Maxime Bernier’s star has exploded.
And not in a good way.
The former ‘future star’ of the Conservative party had his term as Foreign Affairs Minister come to an abrupt halt Monday afternoon when PM Harper announced he had accepted Bernier’s resignation. This comes after a string of flubs by the former minister who has been the repeated target of many a Question Period over the last number of months.
The final straw, so to speak, was the fact Bernier left secret government NATO documets of a sensitive nature (reportedly about NATO’s military strategy in Afghanistan) at the home of his fomer girlfriend. This was a security breach, and one for which Bernier had to pay. And he has.
While leaving classified documents at his former girlfriend’s house will be the butt of many jokes in the coming weeks, this was only the latest, and most fatal, in a string of gaffes by both Bernier and the Foreign Affairs department.
Last month Bernier said Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai should replace the governor of Kandahar because of the corruption inherent in local Afghan governments. Smooth move, buddy. Especially when Canadian troops are in the southern part of Afghanistan. You don’t suggest the deposition of a leader of another country. While it’s not against international law, you have to be diplomatic. Especially when you require the cooperation of the Afghan government so your troops don’t get killed.
And then, of course, there was the whole ‘we’re going to airlift supplies to Burma’ idea that backfired when they realized there weren’t any actual AIRPLANES to airlift said supplies to Burma. So they had to rent a plane from RUSSIA. W.T.F??
The fact is, Bernier wasn’t a good Foreign Affairs minister. Neither was Peter Mackay, even with all of the oogling his did at US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. Why the Conservatives have had such trouble with this portfolio is beyond me. Well, maybe I do know why.
The Conservatives were a good government when they had their ‘5 Priorities.’ They were focused and the government was efficient; no one can argue with that. Since then, though, it’s as if the Conservatives have been sliding around, not really sure what issue to deal with next. They tried the environment – that backfired big time. Remember Rona Ambrose? She, too, was a vaunted member of Harper’s first Cabinet, marked as a possible future candidate for a senior cabinet post. She’s now a backbencher. And Bernier will soon be, too.
Harper needs to take the summer break to refocus his team – especially in regards to the Foreign Affairs portfolio. It has no direction. What, exactly, are their goals for Canada’s foreign policy? I don’t think they know. And until they do, they’ll continue their string of miscues.
The interesting thing will be watching how the Liberals handle this. They’ve been given a ‘gift’ of sorts by Harper. If they can’t knock this one out of the park, then Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition is in worse shape than I thought…