Saturday, April 10, 2010

Pride Goes Before A Fall

The original title of this post was "Ding dong, the witch is dead" but that seems a tad uncharitable, so I decided against it. Nonetheless...Helena Guergis, MP for the riding where I grew up, has resigned from her minor cabinet post, and been turfed from the Conservative caucus by the PM. He has also brought in the RCMP and the Conflict of Interest commissioner to investigate what he has called "serious allegations" against the "Honourable" Ms. Guergis. (It was especially awesome when he didn't bother to pronounce her name correctly.)

Helena has been in the news very frequently lately, what with her spectacular temper tantrum in the Charlottetown airport, the (unwarranted?) dismissal of DUI/cocaine possession charges against her husband*, and the fawning letters to the editor in her defense that turned out to be from people on her staff. It is presently unknown what the new allegations are (or even if they are new) but it's speculated that it might have something to do with either the circumstances of her mortgage on an $880 000 house in Ottawa, or with the strange behaviour of her husband (a former MP who was still using the Conservative party's logo on his business cards and website up until two days ago).

This is interesting for lots of reasons. First, the PM is pissed.** So pissed, in fact, that he actually voluntarily held a press conference, made a statement, and took questions from reporters--a surprising move given how tight lipped he is about everything else that goes in his government. This break from the usual cloak and dagger routine tells me that the allegations are very, very serious. Even more interestingly, the Conservative MPP for the adjacent riding, Garfield Dunlop,*** gave an interview this morning where he said that on Monday the opposition would be calling for the RCMP to tell the public exactly what the allegations were against Helena, and that they would be right to do so; that the public deserves to know what is going on in this situation.

Since I no longer live or vote in this riding, my interactions with Ms. Guergis have been fairly limited; she has shown up occasionally at local events like the Fall Fair and the Maple Syrup Festival, particularly in campaign years. The impression I have of her, from these public viewings, is one of arrogance and entitlement. Her whole family is actively involved in local politics (her cousin is the mayor, for example), and it will be interesting to see how their political fortunes fare in the next few years in relation to this. (It'll also be interesting to see if the pundits are right in predicting that Helena will hang on to her seat until she becomes eligible for her pension in June, and then resign as soon as she's guaranteed that sweet government money.)

*My dad has posited the theory that the charges were actually dismissed because Jaffar has turned informant.

**And he should be. He doesn't have a lot of women in his party to begin with, so it's not like he can afford to lose one--to say nothing of the fact that accountability and transparency has been the supposed cornerstone of his time in office. (Yes, I know this is debatable. Don't debate it with me.) He has also cut her a lot of slack in the past few months, and she's apparently taken that slack and tried to hang herself with it. I'd be mad too!

***This seems quite damning to me. Garfield is an acquaintance of my father's, and he is a stand up guy--he would not say things like this lightly.

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