Tag Archives: Maxime Bernier

Maxime Bernier has new technologies

There’s no way I can make this better than it already is. (via @mediabeat)

It occured to me I’ve never actually heard Maxime Bernier speak in English before (my attention must have been focused elsewhere). Now the new Conservative minister of nothing is putting it in practice with a new blog.

Don’t expect him to be too honest or outrageous though, the Tories don’t like honesty on their members’ blogs.

Stop the presses: Maxime Bernier might be human

La Presse has the scoop this morning on what Julie Couillard is going to say in her book due out on Monday. Essentially, she says Maxime Bernier is an arrogant, womanizing SOB who badmouths his party leader and his constituents behind their backs and whose primary concern is himself.

I’m trying to contain my shock. I mean, a politician who’s self-obsessed and hides his true feelings from the public? What is this world coming to?

Of course, I’m willing to trust these claims about as much as I am Bernier’s denials. The fact that she’s releasing such a book in the first place (and has moved the publication date back a week to have more of an impact before the election) shows quite a bit about her character.

But if we assume that what she says in the book is true, does that make Bernier a horrible person? Concluding that sovereignty is inevitable and saying your prime minister is too fat are clearly offenses worthy of expulsion, and badmouthing your own constituents is usually political suicide. But I find it hard to imagine any politician not doing these things on a regular basis.

Do we really think that Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae aren’t trash-talking Stéphane Dion in private? Or that Gilles Duceppe thinks he can win 75 seats in this election? Or that Jack Layton doesn’t think Alberta Conservatives are stupid? Or that John McCain and Barack Obama are really as religious as they let on?

There were a couple of scenes in the West Wing’s last two seasons in which presidential candidates said that voters are asking to be lied to when they put their politicians up to such unrealistic standards.

So, in the end, should the most successful politicians simply be those who are better at concealing their private thoughts and keeping their lies going?

I think that’s a scarier thought than a minister leaving confidential papers at the home of a biker chick.

TVA mad at La Presse for suggesting they have managers

The petty legal war between the francophone media continues, as Groupe TVA (read: Quebecor/TVA/Journal de Montréal/Canoe) sent a lawyer’s letter to Groupe Gesca (read: La Presse/Cyberpresse) demanding that they retract statements that suggested the whole blurring-the-face-of-Bernier’s-biker-girlfriend thing was done on orders from management, according to Le Devoir (subscription-locked, sorry).

Specifically, it takes issue with an article from Le Soleil’s Richard Therrien and a blog post from Patrick Lagacé, both of which suggest that the decision was suspicious (the latter suggests that a friendship between Maxime Bernier and Quebecor’s Pierre-Karl Péladeau might have something to do with it).

I honestly have no idea what’s going through the minds of people at Quebecor (or just TVA?). Are they suggesting that management was not involved in this decision, and that any statement otherwise libels them somehow? Are we to believe that some non-management person made such a controversial decision on a major news story without discussing it with higher-ups?

And are we just to take it as coincidence that the Journal and TVA, both owned by Quebecor, are the only two news outlets that have kept her name secret?

Seriously, what’s their problem?

UPDATE: The Gazette’s Liz Thompson is also like: Dude, WTF?

MP’s ex is hot

In this Canadian Press photo, you see Julie Couillard, a woman once linked to a Hell’s Angels member, being escorted by an unidentified MP to an official function. We’ve decided not to identify the MP in question, since he hasn’t been charged with anything and we don’t want to sully his reputation.

Wait, you say? It’s stupid of me to disguise his identity since his name and photo have appeared in Quebec media all over the place?

Tell that to Quebecor/Sun Media.

Quebecor-owned outlets, including TVA/LCN and the Journal de Montréal, pretty notorious for exposing gossip, decided to blur this woman’s face and refrain from mentioning her name in their news reports (though apparently the word didn’t get out to all their bloggers, nor to the anglo Sun Media papers which are running CP stories with her name on their websites).

Both are in the news recently because of allegations that she, the ex-girlfriend of Maxime Bernier, was once married briefly to a member of the Hell’s Angels biker gang.

Of course, no evidence whatsoever has been brought to light suggesting that she did anything wrong, much less him. In fact, it seems the guy, Stéphane Sirois, actually grew out of favour with the Hell’s for marrying her.

Now while the Conservatives are pleading for privacy and the opposition is screaming OMG biker warz NATIONAL SECURITY!!!111, most of the media outside of Pierre-Karl Péladeau’s control are milking this story for all it’s worth. They want to give it maximum exposure, reveal as much as possible, put it out there for everyone to gawk at.

(I guess the Journal, for one, had a change of heart after that, and decided to un-anonymize her later this morning)

Fortunately, the rather obvious and curious actions have not been missed by the bloggerati. Patrick Lagacé, Martin Patriquin, Richard Therrien of Le Soleil, 321Blogue, Julie Bélanger, MédiaTrib and others have pointed this out with curious looks on their faces. Could there be some collusion between Bernier and Péladeau? Could Quebecor be afraid of the biker gangs? Surely their explanation of not wanting to sully the reputation of an innocent person can’t be taken at face value considering what we know of the Journal et al’s ethics.

As we ponder the conspiracy theories, let’s get back to the story.

And really, there’s a very important reason this story is getting so much attention: Look at her. She’s hot. We-stiff-on-hard-for-thee hot.

Imagine, if you will, taking sex out of the equation. If this were an unattractive male friend who had, say, an important business relationship with someone alleged to be linked with the mafia or other organized crime, would it have gotten attention from the news media, even if there was no evidence of anything wrong involving the minister?

Of course it would. But it would have been a 500-word story in the politics section. Not Page 1, and not more than a brief on TV.

So, in the end, Quebecor is at fault for nonsensically hiding information from the public. And the rest of the media is at fault for sensationalizing this issue just as an excuse for running file photos of her boobies.

UPDATE (May 11): According to LCN, the woman (who they’re still not identifying) told the Journal her life has been destroyed by this scandal. Note that the Journal identifies her. But the LCN story about the Journal story doesn’t. How weird.