The accusations of consorting with a "biker chick" levelled against Canada's Minister of Foreign affairs, Maxime Bernier, have for those of my generation a certain sense of "deja-vue", all over again!
Of course we Canadians can't hold a candle to the British House of Commons when it comes to salacious political scandals. Who will ever forget the celebrated "Profumo/Christine Keeler Affair" of the 1960's. Lest I digress too much though. I hasten to note for the record: There is hardly a hint of scandal in the brief tryst between the ex-biker chick, Julie Couillard and Mr. Harper's swinging Cabinet Minister.
But on this side of the Atlantic also, one really doesn't have to look too far to find Ministers of her Majesty's Cabinet forced-out of office amidst hints of inappropriate behaviour. Back in 1907, Canada's Minister of Railway and Canals, the Honourable Henry Robert Emmerson was tossed after being accused of being in a Montreal Hotel with a person of "ill repute".
Although it came a few years after the fact, a Royal Inquiry set-up by former Prime-Minister, Lester Peasron, blasted his predecessor, John Diefenbaker, for not firing Associate Defence Minister, Pierre Sevigny, who between 1958 and 1961 had been friends with an East-German Playgirl, the notorious Gerda Munsinger, who was believed to have been a KGB Spy.
With Germany still on my mind: Defence Minister, Robert Coates, was forced to resign by Prime-Minister, Brian Mulroney, in 1985 after he admitted to visiting a "Strip-Club" while on official government business in West-Germany.
Until last fall's allegations by Karl-Heinz Schreiber who implicated Mr. Mulroney in a scheme involving a meeting at Prime Minister Harper's summer residence in 2006; Mr. Mulroney had been essentially Harper's political mentor. Their relationship has frozen pending a Commission of Inquiry into Mr. Mulroney's relationship with Schreiber. That is unfortunate because I think the old mentor would have good advice for Prime Minister Harper regarding these Maxime Bernier revelations.
I think the defensive "none of your business" response to questions about this relationship is wrong, and Mr.Mulroney would understand that. As some security experts suggest, including former RCMP and CSIS personnel, there are legitimate questions to be asked about whether the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Bernier, or Canada's security may have been vulnerable.
Although she is not a criminal: The girlfriend, Julie Couillard, is apparently known to the RCMP and the "Surete du Quebec" for her past association within the world of the notorious Hells Angels and the Rock Machine biker gangs...Many of whom are not, Nay! None of whom are Choirboys!
The "none of your business" defence smacks again of the mean spirited streak of a Party leadership with limited ability to consider the "High Road" for having sat on the opposition benches much too long. The Prime Minister, Mr. Harper is himself preparing for a whirlwind tour of the world in June doubtless to bolster his own diplomatic bona-fides. He'll visit a number of Middle-Eastern cities and several European Capitals.
Meantime here back home,the man charged with the business of Foreign-Affairs, his Minister, and the Bernier/Couillard story will have faded-out of the newspapers. Long-term, The problem is that it may remain another "marker" against the Tories when the time arrives for a Federal Election.