Helena Guergis in conversation - Macleans.ca
 

Helena Guergis in conversation

On her marriage, her talk with Stephen Harper, and her future prospects


 

Photography by John Major

Ottawa remains hypnotized by the blood feud between Stephen Harper and Helena Guergis, who resigned as minister of state for the status of women on April 9 amidst allegations involving her husband, former Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer. The Prime Minister then kicked her out of the Conservative caucus. In July, the RCMP cleared Guergis of criminal wrongdoing, but the Prime Minister’s Office continues to exclude her from caucus.

Q: About 50 ministers have resigned or been forced to resign since I started to write about Canadian politics in 1957. But seldom have any of those ministers also been expelled from caucus. So, why this firing squad?
A:
I would like to think I haven’t done anything that would warrant being treated worse than convicted criminals. But everybody is just piling on. I’ve always believed it had to do with my husband. In the phone call on April 9 when it all started, I said to the Prime Minister—and I believed he was a friend—that I thought he didn’t care for my husband. I said—and this is something I haven’t disclosed before—that I was going to be taking some time away from my husband, because I needed to figure out what the truth was. At the end of that conversation, the Prime Minister said, “Helena, you shared something with me about your marriage. From one friend to another, you need to know what your husband is doing.” So I firmly believe that he has done this to me because of my husband, and I don’t think that’s right. This is kind of high school, really.

Q: So he wanted you two to be apart?
A:
That’s right. I’ll be honest with you, I was really reluctant to do this interview. Just about every single time I have talked to the media, it’s portrayed as though I’m being combative with the Prime Minister, or firing shots at him. I didn’t pick a fight—I simply stood up for myself and answered questions when the pressure was mounting. And I had to. It’s time to put it behind us, for me to be back in caucus and just move on. I really want that, but somehow my request for a meeting with the PM has been turned into me demanding explanations.

Q: Your husband was chief of the Conservative caucus and an MP for a dozen years, going back to Reform days. How did he get along with Mr. Harper?
A:
He’s always spoken about the Prime Minister with respect.

Q: How long were you and your husband apart after April 9?
A:
I didn’t pull apart from him. I stuck with him—we had a raucous time. I needed to figure out if there was substance to the Toronto Star story [alleging that financier Nazim Gillani boasted that Jaffer “opened the Prime Minister’s Office to us”]. I went up one side of my husband and down the other for weeks, months on end, to make sure that he was not lying to me, that he had told me the truth. I needed to go through that process with him. I’d wanted time away to figure things out, but it was more appropriate for me to stay and to work through it. You don’t just walk away when things get tough.

Q: How long have you been married?
A:
In October, two years. So it’s still new, but I didn’t leave. There was a lot of yelling and screaming going on, a lot of questions, but we made it through that process. I wasn’t feeling the greatest because I was pregnant, and I needed his support. There were a lot of people who were telling me I should get rid of him. They kept saying, you know, “If you want to save your career?.?.?.?” Some were even suggesting I should stage it. That’s not happening. I’m not playing those games.

Q: What are your political options now?
A:
I will continue to ask for a meeting with the PM—not demand, just ask—you know, as one member of Parliament to another, as former colleagues?.?.?.?as colleagues, sorry. We still are colleagues in the House. I just think it would be the right thing to do to sit down, to talk, and put this all behind us. I want to be able to go forward with my pregnancy without the stress, I want to continue to work as an MP because I enjoy my job and I work really hard. My community deserves some closure and some answers. Maybe it’s time to change some of the election laws because right now it’s like the Prime Minister is the ultimate, supreme ruler. When you look at Canada as a flourishing democracy, it shouldn’t come down to one person who can just decide that the rest of my life I’m going to be marked. Even the stuff that’s coming out of the Prime Minister’s Office now suggests that I don’t meet the standards [of the caucus]. What’s that about? They don’t have a right to treat anybody that way. It’s against the basic human rights in this country. I don’t know what they expect me to do. Am I going to live on fresh air and sunshine?

Q: On one occasion, Mr. Harper came over to you in the Commons and sounded encouraging. Can you remember his exact words?
A:
I said, “If you sit here I don’t know if I’m strong enough to not start crying,” and he just sat quietly for a minute. Then he said there had been a lot of bad stories written about him in the past and that I should just keep my head up high and I’d get through this sort of thing. He was trying to reach out to me, at least that was what I thought.

Q: One of the theories floating around is that you didn’t get along with Guy Giorno, the PM’s chief of staff.
A:
My former chief of staff had tried to meet with Mr. Giorno on several occasions [before April 9] and I still have the email exchanges between them. She was very frustrated that he would not meet with her. She was the only chief who had not met with Mr. Giorno since he joined the PMO [in July 2008]. It seems that he doesn’t care for me very much.

Q: When you were removed from caucus, the Prime Minister specifically stated you should “sit outside caucus pending a resolution.” Why, since the RCMP charged neither you nor your husband with any wrongdoing, are we spending more time on this charade?
A:
I was so relieved when I thought all this was behind me, but I do think I have a right to know why I was investigated, and have my name truly cleared.

Q: The only error in judgment that’s been proven is that your husband borrowed your BlackBerry. Is that a capital offence?
A:
I’d love to answer that one. Lots of caucus members have given their BlackBerries to their spouses. That’s a fact. When he was caucus chair, Rahim received a number of emails from spouses that clearly identified they were using a parliamentary account. He still has all those emails.

Q: What about this office we’re in? The accusation was that your husband was holding meetings and working here.
A:
Did you go through security downstairs? Yeah? Well, anyone who comes here has to go through. They have a log; it shows there was no business here at all. This is nonsense. Somehow I’ve become an enemy of the state, for some reason. I don’t understand at all.

Q: One story going around is that your money is running out because your legal costs have been so high. Is that true?
A:
Oh yeah, I have spent a significant amount trying to figure out what I’ve done wrong. When the Prime Minister calls in the federal police force, you have to take it seriously, you have to get a criminal lawyer.

Q: Another accusation was that your husband was using your emails for his business.
A:
I saw three emails on the CBC website which showed the documents. One was between him and Brian Jean [parliamentary secretary to John Barrett] where it’s actually kind of comedic, though there was a section in the middle that did deal with his business. I said to him, “Rahim, why did you do that?” And he says, “I was in the middle of a conversation with him on something else and so I just asked him and wasn’t paying attention.” Another one had to do with a constituent who doesn’t want her name in lights but is happy to tell the Prime Minister’s Office that she didn’t do business with Rahim, he did it on behalf of a constituent for me—he’s helped a lot of constituents, because spouses do that. Spouses attend luncheons, they do a lot of things for us as MPs, that’s the way it is. In the third email, he actually directed the political staff person to his business account, so he did take the initiative to say, “Don’t do this.”

Q: If the PMO won’t talk to you, what will you do?
A:
I will run as an Independent, Conservative Independent. My name will be on the ballot. It’s hard because the Elections Canada Act doesn’t allow Independents to collect money except during the campaign.

Q: Do you still believe in the Conservative party?
A:
I don’t believe in some of the people in the Conservative party. I believe that the Prime Minister has been given some really, really bad advice. I don’t know who or why—clearly Mr. Giorno is a part of that. I think there are a few people who need to be removed from the situation and the Prime Minister needs to have a sit-down, heart-to-heart, one-on-one with me. I think that would be very good, not only for both of us but for the party. I have written to him and asked him personally [for a meeting], and he had agreed to sit down and talk to me. Then I sent a message that I’m not prepared to talk about my husband. I’m fair game—anything you want to ask—but I’m not going to discuss my husband’s case or any details. He cancelled the meeting.

Q: Where will it all end?
A:
I really hope I’m not pushed further away from the caucus, or from the Prime Minister. I know that I’m not being 100 per cent complimentary, but I think you know I could say a heck of a lot more. If I were inclined to be that kind of person, I could be on the attack, I really could.


 

Helena Guergis in conversation

  1. To paraphrase former Libertarian commentor, Gaulian, (http://www2.macleans.ca/2010/08/02/gone-fishing/)
    The Guergian Bay, a dangerous combination of deep waters and rocky shoals, will become increasing colder as fall approaches. We should not be surprised if something unexpected is yet uncovered from her depths or if some unsuspecting boater is dragged down to her depths during a stormy rage.

    Best to put on those political lifejackets.

    • Yes notice the numerous references to emails she or rahim has saved. Not too subtle.

      The Guergian Bay…LOL….Even though it refers to Lake Superior there must be some reference to be made The Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald.

      I am disappointed in one thing only. Newman didnt ask the question about the Cocaine and her husband. Glad to hear she had a lot of questions, she darn well better have, but it wouldn't it make some sense to ask what Jaffers answers where, given that she volunteers that they had a long conversation about things.

    • IM' A DIE HARD DIEFENBAKER FAN YOUR COMMENTS MAY VERY WELL BE TRUE AS THE STORM BREWS
      SHE IS A SHORT TEMPERED SPOILED BRAT AND NO ROOM FOR HER IN POLITICS
      IT GOES DEEPER WITH JAFFA IF YOU GET CHARGED WITH IMPAIRED DRIVING AND DRUG POSSESSION ARE YOU GOING TO GET OFF?

  2. I did not read the questions and answers. I am really not interested in what Ms. Guergis has to say. This is old news and the PM has made his decision.
    The media and the public at large should know by now this PM is not going to be swayed from his position regardless of what the opposition and the media says.
    He had his reasons and whether we agree with him or not he as the leader of the party and therefore chooses who runs as candidates for the party and who sits in his cabinet.
    I know it is hard for the anti Harper crowd to accept that but he is a leader while the other guy runs around the country pretending he is something he is not and shows through his comments has little in the way of leadership skills.

    • I did not read hollinm's comments above, I am not interest in what Mr. hollinm has to say. His comments are old news and I have made my decision.
      Readers of Macleans boards should know by now that this commenter is not going to be swayed from commenting on posts he has not read no matter how idiotic it makes his subsequent comments appear.
      He has his reasons and whether we agree with him or not, he is the owner of a keyboard and therefore chooses what he comments on and what he reads and the lack of overlap is your issue not his.
      I know it is hard for the anti hollinm crowd to accept but he also knows a great deal about that guy on the bus, even though he refuses to listen to his speeches or read his comments directly. True leadership is found by repeating what your favorite commentators elsewhere have told you to say.

      • Guffaw!!

      • Stewart_Smith……Of course we all agree with your sentiments. We must because you are a true leftie and anybody who says anything other than what you believe is open to criticism. However, despite being attacked on this board I will continue to exercise my right to type what I feel. You of course have assumed a lot in your diatribe but I respect your right to say to what you did. Until the next post have a great day.

        • Un-guffaw

          • Guffaw again, yay!

        • hollinm, I hope you recognized that I was imitating you which I am told is flattery. Of course I was mocking you as well, so perhaps while we might call mockimitation the most insincere form of flattery, it is flattery nonetheless.

          It is insincere, because in fact I did read your post, every word. I thought about what you were saying and my comment was the result of that process. Frankly, I think every poster that starts off with a variation of "I didn't even bother to read" is self identifying themselves in an unflattering manner. Given that this is a public board, such exposure borders on indecent. (indecent here taken to be rude, arrogant, inconsiderate not the naked Feschuck kind) As I consider myself a Soldier of Orderly Behaviour (SOB for short), I felt compelled to take action. Which leaves us just one question: Why do you hate the troops?

          • Stewart_Smith……..my post must have really upset you. Now you are suggesting that I am stupid and did not understand what you were up to. Sorry bud you really don't have a clue who I am or what my motivations are.

            My only point in saying I did not read the interview was because it was more of the same silly stuff that we have been seeing over the last 6 months and of course the media and the opposition parties have shown their true colours by first calling for her resignation, calling her names and when it happens they switch sides. Anybody smell hypocrisy? Do you not see the prevertedness in that?

            I know you have to criticize Harper because the Liberal party has a dud as a leader and really is saying nothing of value. The media is ignoring Ignatieff because anything he does say he will flip flop on or there are so many caveats the announcement means nothing. That is why I can't be bothered listening to him. I know his position will change in a few days.

            So you can take pleasure in attacking the PM personally and criticize me and anyone else who supports the Conservative party but it all means nothing because we are simply talking to oursleves.

          • Has it never ever ever occurred to you Hollinm that people who critcize Harper do so because they think he's implementing bad policy or behaving in a less-than-honourable way? You're right, the Liberal leader is a bit of a dud. So what. That has nothing to do with critiques of Conservative policy or implementation.

      • You are right. Hollimn is sobbing again about the anti-Harper boo, hoo stuff

        • OntarioTown…….no sobbing on my part. Its too bad you guys can't think of something of substance rather than personally attacking the PM.

      • BRAVO Stewart !!! That was great. I loved it.

      • Bravo.

    • I did not read hollinm's comments above, I am not interest in what Mr. hollinm has to say. His comments are old news and I have made my decision.
      Readers of Macleans boards should know by now that this commenter is not going to be swayed from commenting on posts he has not read no matter how idiotic it makes his subsequent comments appear.
      He has his reasons and whether we agree with him or not, he is the owner of a keyboard and therefore chooses what he comments on and what he reads and the lack of overlap is your issue not his.
      I know it is hard for the anti hollinm crowd to accept but he also knows a great deal about that guy on the bus, even though he refuses to listen to his speeches or read his comments directly. True leadership is found by repeating what your favorite commentators elsewhere have told you to say.

      Thanks, Stewart!

      • Quit cloning around Patch!

    • We really appreciate the contribution you make on this comment board. Harper's support has decreased 11 percentage points in the last couple of months. It is important that other commenters can clearly identify the type of people who support Harper. No doubt his recent decline is due to your efforts. Keep up the good work.

    • Canning a Minister for incompetence or crossing ethics lines would gain easy accolades for protecting the integrity of parliament. However ousting an MP from their own party even after the prospects of criminal charges are put to rest does make Canadians wonder what really happened. Regardless of whether or not we find out the whole story, Canadians are curious as to what constituted a banishment of an incumbent MP from her party.
      Not that I trust Guergis' version of events as they stand but some form of an explanation beyond vague innuendos would be nice.

    • Right on!
      The PM is rooted, sound and unwavering, and Canada should be grateful. He is not going the skippity-hop route like his opponent.

  3. So, let me get this straight… according to her own answers, the PM offered her the meeting she was seeking, then she turns around and tells him what is/isn't allowed to be discussed and he cancels… so basically she tries to dictate terms as opposed to going in to the office to "clear the air" and he bails — makes sense to me… hey Helena, part of "clearing the air" means having an honest convo with the PM about all that is going on… you don't get to pick and choose. Yeesh, this woman is a loser.

    • Yeah, that was something, wasn't it? Also liked the not-very-veiled-thread at the end. That's gonna do wonders for the forgive and forget, one big happy family (except the ones she wants to get rid of), concept.

    • The circular logic is absolutely astounding.

      "I told him I'd be spending time apart from my husband… he wanted us to be apar."

      This issue has clearly become deeply personal for Geurgis. That's half the problem.

  4. I find you very irritating and childishly superficial

    • And I care what you think? Get bent.

  5. There's no pile-on like a Con-on-con pile-on. Look at the con supporters, who loved her until boss-man said not to, all pecking at her. Lemmings.

    Who would have thought this former beauty queen/bath shop retailer would become Canada's most interesting politician of the year?

    And she ends with a threat. Come on, Helena, tell us what you know. Run as an indie and collect money like crazy once the writ is dropped. And sing like a bird through the whole election.

    • Don't be naiive! Is it really any different than the Sarah Palin thing? Former Beauty Queen (and still not too bad!), turned politician….and who knows? Maybe the next Preesident. Face it….the reality is that beautiful women with an IQ of 90+ have what it takes to attract the male audience….where there's beauty – there will be men to watch it….lol

    • The pile-on consisted of the Liberals, NDP, Bloc AND media who cried out for her head following the chronicled meltdown from an Charlottetown airport employee to the Liberal Party and the Toronto Star stories of "busty hookers" and the Magnum P.I. gumshoe. Suddenly she can walk on water courtesy of the same individuals.

      • Of the multitude of things one can fairly and productively criticize the PM and government for, his personal management style has always struck me as a silly fault to pound on. It's almost as though the opposition would be perfectly happy with the Conservative government and policies, if only Harper was just more avuncular and collaborative with his own caucus. That he's a control freak with little use for loyalty is more a matter for his own party to fret about – or not – I'd argue. I don't see pointing out his dickish inclinations all that productive a line for the opposition to pursue.

        • Sean….ah, but that is all they have to complain about. The policies are not Liberal but really are nothing to take real issue with.
          The problem is they cannot tout their own party (Liberals) because the leader is a dud and he has no policies on which to judge whether the party is fit to govern. Any "policy" he does announce he either flip flops on or has so many escape hatches the pronouncements are not worth anything. So the media basically ignores anything he says.
          So they personally attack Harper. The result, Canadians have simply ignored the media and the anti Harper crowd.

        • I agree Sean… indeed I hope the opposition has the brains to stay away and let Guergis fight her own battle.
          (Still long suffering Lib & NDP supporters should be able to enjoy a dose of schadenfreude, no?)

          • If I were to use this at all in opposition, and was feeling a bit ruthless, I might start gently musing aloud about the roles and perceptions toward women in the Conservative caucus. Perhaps McKay's "dog" slur was indicative of a general attitude. Maybe they really do want women to STFU. It's not a particularly fair or decent line of attack, but it could bear fruit. If one is comfortable with such tactics, it'd be worth throwing against the wall to see if it stuck.

          • I truly hope they don't, one damaging result of Harper's political style is the erosion of the residual respect Canadians had for their leaders and politicians. I might note that at times this has worked to the Conservative's advantage, but that pesky Olaf might show up and accuse me of being a paranoid conspiracy theorist. (He is always watching and waiting!)

  6. When you look at Canada as a flourishing democracy, it shouldn't come down to one person who can just decide that the rest of my life I'm going to be marked… They don't have a right to treat anybody that way. It's against the basic human rights in this country. I don't know what they expect me to do. Am I going to live on fresh air and sunshine?

    Haha, that little tirade was beyond dumb. A human right to be in caucus? The Prime Minister has the power to mark her as "unemployable" for life? If she's not allowed back into caucus she will starve? Yikes, get a grip.

    • I think the former minister was prime material for removal from any cabinet based on her previous performance and profile. The section you highlight demonstrates how weak her grasp is on the simplest of legal and political science basics.

      However, her beef with the PM is interesting. On the face of it, she was removed from office and then from caucus on the as-yet unproven possibilities that not only her husband but she had done things that deserved that degree of treatment. Subsequent revelations from the investigating authorities appear to clear her and her husband from any formal charges or proceedings. While her husband may be a lamentable dead weight, and she is little more than a light weight, none of the ostensible reaosns for her dismissal appear to be well founded, based on what we know publicly.

      In fairness to the PM, he may yet be aware of other instances or allegations that, while not proveable in court, give him reason to discontinue his and his party's relationship with her. If that is the case, though, maybe he should at least lay it out for her in private.

      • A PM can remove someone from cabinet for any reason he wants. Harper may simply have decided that even if she's entirely innocent, the association of her with her husband in the minds of voters is politically costly. There's nothing wrong with that.

        I agree though – he probably should lay those reasons out to her. But she certainly doesn't help that possibility by spilling her thoughts on the entire fiasco to the public.

        • I agree that a PM can have any reason he or she would like to remove a cabinet minister. It is a key lever and he or she is ultimately accountable for those ministers and as such should be free to make the moves they deem necessary. In this particular case, though, I think the PM gave clear signals that the removal was for reasons related to her control over her office and how its resources were used, for the relationship her husband may or may not have had with undesirable perosns or activities and for possible malfeasance on her part.

          I believe you are a fan of natural law and fundamental justice and in this case there appear to be issues that the PM should address.

          • I'm not sure natural law and objective justice have anything to do with keeping a cabinet post… cabinet ministers serve at the pleasure of the PM. She literally has no claim to the position, so Harper owes her nothing as far as I can tell, except possibly an explanation by virtue of their professional relationship.

            Now it may be true that the signals you reference concerning why she was removed have tarred her reputation, at least indirectly. But I don't think we can blame that on her removal from Cabinet – rather we should blame it on whoever brought the allegations in the first place.

          • I'm not suggesting keeping the post has anything to do with the other. I'm suggesting that the inferences made about her character and actions were in part directly attributable to the PM. If were her, I would feel unfairly treated and maligned not because I was removed from cabinet – although I understand her regrets about that as well – but because the words and actions of my PM had the effect of calling my integrity into question.

            As I suggested, it would seem right and fair that her impugned reputation be ressurrected by way of an acknowledgement that the questions about any illegal or conflict of interest activities on her part were not found to be true. You agreed to this above. It is this aspect of the affair that feels as though it has not been squared with the spirit of natural or fundamental justice.

          • I do have to defend the PM on this one, what if it would of being the other way around and she would of being found guilty of something, what he did makes sense, for him or any other leader in that position.

            And she again blew it, he agreed to meet with her, and she puts conditions! Duh, I wouldn't agree to that either, it's like she is hiding something. And the threats that she throws at the end, honestly, doesn't she has someone to advise her, help her to get ahead, not to kiss her career goodbye.

            Be_Rad I loved the Guffaw and Un-guffaw, I can even hear the back music alla Batman 60's show, hahaha….

          • Nothing personal, but I felt obliged to point out a grammatical error.

            'What if it would of' should read 'What if it would have' —- and again,

            'she would of been found guilty' should read 'she would have been found guilty'

            I am guessing however that 'would have' could be abbreviated, i.e. 'would've' although I'm not sure that would be acceptable.

            Cheers !

          • A little grammatical correction if I may:

            'what if it would of' should read 'what if it would have' — and again,

            'she would of been found guilty' should read 'she would have been found guilty'

            Cheers!

          • Thanks, always appreciate a little help my grammar in English still not quite there : )

      • I think she was probably dismissed because she had become a complete distraction for the party. I think she demonstrated that the PM probably would have been willing to have her back, until she started dictating the terms of the meeting. And now that she's dropping veiled threats in public, I think it's quite clear that any caucus member would be a fool to have any dealings with her, there simply can be no trust in that relationship anymore.

  7. Why does Maclean's still run those hokey picture series of their interview subjects – I mean, I get it, you interviewed her, but do you need the three freeze-frame, action stills of The Gesture! The Pointy Finger! The Puzzled Shrug? A bit passe.

  8. "How long have you been married?"

    Seriously? From Peter C. Newman?

    Freakin' fine state of journalism we're in, here.

    • The marriage was certainly widely reported at the time. To me, the hasty ceremony just to comfort her fiance after his well-deserved election loss only seemed to confirm her lack of judgment. (His lack of judgment has never been in question.)

    • I see you're not a journalist. Quite often journalists ask questions they already know the answer to, as an opener to a conversation. It's far more effective than to state the facts outright. And in this case it works beautifully.

      • I see you're a journalist who's still working at the Upper Armpit Bugle. Of course, you're right: quite often, journalists do ask questions they already know the answer to in the middle of an interview. But this can demonstrate, to the interview subject and reader, that they actually don't know the most basic of facts, especially facts which have already been made public. You might get a good quote or piece of info you can use, but the bigger risk is looking like a boob in front your readers and your subject.

        Pretend you don't know the answer to a more profound or revealing question, and see where the answer takes you. But don't try that on a "So, what's your full name?" type of question. Especially in the middle of a conversation.

        Good luck covering this weekend's annual cat parade, btw.

  9. It would be interesting to know who in the Caucus supports Ms. Guergis. There appears to be divisions within the Tory Party and many are jockeying for a Leadership run. Harper is aware of this and will set up some of these aspirants with irrational policies. Mr. Baird is now House Leader and is a Bully and intimidator of his own members. There are interesting times ahead.

  10. I agree she should run as an Independent

    • C'mon, do you work for Guergis?

  11. I am glad to hear that Helena will run as an Independent.
    She can represent her constituents better as an Independent and will be able to consider their bests interests when there is a vote.

    • More likely: by splitting the vote on the right, she'll simply be handing a seat to the Liberals.

  12. From my perspective, I simply cannot understand why she is so anxious to rejoin a Party that has rebuffed her at every turn. It's like getting wrongfully dismissed from a job, fighting it in court and then returning to the same place of employment. Things will never be the same, she will be regarded as a pariah and, as much as she appears to be innocent of everything but questionable taste, it will be no different for her if she were reinstated into caucus.

    Perhaps it's time for her to just move along. Surely she's qualified to do something else? (or not)

    http://viableopposition.blogspot.com/

    • Because she truly believes the Conservative mantra, and it's damned hard to make a successful run in Canada without a party, sadly, because most Canadians haven't yet figured out that if they voted based on the candidate instead of the party, they'd have a lot more say over what actually happens.

  13. Come on people, get your heads out of your pants, It's politics & Harper will do or use anyone if it makes him look like a strong leader to gain votes.

  14. Folks – as a former Conservative Party staffer, Helena conveniently forgets a few things in this interview.

    a) She has a reputation as a mean, bitter, horrible person. Aside from partisan politics, she is simply not someone you want around. Ask any Conservative staffer on the Hill – the stories about her firing staffers are legendary.

    b) For years, her "Chief of Staff" was forced upon her by the PMO to keep an eye on her. Geurgis tried on numerous locations to fire her, but was told she could not. That Chief finally quit after telling the PM's office to find someone else to babysit her temper tantrums.

    c) I never had the 'privilege' of working with Ms Geurgis, but several of my friends did. I witnessed grown professionals reduced to tears, more than once.

    The long and the short of it is – Geurgis had no friends left within the party. There aren't a lot of people who were sad to see her gone.

    • Hill Staffer…….the truth will set us free. The opposition parties and the media have no idea who this woman really is and what she is like. They are using her as a political football hoping that Harper will cave or they will have the mean Mr. Harper meme to harp on.
      I heard the same things about her and I suspect that Harper used this whole episode to rid himself of an MP who was sooner or later going to cause big time trouble for the party and the government.

      • Ah.. is that why he put her in Cabinet then?

    • I must say, I appreciated Newman's interview but thought he should have asked her a few more difficult questions.

      • Helena Guerguis, you just killed your political career…

        It was a terrible interview, on her part! What was she thinking?

        • I think she stopped thinking for herself a while back. First it was the lawyers telling her what to say, and now that all legal charges have been dropped, I'm sure her high-priced PR team is telling her what to say, to whom, and when.

    • She definitely wasn't cabinet material, even by Conservative standards. I saw her speak in Ottawa in 2006 at a Rights and Democracy 'event', and she was so out of her depth, it wasn't funny. That Harper saw fit to promote her, and then keep her in cabinet as long as he did, speaks wonders about his judgement.

  15. Guergis behaved like a snotty diva when she was in a position to push people around. We can only guess why Harper decided to remove her as a minister but I believe she was too big a liability in several ways..

  16. Although I have no love for Mr Harper, I have to agree that he had the right to cancel the meeting with Ms. Guergis once she set conditions. She was the one who wanted to clear the air, after all.

  17. As an example of a young new political class, those two fail most miserably…

    Let her run. Let her constituents decide. Personally, if it comes down to risk mitigation, dumping these two early is a definite example of proactive governance…

  18. Helena Guergis….Sarah Palin….Ruby Dhalla……and the list goes on and on. (see link below for world's hottest female politicians). Fact is this…plain and simple. We are men. Men occupy 65-70% of the senior political positions in the country. We (men) are enthralled by the sight and prescence of beautiful women – especially smart and beautiful women! So should we be surprised at how far beauty brings gals like Sarah Palin??? NO is the honest answer! Not many men will admit it, but yeah – whether consciously or subconsciously, we like having beautiful women around! So you go Helena !! Have at it with Stephen !! He'll cave…..I mean after all….he's just a man!

    • Emily, where are you???

      • LOL Claudia. Her and/or Holly Stick.

        • I know, when are they when we need them, hahaha…

  19. She is an ugly woman with a big mouth and no one will fear about her .Her story is over ,please stay with her liar husband and make the mess end.It is too much , Helena.I will not vote for you, You have very very bad judement .

    • But the prime minister made her a MINISTER. What do you think of HIS judgement?

      • True, but he also removed her from cabinet and caucus. Not to mention, Status of Women is not exactly a "hot" portfolio. Its all about the photo-ops.

  20. What a princess! Her main concern in all this seems to be the "high school stuff" she referred to – HER feelings, HER relationship, HER being separate from her husband. Sorry, toots, this isn't just about you… public figures can't be tied to crooks, and you were. Bye bye now…

  21. Helena G. is an embarrassment to women – she is shallow, foolish and has unbelievably bad judgement and taste in men ( that husband of hers is a major loser!) They should stay together tho – then they won't inflict themselves on anyone else. She is not a story that Canadians care about anymore – yesterdays papers and we know what to do with that!!

    • Wow.. lotta non-accounts coming out to rag on Helena. Guess the order's gone out to make Harper look like the good guy here. Wonder how many IPs are involved?

  22. Why does she want to be back in the party that dumped her? What spell has Harper cast on Helena that she continues to want to seek his approval?

    • No cln, I think her pride has been hurt, and her sense of entitlement has been threatened big time. I'll bet she's been challenged on her behaviour a few times in her life, and may never learn from the consequences because she does not have the ability to be humble.

      • You are right, she wants the last word!

    • I think the reason she wants back in, is she knows she'll be looking for a new job if she doesn't get the Conservative nomination. If the Cons run someone against her, while she runs as an indie, the right-of-center vote will be split, and it'll be an easy Liberal win. Not surprisingly, it's pure selfishness that motivates her. Plus then Rahim will have to start paying for his own BlackBerry, and we can't have that! :)

  23. Has John Walsh ever made a substantive comment about the handling of Guergis?

    I did a google search and found many "John Walsh was not available for comment" but as others have pointed out I am pretty weak on all this technology stuff.

  24. Incidentally, anyone care to speculate as to what she could have possibly meant by this? I can't even begin to imagine.

    Maybe it's time to change some of the election laws because right now it's like the Prime Minister is the ultimate, supreme ruler.

    • Our Constitution was not framed in anticipation of Harper's power lust. But what can we do? He's done the "stamped it, no erasies!" thing so we're stuck.

      • Fortunately, I believe there is an obscure constitutional convention which would allow a future Prime Minister to alter the trend that has seen steadily more power being concentrated in the PMO since the Trudeau years. This convention theoretically allows a future Prime Minister to call quitsies, double stamp it, and then most contentiously, reinvoke the ancient doctrine of no erasies. There's a great deal of controversy among scholars as to whether it is possible for one to subsequently triple stamp a double stamp, and even if it is possible, it would likely require one to take the politically hazardous step of touching blue in order to make it true; however, there is at least some legal precedent to support this most brazen and undemocratic behaviour. I think Michaelle Jean would have fallen for it, anyway.

    • Olaf, she may be referring to the party leader's ability to have a say on who will run as a candidate in each riding association. Coyne wrote on this on May 3rd.

      "In a proper Westminster system, the leader is selected by the members of the Parliamentary caucus. In our run-down, degraded version of Westminster, the leader picks the caucus."

      • Janice, she very well may be referring to that. The problem is, how a party determines who will run under their banner, how that candidates are chosen, how the party leader is determined, etc., are all, I'm relatively certain, internal party matters not subject to "election laws". She seemed to be suggesting that we should change the 'election laws' in such a way to prevent an unpopular member of caucus who became a political liability for the leader and the party from being evicted from that caucus, which would be a novel law indeed.

        My point was just that I'm not sure she was actually thinking with her brain about what she was saying, confirmed later when she started talking about her "human rights" in the episode being violated because she estimates the Prime Minister was mean to her.

        • Valid points Olaf. You're right, she may very well be mixing things up. Reminds me a bit of Palin here.

  25. I AGREE COMPLETELY WITH YOU!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Lesley, I concur. In my humble opinion, capital letters and more than one exclamation mark are not necessary to make your point; in my view, one exclamation mark can be more effective in getting a point across.:)

  26. She has a new book coming out…"How Not to Marry a Muslim"

  27. FROM THE WEST COAST – DEMOCRACY WORKS WHEN LOCAL CONSTITUENTS CAN SELECT THE CANDIDATE THEY WANT – THEN IN THE ELECTION THE CHIPS FALL WHERE THEY MAY. IN HARPERS KINGDOM – HE ALONE IS THE AUTHORITY OVER-RIDING THE LOCAL CONSTITUENTS. MS GUERGIS HAS SERVED A PARTY FUNCTION – A CRUCIFICATION AS AN EXAMPLE TO OTHER MP'S WHO MIGHT HAVE THE COURAGE TO REPRESENT THEIR CONSTITUENTS. THERE IS NO DEMOCRACY UNDER KING HARPER !

  28. What 'get's me' is that she wants to rejoin a party that has treated her like sh*t.

    Why would her constituents accept her as a viable asset if she makes decisions like that?

  29. Although I am not always a fan of the decisions made by this PM, I think dumping Helena from caucus was probably the best demonstration of good judgement he has shown. She should have been fired right after her airport ¨birthday¨ tantrum. Spoiled little princesses who believe that their good looks is a license to abuse the minions deserve no quarter in Canadian politics.

  30. Helena should get a haircut. At her age, she looks kinda silly…

  31. Cocaine couple=power couple, she still want to blame others for her missteps ,she really really need a mirrror.

    • Hehe, if she needs a mirro, I'm sure Rahim has a few around with razor blades near by and white powder residue.

  32. All I care about is Helena running as an Independent, splitting the Tory vote and Harper loosing Simcoe-Grey!

  33. actually, the whole story began after Mrs. Guergis freaked out on an Air Canada worker at the Charlottetown Airport.
    I do not condone Harper's treatment of her, but I also do not think that Mrs. Guergis should be allowed to remain in the public service, certainly not on the federal level
    If she had any decency, she would have resigned after Charlottetown.

  34. Oh, boo-hoo-hoo. Who gives a crap about Mrs. G. McLean's should be getting at the meat of real stories for Canadians.

  35. "man up" is likely the missing ingredient in th Guergis affair. When Jaffer was caught red handed he weasled. Getting caught drunk driving, with cocaine in your pocket was an opportunity to "man up" but Jaffer infuriated every citizen of this country by being "sleazy" instead of a man. In the big picture Jaffer has tarnished his wife more than any of her own missteps.

  36. live on fresh air and sunshine,idoubt that. but at least she will no longer be a pig at the taxpayer trough! PS good luck at the bath boutique.

  37. there would be two reasons HG would be clamouring to get back in the conservative party,greed and vanity.Being relegated to the far back corner of the house has always been portrayed as a position of shame.Helena would also take a very substantial pay cut and would no longer have the perks, expense account and recognition that came with being a cabinet minister. Being an independant she also has no say during question period,it would not be long till her constituents realised she was of little value and would vote her out of existence.

  38. I feel sorry for Helena Guergis because of the following
    1. The Airport incident was totally over aggegerated and the video replay confirmed this.
    2. The RCMP has cleared her and her Husband of any wrong doing. (Harper needs to explain this)
    3. Her husbands office use and Blackberry saga has been answered to my satisfaction and was blown out of proportion.
    I feel She has been targeted because She is married to a visible minority and I applaud her for sticking my her Man. Just because your business friend commited fraud does not make you guilty of fraud.
    Harper will not get my vote for his handling on this matter.

    • Agreed. The video replay did not show conclusively that she went over the line.

  39. Harper, lied to the BC citizens, he first said, no to the HST, then gave that idiot Campbell $1.6 billion, to force the HST through to, a province of people, who have lost their jobs, their homes, and everything they had. On TV, watching the House of Commons, I saw a motion pass that gave, billions of our tax dollars to, banks, large corporations, gas and oil companies. They also get, huge tax reductions. And now they are squealing for the HST, to boot. This country, stinks to high Heaven, with corruption. Helena, smells like a rose, compared with, Campbell, Hansen and the B.C. Liberals. Campbell should have been thrown in prison, the minute he fraudulently sold the BC Rail. Harper and Campbell, have a very close relationship. They travel together, they had, red mitten, photo-ops, Harper, even spoke in the BC Legislature. A Federal election, in the fall, Harper will get very few votes from BC. Anyone who is a buddy of Campbell's, is not good for this country. If I were Helena, I would go to another party. The BC Liberals are despised. Iggy, also lied to the people, regarding the HST. Iggy said, the Liberal Party, has a bad name, but, not by me. Neither, Harper, nor Iggy, would have the guts, to put a stop to all of the corruption in this country. And, it is corruption and greed, that governs this country, and nothing else.

  40. Well the coke and drunk-driving charges her husband….. if you think that one should be punished for the crimes of their spouse, fine.

    As for her abusive remarks to airport workers, those have been proven to be grossly overstated, if not outright fabricated.

    On the other hand, she does seem to be just plain crazy.