Author Topic: Bernier's plane pledge catches Ottawa off guard  (Read 3374 times)

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Offline canuck101

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Bernier's plane pledge catches Ottawa off guard
« on: May 23, 2008, 05:32:49 »
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080523.wbernier23/BNStory/National/home

I was reading the globeandmail this morning and found this a very interesting read. This Minister is not helping himself in the least.


DANIEL LEBLANC AND STEVEN CHASE

From Friday's Globe and Mail

May 23, 2008 at 3:00 AM EDT

OTTAWA — Federal officials scrambled yesterday to rent a high-priced Russian plane to ship helicopters to Myanmar because they could not deliver on Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier's public pledge to provide Canada's new C-17s for the job, sources said.

As officials quickly discovered, none of the recently purchased cargo lift aircraft were immediately available, contrary to what Mr. Bernier promised in Rome two days ago.

Senior federal officials said Canada's military was caught off guard by Mr. Bernier's promise to airlift World Food Program helicopters into the cyclone-ravaged country or neighbouring Thailand.

"Canada is there to help the people of Burma and we have a C-17 available," Mr. Bernier said after meeting with the WFP's director. "We'll do this flight as quickly as possible."



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Canadian cargo plane to deliver helicopters to Myanmar 
 But sources said the Department of National Defence could not move quickly enough to fulfill Mr. Bernier's vow, given that two of Canada's four C-17s are undergoing work and the other two are in prescheduled use.

Foreign Affairs confirmed that it will have to rent an Antonov to ship the helicopters instead of using the Boeing C-17s, which the Harper government purchased with great fanfare last year at a total cost of $3.4-billion.

"The transportation of helicopters on behalf of the World Food Program is an urgent mission," Bernier spokesman Neil Hrab said. "In order to alleviate human suffering as quickly as possible, a commercially chartered aircraft will be used to fly four helicopters from Ukraine to Thailand simultaneously."

He said it's possible a Canadian government-owned plane may be used later. "A C-17 may be used for follow-on missions - this is still being assessed."

When the government received its first of four C-17s last year, it declared the new fleet would allow Canada to fulfill its missions "without having to rely on our allies or contractors."

Asked why Mr. Bernier announced a C-17 was available to transport the helicopters, Mr. Hrab said that at the time it was considered the best tool for the job. "At the time of the WFP's request, a C-17 appeared to be the best option to move the WFP helicopters. However, the other aircraft was available immediately."

The scramble will not help Mr. Bernier's reputation, which has taken hits in Ottawa over miscues on the foreign-policy front and opposition attacks about his recent relationship with a woman who had past ties to bikers.

"It doesn't look good," a senior Conservative official said of Mr. Bernier's C-17 promise.

The Tory official said there is anger in government circles that Ottawa now has to rent an aircraft to do the work. "It remains to be seen who is going to pick up the tab," the official said.

Mr. Bernier committed a diplomatic gaffe earlier this year when he publicly suggested that Kandahar Governor Asadullah Khalid, who faced allegations of corruption and involvement in torture, should be removed from office. The Harper government later had to issue a statement quoting Mr. Bernier as retracting the comment.

Mr. Bernier is also still being ridiculed for a photo-op in Afghanistan last year where he handed out Jos. Louis cakes to soldiers risking their lives for Canada.

An official said that there is one Canadian C-17 in Europe and another in Southeast Asia; a third is undergoing maintenance in Canada, and a fourth is being upgraded in the United States. Known as Globemasters, with cavernous interiors, the C-17s can carry a payload of 77,500 kilograms and can fly 4,400 kilometres without refuelling.

The World Food Program, which is based in Rome, is the United Nations's food relief agency. Mr. Bernier had asked what assistance was required and the agency replied that it needed cargo planes more than money.

The early May cyclone in Burma has left 78,000 Myanmarese dead and another 56,000 missing, according to the latest estimates. As many as 2½ million more are said to be vulnerable to disease and famine.

« Last Edit: May 23, 2008, 05:36:27 by canuck101 »

Offline George Wallace

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Re: Bernier's plane pledge catches Ottawa off guard
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2008, 06:34:29 »
Looks like someone didn't make good use of the Canadian Healthcare System before being placed in the Cabinet, and never got his inoculation for "Foot in Mouth Disease".
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Offline ENGINEERS WIFE

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Re: Bernier's plane pledge catches Ottawa off guard
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2008, 07:51:32 »
Maxime Bernier=Bonehead   ::)

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Offline Rodahn

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Re: Bernier's plane pledge catches Ottawa off guard
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2008, 10:05:23 »
It appears that Mr. Bernier is becoming a bit of an embarrassment to the government due to his recent verbal gaffe's. One wonder's how long the PM is going to retain him in his position.

Granted the statement was made with the best of intentions, to provide assistance to the Burma disaster.
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Offline cheeky_monkey

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Re: Bernier's plane pledge catches Ottawa off guard
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2008, 10:29:14 »
Granted the statement was made with the best of intentions, to provide assistance to the Burma disaster.

Granted, but what does every child learn in elementary school? THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK.

With Bernier doing this, to Canadians with no knowledge of DND/CF, it makes the C-17s look not only unuseable, but even worse, a one trick pony.

In a time where the CF needs all the support it can get for operations in A-Stan, keeping in mind that the Canadian public needs to be constantly reminded that the CF needs new equipment, Bernier's actions do not help.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2008, 10:32:54 by cheeky_monkey »
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Offline George Wallace

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Re: Bernier's plane pledge catches Ottawa off guard
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2008, 10:36:00 »
Granted, but what does every child learn in elementary school? THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK.

With Bernier doing this, to Canadians with no knowledge of DND/CF, it makes the C-17s look not only unuseable, but even worse, a one trick pony.

In a time where the CF needs all the support it can get for operations in A-Stan, keeping in mind that the Canadian public needs to be constantly reminded that the CF needs new equipment, Bernier's actions do not help.

Nor did the added expense of having to rush out and RENT a plane.
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Offline GAP

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Re: Bernier's plane pledge catches Ottawa off guard
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2008, 10:51:30 »
Granted, but what does every child learn in elementary school? THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK.

With Bernier doing this, to Canadians with no knowledge of DND/CF, it makes the C-17s look not only unuseable, but even worse, a one trick pony.

In a time where the CF needs all the support it can get for operations in A-Stan, keeping in mind that the Canadian public needs to be constantly reminded that the CF needs new equipment, Bernier's actions do not help.

All it would have taken, given a gnat's intelligence, is a quick check to see if the C-17's were scheduled or not. Since we spent 3.4 Billion, they are not going to be sitting around wondering what they should be doing.....
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Offline Baden Guy

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Re: Bernier's plane pledge catches Ottawa off guard
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2008, 11:19:07 »
Did anyone say cabinet shuffle.  :)
Bye bye Mr.Bernier.

Offline retiredgrunt45

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Re: Bernier's plane pledge catches Ottawa off guard
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2008, 13:41:28 »
As someone said "Bye, Bye, Mr. Bernier and don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Posted with the usual disclaimers

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/05/26/harper.html?ref=rss

Bernier quits cabinet post over security breach Ya right, Harper fired his butt!

Quote
Embattled Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier has resigned from cabinet over a security breach involving classified documents, Prime Minister Stephen Harper told reporters on Monday.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announces Monday that he has accepted the resignation of Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier. (Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press)The resignation came ahead of Monday night's airing of a French-language television interview of Bernier's former girlfriend, Julie Couillard, in which she revealed the minister had left a secret document in her apartment sometime in April that she later returned to Foreign Affairs.

"Maxime came to my house, and the document stayed there," Couillard said during her interview with private television network TVA, without disclosing the contents of the document.

Harper said he accepted Bernier's resignation after learning Monday that Bernier had inadvertently left the documents in an unsecured location.

"It's only this error. It's a very serious error for any minister," Harper said. "The minister immediately recognized the gravity of that error."

The prime minister staunchly defended Bernier in recent weeks after he came under fire for his involvement with Couillard, who has been linked to the criminal biker underworld.

"Let me be clear: This is not to do with the minister's private life," Harper said Monday. "What matters here is that rules respecting government classified documents were broken. Obviously it was not done on purpose … but it was clearly done and it has to be treated appropriately."

Harper has asked Trade Minister David Emerson to assume the foreign affairs portfolio on an interim basis, while Heritage Minister Josée Verner will handle the Ministry of La Francophonie, which was also held by Bernier.

Bernier, 45, was elected to the House of Commons in January 2006 to represent the Quebec riding of Beauce and previously served as minister of industry in Harper's cabinet.

PM 'has a lot of explaining to do': Goodale
Bernier has also been in a weakened position in recent weeks since a gaffe in April during a visit to Afghanistan, where he publicly suggested the removal of the governor of Kandahar.

Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Wednesday. (Tom Hanson/Canadian Press)Earlier this month, the federal government was forced to rent a Russian cargo jet to ship helicopters to Burma to deliver aid after Bernier publicly promised the Canadian military's new C-17 transports, none of which were immediately available, would handle the job.

Montreal newspaper Le Devoir reported Monday that Couillard, who was once married to a biker, is the head of a high-tech firm that has been involved in airport security.

Liberal MP Ralph Goodale said the prime minister "has a lot of explaining to do" after dismissing MPs' questions on the matter in recent weeks, which he said were always asked in a "respectful and measured tone."

"The prime minister just swept them all aside and said, 'There's no problem here,' " Goodale told reporters Monday. "Obviously, tonight he's been proven incorrect."

Speaking to reporters after the announcement, Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe rejected Harper's contention that Bernier's resignation had nothing to do with Couillard's highly anticipated interview .

Duceppe said many questions remain unanswered, including how "people with very strange pasts" can bid on government contracts for airport security.

NDP Leader Jack Layton said it was about time that Bernier was replaced after committing a "series of incompetencies."

"It's been one thing after another and why the prime minister didn't come forward with more information about this whole sordid mess is something he's going to have to answer for," he told reporters.

Former girlfriend was married to Rocker
Le Devoir reported Monday that Couillard's business specializes in "systems of high security technology" that include security system installations and passenger security.

The information was provided to Le Devoir by a former employee at Couillard's firm.

Couillard, 38, receives documents regarding airport security, according to the report.

Published reports have referred to court documents that say Couillard once married a member of the Rockers biker gang, and was a potential target of Hells Angels kingpin Maurice (Mom) Boucher while she dated another biker.

Couillard has said she cut off ties with the underworld in 1999, and her romantic involvement with bikers is part of a distant past.

She started dating Bernier before he was sworn in as foreign affairs minister in 2007. They recently split up.

Couillard said her name and reputation have been tarnished because of published reports documenting her past ties, but she is not ashamed of anything.


Good riddens.
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Offline Yrys

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Re: Bernier's plane pledge catches Ottawa off guard
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2008, 14:05:35 »
There is also a thread on the resignation here :

http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,76818.0.html
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Offline Yrys

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