There are many aspects of American politics that I am envious of. The equal, elected and effective senate is certainly one of them. One thing that I have been happy as a Canadian to see though is that we really have not gotten into the national enquirer style coverage of our politician’s personal lives.
A couple weeks ago the Liberals in parliament tried to make a big deal out of the fact that Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier’s ex-girlfriend, Julie Couillard had once been married to an informant who was with the Hells Angels years ago. Big bloody deal. You would think that parliament had better things to do than discuss a minister’s personal life that was a couple degrees of separation from a criminal gang.
Last week, it hit the media that cabinet minister Vic Toews is getting a divorce and has a young, pregnant girlfriend.
So what? Is that any of my business? Do I think Toew’s behaviour in his personal life is admirable? Not really. I still don’t care.
My only concern (and I wish the media would stick to those concerns) with elected politicians is their actions within their respective legislatures. I could not care less if one of my elected representatives went home after work, put on a latex nurses uniform and had themselves whipped by lasagna noodles by their significant other who is dressed as the skipper from Gilligan’s Island. (does paint a mental picture though don’t it?)
We elect legislators not saints. These people are not in their positions to lead by puritanical example in their personal lives, they are there to represent constituents.
Alas, the idiot Minister Maxime Bernier has just fed the jackals and fed them well. The fool left left secret documents relating to a NATO summit at his girlfriend’s apartment. Bernier likely was drawn to Couillard’s twin assets which are not class or discretion, they are rather defined in the picture above. Rather than quietly return the documents, Couillard made sure to get some more TV time by exposing it on Quebec television. The documents have been returned, and Bernier resigned as Foreign Affairs Minister yesterday.
Now the people howling for puritanical politicians will have been given more ammunition in their drive to expose the personal lives of the elected. They can claim that Bernier’s choice in girlfriends reflected low moral character and it was right to pillory him over that.
The only thing that Bernier should be pilloried over is outright stupidity. He was entrusted with classified documents that potentially impact upon our entire nation. Not only should Bernier be gone as a cabinet minister, he should be gone as a member of parliament altogether.
The media and opposition were seeking dirt and we richly rewarded by Bernier. Sadly, this may lead to an increase in poking into the personal lives of our politicians in the future and that will only further degrade Canadian politics.