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Independent MP Helena Guergis speaks during Question Period on June 3, 2010. The former cabinet minister was forced to the back row of the House of Commons after being kicked off the government bench by the Tories. (Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Independent MP Helena Guergis speaks during Question Period on June 3, 2010. The former cabinet minister was forced to the back row of the House of Commons after being kicked off the government bench by the Tories. (Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

RCMP closes files on Guergis and Jaffer Add to ...

Helena Guergis and Rahim Jaffer are no longer under police investigation, but the former power couple remain on the outs within the Conservative Party of Canada.

The RCMP announced on Wednesday that it has closed its files on Ms. Guergis and Mr. Jaffer without laying charges, effectively clearing the Independent MP and her husband of allegations of criminal wrongdoing.

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Still, the development did not put an end to the questions surrounding the judgment of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who forwarded vague and unsubstantiated allegations against the pair to the Mounties in April.

Even though she was cleared, Ms. Guergis will continue sitting as an Independent MP, and she will have to wage a major fight if she wants to run for the Conservative Party in the riding of Simcoe-Grey in the next election.

"The RCMP's decision today does not affect the decision to expel Ms. Guergis from caucus," Prime Minister's Office spokeswoman Sara MacIntyre said in an interview.

The continued banishment is not playing well among some Conservatives, who feel the grassroots and not the party hierarchy should decide Ms. Guergis's fate.

"Our position has always been that she should be allowed to run and the members should make the decision," said Andy Beaudoin, the president of Simcoe-Grey's Conservative Association.

"I think at some point in the future we'll have a nomination up here. She will likely apply. And then we'll find out when she's turned down. There won't be a reason, but we'll just find out that she's been turned down."

Even some members of the opposition are siding with Ms. Guergis, a former beauty queen who was first elected as a Conservative MP in 2004.

"It appears that the Prime Minister overreacted based on the flimsiest of evidence," NDP MP Pat Martin said.

Ms. Guergis resigned as minister of state for the status of women after private investigator Derrick Snowdy passed on allegations involving Mr. Jaffer and his business partners to Conservative lawyer Arthur Hamilton, who informed the PMO.

At the time, Mr. Harper refused to provide details of the allegations, although he said they raised questions about Ms. Guergis's "comportment."

Speaking to a parliamentary committee last month, Mr. Hamilton said he was especially concerned about allegations that Mr. Jaffer, a former Conservative MP, was using his connections in Ottawa and his wife in a bid to attract clients to his new company, Green Power Generation, which seeks funds for other firms' environmental initiatives.

"Mr. Jaffer was creating an aura that he was ultimately connected with the government of Canada, and part of that shtick ... was to point to a cabinet minister who happened to be his wife," Mr. Hamilton said.

But the lawyers for Ms. Guergis and Mr. Jaffer said the RCMP closed its files without even having to verify any information with their clients.

"If anything, it speaks volumes about how unsubstantiated and insubstantial these issues were," Howard Rubel, the lawyer for Ms. Guergis, said.

The PMO explained its decision to continue its exclusion of Ms. Guergis by saying "several factors" were behind her ouster. Ms. Guergis faced a number of controversies before and after she quit cabinet, including an outburst at a PEI airport and an investigation by the Ethics Commissioner into a letter that she wrote last year to promote a company that was in discussions with Mr. Jaffer's business.

RCMP Sergeant Stéphane Turgeon confirmed that the probe into Ms. Guergis is over.

"The RCMP has concluded its file, and advised the complainant [the PMO]and Ms. Guergis privately, in writing, about the results of the investigation," he said.

Mr. Jaffer's lawyer also issued a statement after being told by the RCMP that it had "concluded its investigation concerning Mr. Jaffer."

Mr. Jaffer and Ms. Guergis refused interview requests, and Mr. Snowdy said it would be inappropriate for him to comment.

With a report from Greg McArthur in Toronto

Follow on Twitter: @danlebla

 

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