Monday, April 14, 2008

Thin Bench

Has there ever been a Minister of Foreign Affairs more clearly in over his head than Maximum "damage" Bernier? The guy has been a train wreck from the get go, such a lightweight on the international stage, he really is a national embarrassment. You know what, one can hardly blame Harper for the tight leash routine, most of these people are dangerous when left to freelance.

Travers was on television today, discussing Bernier's major gaffe, and he basically said he was in the post purely for partisan purposes. A Quebecer, given a senior post, someone who could sell Afghanistan to a sceptical province. And, therein lies the problem with the Harper government, putting politics before reason, putting a mostly incoherent smuck, with no experience, into one of the most important and vital portfolio's in the government.

I'm sure everyone has noticed that MacKay takes many questions, and speaks outside of his role as Minister of Defence, which I've always interpreted as necessary to mask Bernier's poor presence(MacKay looks like Lester Pearson beside this cupcake) That said, this is the guy that represents Canada on the international stage, meets with people who intellectually tower over him, his presence reflects poorly on an entire nation. I'm almost willing to guarantee that at least one or two foreign delegations have left a meeting with Bernier wondering "is this the best Canada has to offer?".

Bernier shouldn't be allowed to travel abroad, he should be the Minister of Domestic Foreign Affairs. Bernier shouldn't be put on a shorter leash, frankly he should be put down. What a disaster.


ottlib said...

"(MacKay looks like Lester Pearson beside this cupcake)"

You mean Joe Louis do you not? :)

And judging by the fact Quebecers are still leaders in objecting to this war I would say he has done an awesome job selling it in Quebec.

As you stated in a previous post Steve the Conservative bench strength is very weak. Or to put it more accurately its bench strength outside of Alberta is very weak.

Mr. Harper does have some capable ministerial material amongst his Alberta MPs but most of them are old Reformers, who have made disparaging remarks about Quebec in the past. So, it is kind of counter-productive for Mr. Harper to make them Ministers when he is trying everything but endorsing separation (barely) to win over the nationalist vote in Quebec.

Steve V said...


Prentice gives an air of credibility, and even Day is well versed in his portfolio. Other than that, I'm hard pressed to find many bright lights.

The thing about Bernier, he is so bad, and it is so obvious, it really was a poor choice for such a high profile post.

Anonymous said...

"The thing about Bernier, he is so bad, and it is so obvious, it really was a poor choice for such a high profile post."

Like Loverboy Peter MacKay, Maxime is a second generation Tory. Getting Foreign Affairs gives him a greater advantage. Apparently he is now a star with the ladies in Ottawa. Pete doesn't have the dinner dates he used to have.

wilson said...

''he really is a national embarrassment''

Why? for telling it like it is?
About time IMO.
You can't harp on about the corrupt Karzai government and then attack the Minister for being open and honest about the situation.

Bernier said that Karzai has to decide very soon if the govenor is the right man for the job.
It needed to be said.

Gayle said...

Wilson must have missed the part when the government immediately retracted his statement.

If what he said was OK, I somehow doubt Harper would allow him to retract.

wilson said...

Clarified Gayle, not retracted as some in the media said.

'...While Prime Minister Stephen Harper welcomed Bernier's clarification, he didn't dispute that there were problems in Kandahar.

"We have talked to the government of Afghanistan from time to time about the performance of that government and we will continue to express these concerns to them privately," Harper said.

The Prime Minister's Office issued a statement saying: "Minister Bernier is a bold and aggressive foreign affairs minister and he quickly clarified his comments."

clh said...

Wilson, if Harper and Bernier wanted to save the governor's butt for some reason, then publicly calling for his dismissal would be one way (a bad way) to do it. Karzai won't want to look even more like a puppet by following public orders from Canada. However, why would Harper want to protect the governor?

Obviously corruption is a huge problem in Afghanistan and has been ever since Karzai was installed. Firing one or two people isn't going to solve the problem. The Taliban solved it with brutality, killing and terror. Canada obviously should not go down that route, but they do need to have some strategy besides simply talk.

Anyway, Steve is right -- Bernier is a national embarrassment.

Gayle said...

wilson, wilson, wilson...

"Telling it like it is", and then "clarifying" it immediately.

Yeah, that is perfectly OK. Nothing to be embarassed about there.

At some point you are going to have to stop spinning and start asking the Harper government to be accountable for its own mistakes.

Antonio said...

are you suggesting the government put down a minister?

I know harper is authoritarian, but isnt this a little extreme :P

wilson said...

PMO : "Minister Bernier is a bold and aggressive foreign affairs minister and he quickly clarified his comments."

It wasn't a mistake Gayle.
It was a shake up.
Karzai needs to get with the program.

Do a little reading Gayle. Libloggers have many prior posts on the Karzai government.

Steve V said...


You really are a piece of work. You make the case in private meetings, you don't go public and question a sovereign government. Apparent Con supporters have the same level of knowledge when it comes to diplomacy.

The fact Bernier wasn't even off the plane, and the government was backtracking, speaks to how potentially serious this error was.