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Thursday, May 29, 2008 

Stephen Harper Placed Conservative Electoral Fortunes In Quebec Ahead Of National Security

The Bernier scandal has revealed some very deep and disturbing aspects of Stephen Harper’s performance as the Prime Minister of Canada.

It is clear now that Maxime Bernier was completely out of his league as the Minister of Foreign Affairs. The very fact that he took top secret briefing materials to the home of his girlfriend, left them there and allowed five weeks to elapse without once missing them, says it all.

None of us need to be convinced of Bernier’s incompetence. He was incompetent. He was cavalier in his disregard for highly confidential materials and rightly lost his job.

But what does this say about our Prime Minister who placed Bernier in the portfolio and allowed him to remain there gaffe after gaffe after gaffe.

There is only one conclusion that we can arrive at. Harper saw Bernier as his key political lieutenant, chosen from a fairly slim talent pool in the Tory Quebec caucus. Harper wanted a Quebecois to be Canada’s key minister on the international foreign affairs stage. Harper’s goal of a majority government is only possible with the election of a number of MP’s from Quebec. Hence, Bernier was the suave, good looking key figure in connecting Quebec to Harper’s circle of influence. Nothing else mattered.

Harper has been able to turn a blind eye to all of Maxime’s mistakes because his performance as Minister of Foreign Affairs was secondary to his role as Harper’s Quebec lieutenant. Harper never dreamed that Bernier would screw up as badly as he did. That is obvious or Harper would have removed him after any one of the major gaffes.

Stephen Harper placed Conservative electoral fortunes in the province of Quebec ahead of Canada’s national security. Nothing was more important to him than sticking to his strategy to win seats in Quebec. The nation was placed at risk by our Conservative Prime Minister for his own partisan political ends.

Shame on Harper. He deserves all of the grief and misery this sad episode has brought to his front door!

What I want to know is what turned up on the background check on Bernier when entered the cabinet.

All cabinet ministers go through a process of dirt-digging which spans at least a decade, if not more, to ensure their integrity. How could it have not popped up that he was dating a girl who once dated Hell's Angels and who owns an security company?

We need more questions asked about that process, and need to forget a little bit about Couillard herself.

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