More scattered thoughts on the whole Bernier thing


For the record, the full text of Bernier’s letter of resignation, with my thoughts after the jump:

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
Prime Minister
Room 313-S, Centre Block
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

Prime Minister,

This is to inform you that I am resigning my post as Minister of Foreign Affairs, effective immediately.

I informed you late this afternoon that last night I became aware that I had left behind classified government documents at a private residence.

Prime Minister, the security breach that occurred was my fault and my fault alone and I take full responsibility for my actions. I have asked the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade to conduct a thorough review of the situation.

Thank you for the trust you have shown in me. I will do everything I can to serve the government well in my capacity as Member of Parliament.

Yours truly,

Maxime Bernier

First of all, if Bernier found out over the weekend, why did he wait until this afternoon to tell the Prime Minister? What was he doing for the last 24 hours or so, other than putting off that fateful phone call to PMO? (Not that you can really blame him for wanting to avoid that particular conversation. I mean, would you want to be the one to ruin Stephen Harper’s big day as a world statesman, in front of the Ukrainian president, no less?)

If this document was so very sensitive, why didn’t the then-minister notice it was gone until his ex-girlfriend’s lawyers showed up to return it to the department? Was it just a copy? Did he really just forget it at her apartment, or did he deliberately leave it there, under the assumption that he’d be back?

Why did Bernier wait until after his meeting with Harper to put his resignation in writing? Was he hoping that his verbal offer would be rejected?

Finally, his final act as minister, apparently, was to order that the department conduct a “thorough review of the situation.” What are the chances that the resulting report will eventually be made public?


More scattered thoughts on the whole Bernier thing

  1. I would imagine the last 24 hours was spent trying to figure out if he could get away with it or talk Couillard out of it, that the meeting was less of a “I’ll resign” and more of a “Gee, this happened” “OK, you’re ‘resigning'”, and I think we may see the report if it blames the controls over secret information, allowing the Cons to blame the civil service.

  2. I think the whole thing is a win-win for Harper. After refusing to toss the minister for being tacky, he can now toss the minister for being stupid. He gets to stick to his principled “I don’t care who he slept with” stand, while still maintaining the appearance of an interest in national security. It seems to me that an embarrasssing situation has been taken care of quite nicely.

  3. That would be true if he hadn’t spent the last three weeks huffing at the mere suggestion that there were any possible security implications, and accusing the opposition of ‘imagining’ another scandal, just like the imaginary election spending scandal that led to what we can only assume was a mass hallucination of an RCMP raid on Conservative headquarters. Also, if one believes Mme. Couillard’s version of events — and to be honest, her credibility is probably better than the former minister at this point — Bernier was, indeed, aware of her ‘past life’, which contradicts his previous assertions to the contrary. Plus, the timing is particularly unfortunate, since it pretty much guarantees that the PM will spend his entire European tour dodging questions from Canadian journalists on sordid domestic matters, while fighting it out with his former foreign affairs minister for media coverage. On balance, I really don’t think this worked out according to plan.

  4. I am going to guess the Conservatives are going to go with their patented two-part communication strategy. They will go from “Why are you idiots asking about a non-story?” straight to “Listen, this story is over, we answered your questions, stop beating a dead horse.”

    PS I am tired of every single outcome of every single event being characterized as great for Harper. It’s okay to occasionally think your guy did something that was less than the super-double-optimal ‘win-win’.

    PPS I don’t mean you necessarily Jonathan, your comment is just cynical enough to make it hard to tell whose side you are on.

  5. She has a long history of criminal associations with organized crime both personal and business- the so called anti-terror law and order government should have turfed him the minute they found out. Not to mention the government insisted they broke up in January- Why did he leave the documents in April? The governemt should resign

  6. I think Jonathan may be on to something I never looked at the situation quite like that however he has a definite point. This situation could get interesting as well if the oppostion keeps throwing the card on the table for too long then people will get very tired of it as Bernier resigned. though this story does indeed play into feeding the purient interests it really has few legs as a story except for political junkies like myself and of course those who are frustrated that their ‘ team ‘ say party is not in power.

  7. Surely, Paul, Mad Max’s resignation wasn’t timed to avoid the Ukrainian prexy’s visit. It’s much more likely, given the Kremlin on the Mall’s Stalinesque mania for managing the media, he was told to keep a lid on it until late on the day Fat Steve was headed out of the country.

  8. What was in the documents? So far not even a hint of subject matter, except that Mme Couillard found it disturbing.

  9. I have not had so much fun in years! Who would have thought an honest to god sex, spy and no-video tape scandal here in Canada even though I am a Conservative and realize there will be a bit of a political hit with this one all is well as long as we have Dion leading the Lib’s – so rave on folks!!! I can not wait to get home and turn CPAC on – only in Canada Eh!

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