Bernier filmed leaving car keys on front tire before Parliament Hill jog
Former foreign affairs minister Maxime Bernier has largely stayed out of the national spotlight since resigning from his high-profile post in 2008 over a security breach involving sensitive government documents.
At the time, Bernier was under fire for leaving classified documents at the home of his ex-girlfriend Julie Couillard.
Bernier eventually returned to Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s cabinet, now serving as Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism, but he’s raising eyebrows once again over his apparent carelessness shown in a French documentary.
The documentary, which aired in France last March, looked at Canada’s efforts to achieve economic success and included interviews with various politicians. It has been available online for months.
Near the start of the film, a camera crew follows Bernier as he tosses a bag into his car and drives himself to Parliament Hill.
On his way, he stops his car so he can go for a morning jog before work. He parks the vehicle, and is seen leaving the keys on top of a front tire -- his bag still inside the car.
“Don’t show this to anyone,” Bernier says in French before taking off.
Security expert Alan Bell said the scene raises a lot of questions because of what might have been inside the bag.
“Were there documents? Government documents, personal documents?” he said. “Doing something like this is absolutely ludicrous.”
Bernier, who tells the film crew that he does not use a chauffeur or fly first class while on government business, told CTV News off-camera that the whole thing was just a joke.
He also gave a statement to CTV News late Tuesday night, saying: “"I never carry any government documents in my personal car. My office and I comply with all Government of Canada security guidelines concerning the treatment and transportation of government documents."
But some members of the Opposition said they don’t understand why Bernier would leave his car vulnerable to break-ins or theft.
“I saw the video. It didn’t look like a joke at all,” NDP MP Rosane Dore Lefebvre said.
Bernier resigned as foreign affairs minister in May 2008, acknowledging that he left sensitive government documents in the open at Couillard’s home.
With a report from CTV’s Daniele Hamamdjian