Gone but not forgotten: Maxime, the guru of gaffes.

(Canscene) — Let’s forget Ms. Couillard for the moment and look at some of the other damage Maxime Bernier did as Foreign Affairs Minister.

During one of the many grillings opposition members gave Bernier in the house, Liberal Foreign Affairs Critic Bob Rae spoke up on Bernier’s most recent gaffe regarding the availability of Canada’s new C-17s to help the people of Burma/Myanmar.

“This latest blunder is not just an embarrassment for Canada – it is irresponsible,” said Rae. “These are people’s lives we’re talking about, and Mr. Bernier needs to have

a better handle on precisely what it is Canada can and cannot do to help them.

“It is just the latest in a string of examples that proves Mr. Bernier is incompetent, and the only action left for Prime Minister Stephen Harper is to fire him.”

Officials with the Department of National Defence were forced to quickly rent a Russian plane to ship helicopters to Thailand to help the people of cyclone-ravaged Burma/Myanmar after Bernier publicly stated it would be carried out by Canada’s new C-17 aircraft.

Contrary to Mr. Bernier’s claim that there was a C-17 ready and available to do the job, officials confirmed that as false, which is why the Russian plane had to be dispatched.
“As I’ve stated in the past, Mr. Bernier is clearly in over his head,” said Rae.  “He continues to be a liability to Canada and to the international community. He has got to go.”

Rae pointed to  Bernier’s other missteps, including:
– suggesting to reporters that Kandahar Governor Abdullah Khalid be replaced. He was quickly forced to retract those comments and acknowledge that Afghanistan, as a sovereign country, must make its own decisions;

– his mishandling of the case of Brenda Martin, a Canadian left stranded in a in Mexican prison for two years;

– his failure to take a leadership role (or indeed any role) in the international effort to ban the production and use of cluster munitions;

– his abandonment of key foreign affairs files to other ministers – Afghan detainees (Peter MacKay), death row inmates abroad (Stockwell Day), the proposed sale of the Radarsat 2 satellite system (Jim Prentice), the Brenda Martin case (Helena Guergis), a summit of foreign affairs ministers of Arctic nations in Greenland (Gary Lunn); and, his failure to respond to any of the recent international crises in Pakistan, Kenya, Sri Lanka or Zimbabwe.

At least we have the consolation that Bernier’s successor, however much he strives, could hardly do worse.

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