Tim Powers

The Helena Guergis challenge

Special to The Globe and Mail

CBC has a copy of the letter that the Prime Minister's Office sent to the RCMP last year concerning allegations made about Helena Guergis. In its reporting, the public broadcaster noted that the missive was obtained by Ms. Guergis herself through the access-to-information process.

On Friday, on the campaign trail, I hope journalists ask Michael Ignatieff, Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe how they would have handled Ms. Guergis's case were they given all the same variables Stephen Harper was at the time. At Harvard this would be a form of case-based learning, so Mr. Ignatieff might have a bit of an advantage. That edge aside, if elections are a test of leadership I'd like to hear what – if anything – the others might have done differently.

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While I am sure at some level they will all try and characterize the PM's decision as heavy-handed to suit their immediate political narratives, it would be fascinating to have them walk through the decision-making process they would apply if faced with identical circumstances.

Many in opposition chided Mr. Harper for not detailing the allegations the CBC has now reported on, enabled apparently by Ms. Guergis herself. He did the right thing by not making them public and never revealing them. He properly asked the police to investigate them; they did and in the process found they were without merit. Putting those allegations into the court of public opinion would have produced a show trial of ridiculous proportion and would have been fair to no one. If you want proof of that just ask Bruce Carson, whose reputation is now being carved to pieces by allegations about him that were made public through an investigation launched by APTN.

I gather Ms. Guergis will be speaking to the media on Friday. I have my own theories on why she has come forward with the response to her ATI request now, in an election campaign where she finds herself in a real fight. But as I am not her biggest fan I'll keep them private. While I am sure she'll be asked why she has decided to share this private information publicly, I'd like to see her asked what she would have done if she were playing the role of prime minister.

Let's see who takes up the Guergis challenge.

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