I’ve been quite clear about where I think Maxime Bernier fits amid the pied pageant of grinding mediocrity that is Stephen Harper’s cabinet, but I couldn’t help but smile at the pearl-clutching shock that greeted the discovery that Julie Couillard, Bernier’s former girlfriend, was once a biker’s moll.
Media and Opposition reaction seemed driven by the “security implications" of Bernier’s appalling taste in women (though, in my view, there really are none to speak of). Remarkably, nobody bothered to point out the obvious—that, far from being inappropriate, the now-defunct relationship represented a perfectly appropriate and perhaps even ideal match.
As you may know, Bernier is part of the “Conservative” Party’s libertarian wing and made his provincial reputation by flogging the usual neo-liberal horses as Vice-President of the Montreal Economic Institute, Quebec’s version of the Canadian Taxpayer’s Federation. As a man who believes that the state is an inherently oppressive institution which deserves to be starved into impotence and that taxes need to be lowered to the point of virtual non-existence, Bernier is a natural ally of the Hells Angels (and of all criminal enterprises), who, despising the state, proudly and tirelessly work to destroy the law and order which are its fairest fruits and who do everything they can to keep their ill-gotten profits from official scrutiny and government imposts.
In effect, the Hells Angels are simply orthodox libertarians—radically asocial entities ruthlessly pursuing a self-interest premised upon the assumed ethical illegitimacy of all governments and of the “nanny-state collectivism” they administer. Naturally, Bernier’s girlfriend found it easy to flit between a biker guttersnipe and his own respectable self. Beyond the superficial, they are the same man. Add a gang patch or a pair of cufflinks, and the one becomes the other.
Bernier’s embarrassing dalliance is hardly a security concern per se, but, if we consider it within its proper dimensions, it should remind us of the unsettling fact that the fundamental weltanschauung espoused by senior members of our current government (which the ignorant are pleased to call "conservative") is also the ethical framework which shapes the operations of the criminal underworld. That is not just a "concern"; it is insanity.