Julie Couillard says her tell-all memoir painting a scathing portrait of ex-boyfriend Maxime Bernier is about re-establishing her credibility, but adds she isn't surprised the former cabinet minister is calling her allegations crazy.


Julie Couillard and Maxime Bernier are seen arriving at Rideau Hall in Ottawa for the swearing-in of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's cabinet in August 2007. ((Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press))

Couillard's book, entitled My Story, depicts the Quebec Conservative MP and disgraced foreign affairs minister as a vain, superficial womanizer who frequently badmouthed Prime Minister Stephen Harper's physical appearance and "control freak" leadership style.

In an interview this week with the CBC's Evan Solomon to be aired on Sunday, Couillard said it was her editor's decision, not her own, to release her book in the middle of the Oct. 14 federal election campaign.

But she said her book is not nearly as harsh as what she experienced when Bernier failed to defend her during last spring's media frenzy over misplaced classified briefing documents.

Bernier resigned from cabinet in May only hours before Couillard described in a television interview how he had left documents for a NATO summit at her Montreal home. The two had recently ended their relationship.

During that time, Couillard was described in the media and by opposition parties as a biker chick, a stripper and a possible national security threat.

"What I wrote is a lot softer than what he let people say about me," she said.  

In the book, she describes how Bernier, who didn't own a laptop, frequently used her home computer to download and print files and turned her house into a "second office."

She said that on one instance, Bernier asked her to throw out a document because his briefcase was too full, but told her to wait until trash day because the papers were confidential.

In an interview with a local radio station in his home riding on Wednesday, Bernier dismissed Couillard's allegations as "gossipy delusions," saying his former girlfriend was only interested in increasing book sales.

"We can see she's a woman who is very angry," he said. "She's a woman who is settling her accounts."

But Couillard said she's not simply a woman scorned.

"What else is he going to say?" she said. "You expected him to say, 'Oh, yeah, well, I'm a total incompetent?"

In the book, Couillard details how Bernier was aware of her past relationship with Gilles Giguère, a well-known Montreal crime figure who was gunned down in 1996 after becoming a police informer, as well as a turbulent two-year marriage to Stéphane Sirois, who admitted to being an enforcer for the Rockers, a Hells Angels puppet club.