Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier’s public humiliation became complete with his resignation this week for being careless with cabinet level briefing papers that he evidently left at his former girlfriend’s home. Was that stupid? Oh, absolutely and undeniably. And he has paid forfeit with his job. And that is as it should be.
But the sanctimonious bleating by the Liberal Opposition is really wearing a little thin. No, more than a little thin.
The femme fatale in this sordid and tawdry movie, Julie Couillard, is basking in her 15 minutes of fame. It seems rather career, if not life-threatening to engage in any meaningful intimate association with this Black Dahlia. But all of that notwithstanding, the spectre of any Liberal MP barking about the risk to National Security considering the ties to the Libs of all manner of dodgy people they were happy to stand shoulder to shoulder with is not only absurd but insulting.
Where does one start?
Consider the demands that Mme. Coulliard should have been vetted by the Mounties before Bernier’s ill-advised dalliance. Uh, excuse me, but didn’t the RCMP try and stop the appointment of since-disgraced Minister of Public Works and ultimately Ambassador, Alfonso Gagliano to Executive Council because of his direct ties to members of Italian organized crime? And didn’t the powers that be in then Prime Minister Jean Chretien’s office ignore those warnings, much to their ultimate chagrin?
Gagliano always tried to dispute his connections to organized crime figures as co-incidental and the Liberal Party of Canada struck out against those who tried to tell the truth as anti-Italian and whatever racist allegation of the day that might stick.
Well whatever. Gagliano and Augustino Cuntrera (and indeed, all of the Caruana / Cuntrera familigia are from the same village in Sicily and they were successive leaders of the Siculiana – Cattolica Eraclea Society in Montreal. Any pretense of coincidence is insulting.
But the salient point is that despite the warnings from the RCMP and the initial refusal to grant him clearance for appointment to Executive Council, the RCMP acquiesced. Was the Force strong-armed by someone in the PMO? I don’t know, but I will leave you to formulate your own opinion.
Then there’s the holier-than-thou Bob Rae who may well go down in history as the worst premier in Ontario history, screaming and burbling about interference from the PMO.
Hmmmm, one of the worst scandals in this country’s history is the handling of Project Sidewinder and the political interference – dare I say cover up – by officials in senior levels of the government of Canada. And Rae, who undoubtedly needed a job to suckle from the public tit after being summarily tossed from office in a sudden and decidedly rare moment of clarity by the voting public in Ontario, was a member of SIRC, the handsomely paid civilian oversight committee of CSIS that reviewed the file and in the face of an incredible amount of circumstantial and direct evidence decided that nothing bad had occurred.
Project Sidewinder was a case of actual government corruption and influence peddling as opposed to the possible accidental leak of confidential information.
So, how does that work? How does Rae demonize the one, minimal event and exonerate the other, systemically corrupt problem? I guess one would have to climb into the confusing and convoluted mind of former NDP Premier, now Liberal MP, Bob Rae. Enlightening? Probably not. Hypocritical? Absolutely.
L’Affaire Bernier is sad and tawdry. The fact that this narcissistic MP from Quebec has embarrassed the government of Stephen Harper is sad enough. And there is no doubt that none of this would have happened had Harper been able to actually utilize the talent within his caucus. But unfortunately, this is Canada, and the Prime Minister had to find places for lesser lights in Cabinet simply because they come from certain politically necessary parts of the country.
And, at the end of the day, Bernier, no matter how he plays out in Quebec, simply isn’t that bright as evidenced by this whole affair. What is really sad is that the Prime Minister had to reach into the shallow end of the gene pool because of the tiresome politics of Quebec.