Maxime Bernier, PC, MP (born January 18, 1963) is a Canadian politician currently serving as the Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism in the cabinet of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Bernier is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Beauce in Quebec, and previously served as the Minister of Industry and Minister of Foreign Affairs. However, he resigned from cabinet on May 26, 2008, after a scandal involving an ex-girlfriend, Julie Couillard, with ties to the Hells Angels. Prior to entering federal politics in 2006 Bernier was vice-president of the Standard Life of Canada insurance company and manager of corporate and international relations at the Commission des valeurs mobilières du Québec.
Bernier was born in Saint-Georges, Quebec, to Doris and Gilles Bernier. He obtained a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the Université du Québec à Montréal, and went on to complete his law degree at the University of Ottawa. He was called to the Quebec Bar in 1990. Bernier has held positions in several financial and banking institutions, including the National Bank, the Securities Commission of Québec, and Standard Life of Canada, to that of Executive Vice-President of the Montreal Economic Institute.
Bernier became the Conservative Party candidate in the riding of Beauce for the 2006 federal election.
Bernier was one of the higher-profile freshman MPs from Quebec, and as such, on February 6, 2006, he was appointed Minister of Industry. He was also the minister responsible for Statistics Canada, and by virtue of being appointed as the Minister of Industry, Bernier also served as the Registrar General. During his time as Industry Minister Bernier worked to deregulate the telecommunication industry.
Foreign Affairs Minister
Following a cabinet shuffle in August 2007, Bernier was appointed as Minister of Foreign Affairs replacing Peter MacKay who became the Minister of National Defence.During his stint as Foreign Affairs Minister, he came under fire for several high-profile gaffes. On May 26, 2008, Bernier resigned from Cabinet just hours before Julie Couillard revealed he had left classified government documents in her house in mid-April.He retains his seat in the House of Commons and was replaced as Minister of Foreign Affairs by David Emerson on a short term basis,with fellow Quebec Tory MP Josée Verner taking over as Minister responsible for La Francophonie.
April 29, 2012