Maxime Bernier (Mad Max) II

Written by  //  February 5, 2011  //  Beryl Wajsman, Canada, David/Terry Jones, Media, Politics, Québec, Security  //  Comments Off on Maxime Bernier (Mad Max) II

More on Maxime Bernier

We thought he had been awfully quiet for a long time, but Mad Max is at it again – this time, however, we agree with him!
Bernier blasted for calling historic Quebec language law unnecessary
Quebec politicians and pundits are slamming Conservative MP Maxime Bernier for claiming a landmark Quebec language law is unnecessary to preserve the French language.
The Liberal government and Opposition Parti Quebecois have both denounced the former federal cabinet minister for saying that Quebecers don’t need Bill 101.

10 September 2010
Bernier slams PM pledge to fund arenas
Former cabinet minister Maxime Bernier has come out against Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s willingness to use federal dollars to fund sports arenas and stadiums across the country.

3 September 2009
Just when you think you can finally archive an item …
Censored documents show Bernier jeopardized security: Opposition
Copies of heavily censored classified documents that Maxime Bernier, as foreign minister, left at his ex-girlfriend’s house in 2008 show the security breach was far more serious than the Harper government ever admitted, opposition MPs say. They say the newly released, blacked-out sections of the report make a mockery of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s assertions at the time that no security risk was posed by Bernier’s relationship with Julie Couillard, who had ties to biker gangs, or his mishandling of secret documents.
25 May
Oh dear! A year since he was sacked and just when we thought Max was fading away, here comes this John Ivision piece:
Maxime Bernier returns from penalty box to restore tarnished reputation (and save the PCs in Quebec)
27 June 2008
Bernier, keep daddy out of it
(Globe and Mail) … why on earth was Gilles Bernier, ex-politician and father of judgmentally challenged Maxime, taking the microphone on his son’s behalf? Can his 45-year-old son not defend himself?
June 26
Now it is he-said-she-said which will likely guarantee a continuing readership — and when will HE announce his book deal?
ST-GEORGES-DE-BEAUCE, Que. — Former Foreign Affairs minister Maxime Bernier says Julie Couillard never informed him of her previous relationships with figures involved in organized crime and no one else warned him that the woman he was dating had been associated with members of biker gangs and the Mafia. More
Forces’ e-mails track ‘Jos. Louis diplomacy’
Maxime Bernier, then foreign affairs minister, was leaving the next day for Afghanistan from CFB Trenton. He wanted to distribute some Jos. Louis snack cakes — created in his Beauce riding — to troops from the Quebec-based Van Doos.
E-mail correspondence published yesterday by the Montreal newspaper Le Devoir shows how the last-minute search for Jos. Louis consumed Canadian Forces personnel.
June 20
We knew this would happen. Just in time for your Christmas list. Presumably, she doesn’t want to testify in front of the Commons public safety and national security committee  for fear of stealing her own thunder. Now, will Max publish his memoirs too?
Couillard to bare all

The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — The woman at the centre of the scandal that cost Maxime Bernier his job as foreign affairs minister is to publish her memoirs this fall.
McClelland and Stewart announced Friday it will publish the English-version of Julie Couillard’s autobiography. Montreal-based Les Editions de l’Homme, owned by Quebecor Inc., will come out with the French version.
June 17
Couillard refuses to testify [voluntarily] about Bernier affair
And that has opposition MPs on the Commons public safety and national security committee threatening to subpoena her. In a letter Monday to the committee clerk, Couillard’s lawyer said it would be unfair to force her to testify as long as Bernier is refusing to appear and explain his role in the affair.
June 12
Bernier-Couillard: A little southern sympathy
David T. Jones
(The Metropolitain) – Sex sells. And a good sex scandal generates 360 degree, “24/7” attention.
Thus Canadians (and Canada watchers around the world) have found the Bernier-Couillard saga a perfect foil for all sorts of analysis both light and ostensibly deep—certainly more than that accorded whatever serious issue a serious commentator would select for public attention.
But for both the former foreign minister and the young lady one can have a degree of sympathy although perhaps more for Ms Couillard than Mr Bernier.
Former civil servant defends Couillard
OTTAWA – A senior government official, who lost his job this week when it was discovered he had dated Julie Couillard at the same time as a company with which she was associated was seeking a government contract, says he doesn’t believe Couillard set out to infiltrate the government by dating him.
Cote’s comments come as the tale of sex, politics, power and intrigue that has gripped Parliament Hill for a month was fuelled again Thursday. It was revealed that Philippe Morin, an executive with the Kevlar Group, a Quebec-based real estate company seeking a contract for a federal government building in Quebec City, introduced Couillard to Bernier – a meeting that ignited the ill-fated romance.
RCMP gave no warning about Couillard: Privy Council
Bernier says he’ll cooperate with investigation, another Tory resigns over scandal
June 5
Couillard linked to Mafioso
(National Post) Details of Ms. Couillard’s controversial past continued to emerge yesterday, when La Presse reported she was romantically linked in the early 1990s to Tony Volpato, a close friend of Mafia leader Frank Cotroni.
Salon gossip led to downfall of Bernier
(Gilles Toupin, La Presse) Par ailleurs, un quotidien torontois a révélé hier que c’est lors d’une séance au salon de coiffure Louis Robert, rue de la Montagne à Montréal, que Gilles Duceppe a eu vent pour la première fois des fréquentations passées de Julie Couillard avec une bande de motards. C’est au cours de bavardages en apparence anodins avec le personnel du salon de coiffure, que fréquente aussi Mme Couillard, que le chef du Bloc québécois a appris les liens de l’ex-petite amie de Maxime Bernier avec les Hells Angels. Selon le quotidien, M. Duceppe a été le premier politicien à parler publiquement de cette affaire après qu’une chaîne de télévision lui eut posé une question le 7 mai dernier. More
June 2
Just too good an opportunity for the opposition to resist!
House committee to probe Bernier affair in addition to departmental review
A House of Commons committee has launched an inquiry into the Maxime Bernier affair despite Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s insistence that an internal review would be enough.
Opposition MPs on the public safety committee, led by the Bloc Québécois, out-voted the Conservative minority on Monday to expedite an investigation into the political storm. The move came after Prime Minister Stephen Harper dismissed calls for an independent inquiry or an RCMP investigation on Monday in the House of Commons.
The committee probe will begin next Tuesday.
Tories unscathed by Bernier affair: poll
Norma Greenaway, Canwest News Service
OTTAWA – The federal Conservatives appear unscathed so far in public opinion over the political demise of rising Quebec star Maxime Bernier and other recent gaffes, but the coast is not clear for Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s ruling Tories, a new Ipsos-Reid poll suggests.
The poll, conducted Tuesday through Thursday, followed revelations on Monday that Bernier had left classified, internationally sensitive documents at the home of his ex-girlfriend. Harper announced Bernier’s resignation hours before the airing of a television interview during which his former lover Julie Couillard talked about Bernier’s security breach.
Although the Conservatives hold a seven-point lead in public popularity over the second-place Liberals, the poll says there has been a dramatic plunge in the proportion of the population that thinks the country is on moving on the “right track.” It fell to 55 per cent from 67 per cent in October, a drop the pollsters attributed to heightened economic uncertainty.
May 31
The inimitable Josh Freed has the last (?) word on the Bernier affair
The question is: Does Canada actually have any valuable secret documents?
“ESCANDALO SEXO CANADIENSE!” shrieks a Spanish newspaper – and most Canadians have only one reaction.
At last!
Julie Couillard’s partially exposed breast has now been seen by as many people as Janet Jackson’s at the Super Bowl. Newspapers from France to England and Australia are all running big stories about the “biker moll and the minister.”
For the first time in decades, Canada sounds sexy, instead of snowy.
There are other questions still swirling in the air. Why didn’t Bernier call Couillard and simply ask for his briefs back? Why didn’t she privately let him know she had them, instead of telling the whole world? Was Couillard’s bedroom really bed-bugged?
Also, who is the mysterious Couillard, our local Mata Hari. She’s obviously a glamorous and well-endowed figure who seems poised and articulate. She even met and charmed George W. Bush with her, uh, dress. But why do her men get rubbed out, one way or another?
Then there are the political implications of the “scandal.” The Tories have lost their main Quebec political star and are badly in need of a high-profile replacement to appeal to Quebecers. Rumours are they’re so desperate they may approach Gilles Duceppe, or Mario Dumont, or even Paul Martin.
Last Wednesday, La Presse confirmed that the Conservatives had in fact talked to Couillard about running for a seat, before the scandal broke – and I still wouldn’t rule her out. She’s tough, bilingual, and she’s had major international exposure.
She might make a great minister of domestic affairs.
A peek inside the shadowy life of the Mata Hari of the 450
After weeks in the spotlight, Ms. Couillard remains little more than a shadow. Is she more an opportunist or self-made woman? More a former biker chick or sophisticated real-estate agent? More a tough manipulator or poised entrepreneur? To this day, Maurice (Mom) Boucher, the former Hells Angels leader serving life for murder, believes she was a paid police informant.
May 30
Tories deny Couillard had diplomatic passport
OTTAWA — The Harper government came under fire again today on two fronts in the Maxime Berner-Julie Couillard affair.
Opposition MPs pounded the government again on whether the controversial Ms. Couillard had ever been given a diplomatic passport for her travels with the former Foreign Affairs Minister.
The Tories said — indirectly but fairly clearly — that this had not happened.
‘Sexy’ scandal front page greets PM in Italy
According to Montreal-based media watchdog Influence Communication stories about Mr. Bernier and Ms. Couillard ran in 575 media outlets in 44 countries around the world.

In praise of Maxime Bernier, Minister of Industry, Professor Richard Schultz (yes, our OWN Rick), writes: “in the short time he was industry minister, he decidedly made a difference that other ministers, past and present, can only envy”.
Maxime Bernier: the ‘yes’ minister
(National Post) McGill professor Richard Schultz says that as industry minister, Maxime Bernier courageously took on telecom bureaucrats and won major victories for market reforms of Canadian telecommunications.
Bernier affair may hold Tory troubles in Quebec News Staff
The Maxime Bernier affair has the potential to set back years of Tory efforts to make political inroads into Quebec, say some political analysts.
Romancing Quebec
Bernier’s downfall could have wider implications for Tory chances in Quebec
Just a few months ago, politicos and pundits close to the Conservatives were puffing with pleasure at the prospects of more seats – lots more seats – for the party in the next federal election in Quebec. Stephen Harper’s brand of federalism, with ample room for symbolic panaceas for Quebec and copious amounts of provincial autonomy, was selling well among Quebecers.
The Conservative Party’s lack of traction in Quebec is also symptomatic of the fact that, more than two years later, there is little substantive change the government can use to attract more high-profile and experienced candidates, or to deploy to attract the voters it needs in suburban and rural areas in francophone Quebec. Certainly, the loss of Bernier is also the loss of the poster boy for the kind of coalition – bleue, nationaliste, fédéraliste – the Conservative Party was hoping to consolidate in Quebec.
The Economist agrees, but refrains from lengthy commentary on the story.
“Canada’s foreign minister, Maxime Bernier, resigned after his former girlfriend, Julie Couillard, revealed that he had left secret government documents at her home. Ms Couillard had previous ties to criminal biker gangs. The political demise of Mr Bernier, who is from Quebec, is a blow to the hopes of Stephen Harper, the Conservative prime minister, of gaining a parliamentary majority by winning seats in the province.”
Latest theory: Bernier set up
Don Martin, National Post
As this mess continues to unspool, one conspiracy theory that may sound a tad grassy-knolled is the possibility that Mr. Bernier was let down or set up by staff, bureaucrats or his own department officials.
To have classified documents disappear despite a careful tracking system at the precise moment the oft-gaffed Mr. Bernier was most vulnerable to a firing would hint that somebody wanted to inflict a fatal flaw on this minister.
May 28
The questions being asked in the Maxime Bernier affair
(CBC In Depth) The Maxime Bernier controversy has spawned the age-old line of questioning: Who knew what and when did they know and why didn’t they act sooner?
There are also a number of even more basic questions that have been raised after it was revealed that the former foreign minister left classified documents at the Montreal home of his ex-girlfriend, Julie Couillard, in April, including the basic one most Canadians are likely asking — how could a minister do such a dumb thing and put his career in jeopardy?
If she had just worn a pantsuit
Since she appeared last summer in the media holding hands with the new minister of Foreign Affairs wearing that controversial light blue and brown outfit — which reportedly did not impress the Prime Minister’s wife — the press has ruminated on her cleavage and her links to Quebec organized crime figures. In the latest turn of events, Mr. Bernier quit his job after leaving NATO summit documents in her home and Ms. Couillard said in an interview on Quebec television station TVA that she only wore the controversial dress to Rideau Hall because he suggested it.

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