Thursday, May 29, 2008

For Those Who Thought the Bernier Affair Wouldn't Affect Canada's Reputation with Our Allies

Well it seems we have some cause for concern:

Left-behind papers could harm Canada's reputation

TORONTO — Ottawa's former top public servant Wednesday called the Bernier left-behind papers incident a significant international embarrassment for Canada that should leave the government concerned about how British and U.S. intelligence officials are assessing what goes on in the country.

Mel Cappe, clerk of the Privy Council from 1999 to 2002 and later high commissioner to Britain, said that if the briefing book that Maxime Bernier left for five weeks in his former lover's Montreal home had contained top-secret documents, “he should be drawn and quartered as well as fired.”

He cautioned that there are intelligence officials in allied governments who will form an opinion of Canada as a result of the Bernier affair.

“What we should be [asking] is what is the cabinet Co-ordinator of Security and Intelligence in the U.K. thinking about it? He's the guy who speaks to [British Prime Minister Gordon] Brown every day. The chair of the Joint Intelligence Committee in the U.K. will have a Canadian intelligence liaison officer attend part of his meetings. That was a tough day for that guy.”

Similarly, said Mr. Cappe, the Canadian government should be concerned about what the new director of security in the White House is telling the U.S. President.

“So it's what's going on in the executive office building in Washington and what's going on in 70 Whitehall [the cabinet office] in London that matters. Because those are the people who are looking at this” – people, said Mr. Cappe, who assess security risks and are going to ask if Canada “has dropped down the scale of trustworthiness."

Shouldn't something so serious be worthy of a wide ranging investigation to assure our allies that we are taking this seriously, we want to know how wide-ranging any breach was, and that we are taking measures to ensure it never happens again?

Well you'd think so if you weren't a government so secretive as this one where Conservative party interests always come before the national interest.

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