Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Bernier's Resignation: What Did the PM Know and When Did He Know it?

This article says Bernier submitted his resignation Monday morning, yet we had Peter Van Loan fully backing up Bernier in Question Period later in the day, Deepak Obhrai saying all the Conservatives think Bernier is doing a "marvellous job", the PM himself saying in the afternoon "I don't take this subject seriously" and Bernier's official resignation letter itself saying "I informed you late this afternoon that last night I became aware that I had left behind classified government documents at a private residence."

What explains this? In the end this comes down to just being honest about what you know. So maybe at the time of Harper's press conference there was still a hope they could get away with Bernier not resigning and not "taking the subject seriously", but Harper should at least be able to answer why he responded that way and whether he actually already knew at that point about the missing documents. Not to mention there are so many other questions still to be answered on this issue: How do documents go missing for 5 weeks and no one notices? The G&M article says Bernier was always careless with documents was this really the first time this has happened? Why wasn't Bernier fired, why did he have to resign? Why wasn't he fired a long time ago after all of his other mistakes? Why was he even selected for Foreign Affairs in the first place when no one thought he was interested or well qualified for the job? And there are more....

At the least though you'd think you could expect honesty from this government, but then again it is led by Stephen Harper to whom dishonesty and deception comes naturally.

On another note while it's obvious Stephen Harper would be the first to know about this sort of thing it remains possible that other members like Peter Van Loan and Obhrai were just hung out to dry to defend Bernier even when the PMO knew he was resigning. You wonder how much members of caucus are beginning to dislike Stephen Harper over things like this. For instance, I wouldn't be surprised that Helena Guergis hasn't been told by the PMO she's being (I would say justifiably) dumped from cabinet later in the summer, instead she's probably reading it for the first time in the press today.

I think this just speaks to Stephen Harper not caring about anyone but himself and his own inner circle. You can only rule over your caucus by fear for so long Stephen, at some point they will stand up against you and won't hesitate to desert you when the going gets tough.

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