Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister Resigns

The big political story in Canada the past couple of days has been the resignation of Maxime Bernier as Foreign Affairs Minister in Stephen Harper's Conservative government. Bernier had left classified documents relating to last month's NATO Summit in Romania in residence of his former girlfriend, Julie Couillard. Bernier was only named Foreign Minister last August. When Bernier was sworn in he was accompanied by Couillard who wore what many considered a provocative dress. In my view, it was provocative to the wives of cabinet ministers who eyes lighted up at the sight of Couillard. However, it was recently revealed Couillard was once married to a member of a Quebec biker gang and had dated another biker gang figure which has added fire to this story. But despite her personal association, Couillard was never charged with any criminal activity and has not been associated with these figures for years.

Prime Minister Harper has rightly said that Bernier's actions are at issue, not Couillard's. Aside from this breach, Bernier had recently publicly called for the sacking of a provincial governor in Afghanistan thus intervening in their internal affairs. Bernier had also promised aid to Myanmar on a plane that was not available for use. Add this gaffe and clearly Bernier had become a liability to Harper & the Tories. But since there is a beautiful woman with a past the focus will be unfairly directed to her and this story will be dragged far longer than it needs to be.

International Trade Minister David Emerson has been named Foreign Affairs Minister on an interim basis.

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