Second-hand allegations of cocaine use prompted Guergis caucus ouster: CTV

OTTAWA — Hours after MP Helena Guergis dismissed one media account about the alleged reason for her current troubles as “rumours gone amok,” a followup report claims the she was kicked out of caucus over allegations of cocaine use and consorting with prostitutes.

OTTAWA — Hours after MP Helena Guergis dismissed one media account about the alleged reason for her current troubles as “rumours gone amok,” a followup report claims the she was kicked out of caucus over allegations of cocaine use and consorting with prostitutes.

CTV News reported late Wednesday that the information came from private investigator Derek Snowdy.

Guergis, who also resigned her junior cabinet portfolio last week, could not immediately be reached to respond to the latest allegations.

The TV network says Snowdy claims he came across the information while investigating Nazim Gillani, a business contact of Guergis’s husband Rahim Jaffer.

Snowdy claimed that Gillani boasted he had cellphone photos of Guergis and Jaffer “partying” with cocaine and high-priced hookers, says the CTV report, but it added there is no confirmation that Gillani made those comments or has photos.

On Tuesday, CTV reported a private investigator had come across information about drug use, but didn’t specify who was involved. That story prompted a brisk denial from Guergis.

“This is completely ridiculous and an example of rumours gone amok,” Guergis said in an email to The Canadian Press on Wednesday.

When asked about the story, Guergis’s lawyer Howard Rubel said he would not respond to “rumours” or “gossip.”

Neither Guergis nor Rubel immediately responded to emails asking for comment on the unsubstantiated, second-hand allegation that she used drugs.

According to CTV, Snowdy suggested the danger of the information being used against Guergis prompted him to contact a Conservative party lawyer.

“I was concerned about blackmail,” CTV quoted him as saying.

The lawyer contacted Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who ousted Guergis from caucus last week and asked the RCMP to investigate.

Rubel said earlier Wednesday that neither the RCMP nor the government has shed any light on the matter.

He said his client looks forward to responding as soon as someone tells her what the allegations are.

Although Harper and the government have been tight-lipped about the allegations, he made cryptic reference to them Wednesday, saying they were about the former minister’s “comportment.”

Gillani’s spokesman Brian Kilgore said Wednesday that they knew of no private investigation and were “as surprised as anyone” when they heard the CTV initial report Tuesday.

Jaffer, a former Conservative MP who was defeated in 1988, dined with Gillani last September and the two discussed a possible business relationship.

Jaffer’s company did feasibility studies for environmental technology and renewable power generation companies, and helped companies navigate bureaucratic hurdles.

Jaffer had a run-in with the law last year after he was pulled over north of Toronto and slapped with several charges including drunk driving and cocaine possession.

But the more serious charges were withdrawn last month and he pleaded guilty to careless driving and was fined $500.

Eyebrows were raised at the time and media reports this week said the Crown couldn’t proceed with the more serious charges because police strip-searched Jaffer and didn’t allow him to speak with his own lawyer.

The Ontario government didn’t confirm the details Wednesday, but Premier Dalton McGuinty suggested police had made mistakes during the arrest last September.