Guergis' lawsuit against PM 'just plain bad' 0
Helena Guergis. (ANDRE FORGET/QMI Agency Files)
OTTAWA -- The lawyer representing Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Wednesday a lawsuit filed by former Conservative MP Helena Guergis "is just plain bad."
Government lawyers argued Wednesday why the lawsuit brought against Harper and others should be tossed.
Lawyer Robert Staley, representing Harper, said Guergis' claim contains "very few material facts," conflicting allegations and is generally based on guesses and assumptions.
"This is just plain bad," Staley said of the claim.
The civil suit, which Guergis filed in December, makes allegations of conspiracy, misfeasance, defamation, negligence and infliction of mental suffering against the prime minister, the Conservative Party, Labour Minister Lisa Raitt and Conservative MP Shelley Glover, among others.
Harper filed a motion in May to have the lawsuit dismissed. The motion argued Guergis had "no reasonable cause of action" because nothing in her claim was subject to judicial process.
Harper's lawyer made a similar argument Wednesday, explaining that decisions of who becomes a cabinet member and who doesn't are made at the sole discretion of the prime minister and protected by Crown prerogative and parliamentary privilege.
"There is no substance to support claims of malice," Staley told court. "The prime minister had the authority to make that decision."
Part of Guergis' claims of defamation are based on letters sent from Harper and members of his staff to the RCMP about allegations from a private investigator about potentially criminal behaviour.
However, "communication among officers of state are protected by absolute privilege," a government lawyer told the court, meaning "you can't sue over them."
Guergis served as minister of state for the status of women and represented the Ontario riding of Simcoe-Grey until she resigned in 2010 amid allegations she and her husband, former Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer, partied with busty hookers and cocaine.
Proceedings continue Thursday when Guergis' lawyers present their case.
Does Helena Guergis have a case against the Conservative Party?