While spokespuppet Peter Van Loan was complaining that he was "bored" by the opposition questions about Berniergate during question period today, it was revealed that Steve, in the midst of his overseas romp, misled the world and further tarnished Canada's reputation when he stated that Italy's Berlusconi had agreed to lift the conditions on his troops that restrict them from participating in combat in Afghanistan. In fact, Berlusconi had said his government is only considering the move.
Steve doesn't have a foreign affairs minister to blame for that mistake.
In the meantime, Van Loan kept insisting today that Steve had only found out about Bernier's document gaffe on Monday afternoon when Couillard, through her lawyer, had returned those papers to the government on Sunday. No matter which way you slice that information, the only word to describe the sequence of events during that 24 hour period is "incompetence". Either someone failed to notify Steve or he knew exactly what was going on and intentionally brushed it aside until Monday while continuing to insist that there was nothing to see here, folks.
Ironically, Van Loan (Freudian?) slipped during question period and said that Steve had found out about the situation on Sunday afternoon, a gaffe he quickly blamed on "fatigue". I'd be fatigued too if I had to keep popping up on behalf of Steve in the house like one of those plastic novelty figures in a Whack-a-Mole game. Bobbing, weaving, and lying takes a lot of energy.
Calls for a public inquiry that the Cons want to avoid like the plague definitely aren't without merit though. Erika Simpson, writing for the Middle East Times posits what may have been contained in those documents. They were classified for a reason and although we may never know what they contained, the government's willful ignorance in refusing to conduct a transparent public investigation speaks volumes about their lack of concern for Canada's national security.
One BQ MP also asked the government on Thursday to inform the house about the type of passport Ms Couillard had while she travelled in diplomatic circles with Bernier. That was dismissed by Van Loan with the now infamous "private lives" excuse. Interesting that they never used that excuse when Steve gave the green light (after a lot of pressure) to an examination of the Mulroney/Schreiber investigation - although they've done everything possible so far to stall that one too.
So many scandals and no place to hide...