Helena Guergis resigns, RCMP steps in to investigate
The wife of former Edmonton MP Rahim Jaffer has stepped down from her position as a junior cabinet minister. Helena Guergis resigns a day after a Toronto newspaper publishes a story linking her husband to fraudsters.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper confirmed Friday afternoon that Guergis had resigned from her position. Harper says he became aware of serious allegations regarding Guergis' conduct. He says the RCMP have now moved in to investigate the allegations as a criminal matter.
"I've referred the allegations to the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner and to the RCMP. Under the circumstances, I will not comment on them further," said Harper.
Guergis' resignation comes a day after a story was published linking Jaffer to accused fraudsters, having dinners with escorts and suggesting he offered colleagues access to the prime minister.
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff feels the prime minister needs to come clean with the public and explain what the accusations are.
"This is a government that preaches accountability and transparency, well let's see a little," he said.
Guergis and Jaffer have had their share of the spotlight in recent months.
In recent weeks, Guergis was approved for a mortgage of $880,880 to purchase a home in an upscale Ottawa neighbourhood, but a Liberal MP questioned the approval and asked the ethics commissioner to get involved and investigate.
In early March, Jaffer pleaded guilty to careless driving and received a $500 fine, and no criminal record.
The 38-year-old was charged last September with cocaine possession and drunk driving after being stopped by police for speeding in Palgrave, Ont., located about 60 kilometres north of Toronto.
The charges of cocaine possession and drunk driving were dropped in the case.
Guergis plans to continue on as the MP for Simcoe-Grey. The prime minister says Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose will take over Guergis' portfolio.
With files from Scott Roberts and CTV.ca News staff