RCMP probe of Guergis centres around cocaine allegations
Published Wednesday, April 14, 2010 10:02PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, May 19, 2012 1:25AM EDT
Helena Guergis, the former minister of state for the status of women, was expelled from caucus and is being investigated by RCMP over allegations of partying with cocaine and prostitutes, CTV News has learned.
Private investigator Derek Snowdy says Guergis lost her Tory post after he informed a Conservative Party lawyer of those allegations, CTV's Robert Fife reported Wednesday night.
Snowdy had been conducting a 19-month probe into the affairs of Nazim Gillani and his business partner, former CFL player Mike Mihelic, when he learned of purported illicit behaviour by Guergis and her husband, former Tory MP Rahim Jaffer.
Both Gillani and Mihelic are facing fraud charges on an unrelated matter.
Gilliani boasted that he had cellphone photos of Guergis and Jaffer "partying" with cocaine and high-priced hookers, Snowdy said.
"I was concerned about blackmail," he said.
It has not been confirmed that Gillani said those comments or that he had the cellphone photos, but it was those allegations that caused Harper to act.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has not commented on the allegations facing Guergis, saying only that he acted as soon as learned of them.
"The minister offered to resign and I accepted her resignation and I've also made it very clear that I had received some information of serious allegations, of which I had no direct knowledge, and of which I did the appropriate thing and forwarded those to the authorities," Harper said during Question Period on Wednesday.
In an email to CTV earlier on Wednesday, Guergis said she was unable to respond to all questions about the matter at this time.
"I'm sure you can appreciate it is very difficult to answer allegations based on innuendo from anonymous sources. Nevertheless, I intend to defend myself to the fullest extent to ensure that the record is set straight," Guergis wrote.
"What I can tell you is that as soon as I heard the Prime Minister had referred certain matters to the RCMP and the Ethics Commissioner I contacted both parties to offer my full co-operation. The Ethics Commissioner has already said she does not have any information to warrant an investigation and I'm still awaiting an answer from the RCMP. Because this is now in the hands of the police I have retained legal counsel."
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff has charged that the behaviour of Guergis and Jaffer reflected poorly on the prime minister, calling it the latest incident in a "pattern of arrogance."
"The question now is not about Mr. and Mrs. Jaffer, it is about the prime minister . . . will he finally admit that with the confidence he displayed with this couple, he displayed a poor lack of judgment?" Ignatieff asked.
NDP Leader Jack Layton told the prime minister to "at least give us a hint as to why the RCMP is involved."
Harper responded that it was "inappropriate" to comment on the matter as it was before the RCMP.
Earlier on Wednesday, Guergis spoke out against a CTV report which said the third-party allegations against her are related to blackmail and drug use.
The former junior Conservative cabinet minister said she was shocked by the story.
"This is completely ridiculous and an example of rumours gone amok," Guergis wrote in an email to The Canadian Press Wednesday.
The embattled politician was booted from her cabinet post and the Tory caucus last week.
Jaffer has also been under intense scrutiny amid allegations of improper lobbying and questionable use of Guergis' parliamentary resources.
Guergis has rejected those charges, as has Jaffer's business partner, Patrick Glemaud.
Glemaud has said their company, Green Power Generation, never made a dime on Jaffer's Tory connections.
Gillani has claimed to his associates that Jaffer, who is a partner in green energy consulting firm Green Power Generation Corp., could give them special access to the Prime Minister's Office, a claim that Harper has adamantly denied.
Guergis has hired Howard Rubel, the same lawyer that her husband used to negotiate a controversial plea bargain on impaired-driving and drug charges.