It seems that while Conservative spokespuppet Peter Van Loan was again ducking questions about Maxime Bernier's former girlfriend on Monday during question period, insisting that the scandal had absolutely nothing to do with national security, she was busy telling a Montreal teevee station that Bernier had left a secret document in her apartment.
And Steve is still in denial:
Bernier submitted his resignation a few hours before TVA in Montreal aired an interview with Julie Couillard, in which she said that the former minister left a government document in her apartment in April.
"It is a very serious mistake–regardless of who the minister is, regardless of personal life–to leave classified documents in an unsecured location," Harper told reporters in a hastily called news conference on Parliament Hill.
"The minister has recognized this error himself and offered to resign," the Prime Minister said.
Harper, who has previously turned aside questions about Bernier and Couillard as an intrusion on the former minister's personal life, said, "This is not to do with the minister's private life or the life of a private citizen."
What? Pardon? Huh?
This was all to do with Bernier's private life. Who does Steve think he's kidding?
Oh yes, I forgot. He's leading The Government of Responsibility & Accountability™. How silly of me. I guess I'd make a really bad Conservative.
Stay tuned on Tuesday for what should be one huge schadenfreudesque session of question period.
Can we get Mr Public Safety, Stockwell Day, to resign now too? That would really make my week.
And the award for Most Understated Headline of the Day goes to: Canwest for this gem - Bernier's tenure was 'brief and undistinguished:' historian. Their story also includes this tidbit:
Bernier left briefing materials from the recent NATO summit in Romania in Couillard's residence. These included a set of briefing notes as well as his "prep materials" for the summit.
But nothing to see here, folks. Move along now...
But, wait...CBC teevee is reporting that Couillard was concerned her house may have been bugged. By whom? No one seems to know at this point.
And the new minister of foreign affairs? (No drumroll). David Emerson, whose Wiki page has already been updated.
"Ex-petite amie" Couillard's interview (in French) has now been posted to TVA's site.
Update: Here's her full interview in English.
CTV is reporting that Bernier and/or Couillard could be charged for the security breach relating to the classified documents she had in her apartment. What Stephen Harper had written off when he said he "I don't take this subject seriously" earlier Monday could snowball into one of the biggest scandals of his term.
Bernier's letter of resignation:
This is to inform you that I am resigning my post as Minister of Foreign Affairs, effective immediately.
I informed you late this afternoon that last night I became aware that I had left behind classified government documents at a private residence.
Prime Minister, the security breach that occurred was my fault and my fault alone and I take full responsibility for my actions.
I have asked the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade to conduct a thorough review of the situation.
Thank you for the trust you have shown in me. I will do everything I can to serve the government well in my capacity as Member of Parliament."
An internal investigation by those two ministries definitely won't and shouldn't satisfy the opposition or the Canadian public - not when we already know how this Con government likes to cover its butt in every possible way.