.

    By Blogger art, at 12:40 PM  

  • “...besides fire Bernier as soon as he found out?”

    Invisible,

    Bernier resigned. Harper had to accept the resignation after defending him for weeks.

    God knows what’s on the tapes. Will it come back to haunt the harperites?

    By Blogger JimTan, at 12:50 PM  

  • I imagine the speculation will heat up but, for now, you have to think Stock is one of the front runners for this job...

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 1:13 PM  

  • I've done my part to lobby on behalf of Stockwell Day. I think it would be great fun to see our friends opposite and the media twist themselves in knots to criticize him and then watch him knock ball after ball out of the park on this file.

    By Blogger Chuckercanuck, at 1:31 PM  

  • let the drive by's continue and it will distract the Liberals from their job of Opposing policies.

    When ya throw crap around, ya end up smelly.

    People notice.

    Have a nice Carbon Tax day :)

    By Blogger Fred, at 1:46 PM  

  • Why is the harper cabinet so weak?

    To be fair, any new government has a number of untested members. There will be gaffes and reshuffles.

    That said, where are the replacements for Oda, Conner, McKay, Clement, the turncoat Emerson etc. The CPC has had two years to strengthen their lineup. Instead, the cabinet looks weaker today than in 2006.

    This is a serious problem. Harper has to micro-manage issues that his colleague should be handling. Harper has less time and focus for strategic issues.

    The Foreign Ministry is a challenging post for conservatives. They lack the sophistication and international experience needed.

    The post has already found McKay and Bernier wanting. The turncoat Emerson lacks credibility. I would love to have Stockwell Day as FM. However, I don’t relish having a WASP like Day speak for Canada in Europe and Asia.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 4:32 PM  

  • The toughest bit for Harper is that he's been spending the past couple of weeks saying "This whole thing is the Liberal party searching for more smear material here. There's no danger. No security threat."

    Now he's in the embarassing position of having to say "Okay, maybe there was a danger." He can try to say he was right if he says it wasn't the GF's fault at all -- her returning the file shows that -- just that Bernier was an idiot. (Which is bad enough when you consider who chose the idiot for the position) Unfortunately, the bug suggests something else. Either it was a Canadian gov't bug, indicating somebody, somewhere in the gov't thought she'd be a risk, or it's somebody elses bug (Angels or perhaps other gov't), which means she really was a risk. Either way it's bad news for Harper's stance and you can bet the entire Conservative caucus is getting re-vetted as we speak.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:04 PM  

  • This tends to show what the Harper government is all about.

    Bernier's girlfriend found the documents, and reported them to the authorities. Presumably they were picked up. There was nothing wrong at that time, and no need for the resignation.

    The need for the resignation only came when the GF decided to tell about it on a TV news program. When Harper found out that it was on the news, that was the end of Bernier.

    The problem is not the security breach, but the leak of the security breach (which I suppose would be a security breach itself).

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:06 PM  

  • It's a pity that Judas has now become the foreign minister.

    By Anonymous justin, at 9:07 PM  

  • I think the shortage of talent in the CPC is due to a mix of the fact that it draws fewer candidates from the "governing class" (people with advanced degrees) and has less experience in government due to not being in power since 1993.

    That said, Harper has some decent bench strength, but a lot of the talent is under-utilized (or was misused), and weak in Quebec. Tony Clement is wasted in healthcare, a ministry Harper is doing nothing with (I'd predict Fletcher moving in there).

    Jim Prentice and David Emerson are top-notch ministers similarly under-utilized in middle-tier positions. Emerson is perfect in that he is competent and has no future - thus is unlikely to engage in a coup against Harper (which is sad, as he is probably the most qualified MP for the PMO, having a phd, and experience as a minister, head of a bureacratic department and CEO).

    I am more reluctant about Solberg and Strahl (great communicators, but they may lack the background for some of the bigger jobs) but they are perfect for less high-profile jobs.

    I would like to see Diane Ablonczy in cabinet too - the trouble is there are so many damn Albertans as it is.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 1:13 AM  

  • JimTan: Bernier resigned.

    How charmingly naive. Do you really not know how high-profile firings work? They put "resigned" in the press release to allow the condemned to save some face.

    Anon 5:06pm: Bernier's girlfriend found the documents, and reported them to the authorities. Presumably they were picked up. There was nothing wrong at that time, and no need for the resignation.

    The need for the resignation only came when the GF decided to tell about it on a TV news program. When Harper found out that it was on the news, that was the end of Bernier.


    Don't try to sneak in falsehoods. Every source I've seen states that Harper didn't find out about the lost documents until Monday afternoon, at which point he immediately fired Bernier.

    And as for the "bug", so far there's no real evidence it ever existed. We only have Couillard's say-so, based on unknown, circumstantial evidence from an unnamed source. (CTV quoted an expert who pointed out that it would make no sense to hide a bug inside a mattress, since it would muffle the sound.)

    Furthermore, Couillard herself doesn't seem like a very credible source on this topic, considering she tried to sell the story to the Toronto star for $50,000. (Can you say "Prince Harry's waitress"?)

    By Anonymous The Invisible Hand, at 4:30 AM  

  • "And as for the "bug", so far there's no real evidence it ever existed. We only have Couillard's say-so, based on unknown, circumstantial evidence from an unnamed source. (CTV quoted an expert who pointed out that it would make no sense to hide a bug inside a mattress, since it would muffle the sound.)"

    So, why doesn't harper get the RCMP to check the mattress and give their expert opinion? Why dimiss it altogether?

    By Blogger JimTan, at 4:48 AM  

  • "Jim Prentice and David Emerson are top-notch ministers similarly under-utilized in middle-tier positions. Emerson is perfect in that he is competent and has no future - thus is unlikely to engage in a coup against Harper"

    It means that the New Government has a weak Prime Minister. Even worse than a weak cabinet!

    By Blogger JimTan, at 5:00 AM  

  • Stock as Foreign Minister would be good if Harper wants the government to fall on foreign affairs.

    What will he do at Fort Pearson? Pull Canada out of UNESCO for its pro-choice policies and not teaching intelligent design in Third World countries?

    He will knock ball after ball out of the ballpark, by pitching beach balls that Bob Rae can hit juicy homers with.

    By Blogger Mushroom, at 6:48 PM  

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