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article imageHarper Announcement Begins Rehabilitation of Maxime Bernier

By Bob Gordon     Oct 23, 2009 in Politics
Prime Minister Harper made an announcement concerning Canada's Economic Action Plan today at Beauce-Appalaches Cegep in Quebec. Throughout he praised Maxime Bernier highly.
Bernier was the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs forced to resign on Monday May 26, 2008 when it was revealed that he had left a briefcase containing secret NATO documents in his girlfriend's apartments. The scandal deepened when it was discovered that his girlfriend, Julie Couillard had connections with biker organizations.
After persistent Opposition grilling in the House and growing media attention Bernier sent a brief letter of resignation to the Prime Minister, "This is to inform you that I am resigning my post as Minister of Foreign Affairs, effective immediately. I informed you late this afternoon that last night I became aware that I had left behind classified government documents at a private residence. Prime Minister, the security breach that occurred was my fault and my fault alone and I take full responsibility for my actions."
In 2006 Bernier had won his riding, formerly held by his father, with an astonishing 67 percent of the popular vote. Now, he found himself alone and isolated in the political wilderness.
The situation for Bernier only worsened when Couillard published a tell all memoir, My Story in October 2008. The book detailed "years spent with Hells Angels sympathizer Gilles Giguère and the cruel aftermath of his 1996 murder; [and]her brief but tumultuous marriage to Stéphane Sirois, a reformed member of the Rockers biker gang, who after their divorce turned police informant," according to its publisher.
Ostensibly, Harper was in the Beauce to announce 100 projects devoted to promoting research into new technology at Canadian universities and colleges across the country. However, it is clear that he was also their to officially encourage the rehabilitation of Bernier. He joked about losing his briefing notes and also joked that Bernier had outpaced him in the popular vote in his riding and maybe Bernier would be better if he wasn't there. Further, he plans to spend the entire day in the Beauce with Bernier. He described Bernier as a "good member of the team." According to CBC correspondent Margot McDermaid, Maxime Bernier was "officially forgiven."
The occasion may have been a Canada's Economic Action Plan announcement but the real story is the rehabilitation of Maxime Bernier.
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