IS A MINISTER’S LOVE LIFE A PRIVATE MATTER?

Questioned in the Commons about his ex-girlfriend’s ties with men in biker gangs, Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier told the opposition to butt out of his private life: “People’s private lives are none of your business.”

Prime Minister Harper backed up his minister: “I hear that one of my cabinet minister’s has an ex-girlfriend. It’s none of my business. Mr. Duceppe and Mr. Dion are quite a group of gossipy old busybodies.”

But is that the end of it? The girlfriend, Julie Couillard, a 38-year-old Montreal divorcee, was involved with biker gangs, was once the target of a biker threat on her life, was married to a criminal who later became a police informant and dated another criminal who was gunned down in a gang-style murder.

This is the woman whom Foreign Affairs Minister Bernier requested be considered his “spouse” when he was travelling on foreign trips.

Deputy Liberal leader, MIchael Ignatieff, said the case did not involve morals but security.  “The issue is whether the national security clearances for the minister were conducted number one, and secondly, whether she had inadvertently or advertently, connection or contact with or exposure to documents related to the national security of Canada.”

Gilles Duceppe charged that Bernier had recklessly opened himself to  blackmail.

Do you agree with Bernier that this whole incident if a private matter?

Or do you agree there is a security dimension to the case and it should be pursued further?

Should the Minister of Foreign Affairs,  who represents the face of Canada abroad, be mixed up in this kind of liaison?

12 Comments »

  1. 1
    SUZANNE Says:

    What a bloody tempest in a teapot. She didn’t do anything wrong. There’s no evidence. This is just third-rate scandal-mongering. If you’re going to accuse a minister of something, make sure you have some kind of evidence. This is just dumb.

  2. 2
    Peter LeBlanc Says:

    I agree with Suzanne, I hope she would be just as passionate if the Minister or M.P., was a Liberal, N.D.P. or Bloc Quebecois. I saw the lady on television, she was pretty good looking.

  3. 3
    Chimera Says:

    Everybody’s love life — or sex life — is a private matter. Until serious laws are being broken, everyone needs to back off.

    If Couillard’s past brings up a worry for the security people, then it’s her they need to deal with, and no one else. Bernier was not part of her past life, so leave him out of it.

    Duceppe is smoking the funny stuff, again. What blackmail? Wants to keep his name in the news, I guess.

  4. 4
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    When Pierre du Puys, defense minister in Diefenbaker’s cabinet befriended Gerda Munsinger, a minor KGB operative in Canada, that was a security risk. Ms Couillard’s two biker friends turned police informers. What a coincidence. Was she a biker hang around or an undercover police officer? Arrested once with two or three other bikers…immediately released? Souds prearranged don’t you think?
    Could she have been investigating the Conservatives?
    And yes it is a very juicy tidbit for Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition to get free publicity. Tempest in a teapot Suzanne? Come on this is Québec, it is a tempest in a beer glass.

  5. 5
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    By the way Neil those geometric figures you add to our names or pseudonym are cute.

  6. 6
    jim Says:

    Pierre du Puys a.k.a. Pierre Sevigny?
    It sounds to me that the Minister of External Affairs should change his title to Minister of Domestic Affairs.

  7. 7
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    Jim, you are right on both counts. It was Sévigny, my mix up. As for minister of domestic affairs, Bernier seems no better than at foreign ones.

  8. 8
    Heidi Gulatee Says:

    I would be more concerned if the girlfriend would be current but a past girlfriend I would consider less of a threat. With that I mean sicurity like abduction and coercion. How do you rispond if your girlfriend is in danger, even only perceived? Do you give the bikers what they want, information or money? Or do you save your girlfriend? I do not know.

  9. 9

    Just a remark not necessarily tied to this guy.

    A politician represents the people. Therefore his spouse is very much a public matter not a private one. Don’t like it? Get out of politics.

    Choose your companion wisely.

  10. 10
    Chimera Says:

    Commentator, if the “people” are to be allowed to have so much input into the personal relationships a politician has — his wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend, whatever — then it stands to reason that the “people” should also have a great deal to say about how he does his job and how he votes and what issues he touts and which party he belongs to, and so forth.

    And in Canada, that is just not true.

  11. 11
    Winnie Says:

    Interesting developments yesterday. Not just a tempest in a teapot!!!!

  12. 12

    Winnie:

    Indeed, you are so right. It would seem that Bernier has been in over his head for some time. Thanks for your comment.


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