Harper Raps Bernier's Knuckles In Public
OTTAWA-KANDAHAR - Prime Minister Stephen Harper publicly upbraided his foreign affairs minister Monday for creating a "misimpression" that the governor of Kandahar should be fired for corruption.
The prime minister's strong language capped what could prove to be a politically damaging trip to Afghanistan by Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier. Bernier told reporters that a key Canadian partner in Afghanistan - the governor of Kandahar - should be replaced. A short time later, the Foreign Affairs Department in Ottawa issued a statement in Bernier's name retracting that comment, suggesting that Canada has no right to opine on the internal affairs of a sovereign country.
The discrepancy sparked the opposition to call for Bernier's firing and Harper's own characterization of Bernier's performance. "As you know, minister Bernier very quickly corrected a misimpression that I think had been left from some earlier comments," Harper told reporters in Winnipeg."