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Helena Guergis responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday. ((Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press))

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff and NDP Leader Jack Layton had some Easter weekend advice on Wednesday for the prime minister: cut Helena Guergis loose.

Both Ignatieff and Layton called on the minister of state for the status of women to either resign, or for Stephen Harper to fire her.

The latest storm around the embattled minister involves at least two staff members who wrote letters to media outlets defending or applauding Guergis without revealing their relationship to her.

The minister made headlines in late February after she launched into an angry tirade at the Charlottetown airport.

Guergis had said she had no prior knowledge of the letter writing and told at least one staff member the behaviour was inappropriate.

Ignatieff was not buying her explanation, however, He said outside the House of Commons that she had lied.

'In my book, that's lying'

"When they have somebody make up little letters, in my book, that's lying. And then pretending that you didn't really have anything to do with it, it was all the staff, that's lying a second time," said Ignatieff.

"I don't think a person like that is worthy of the confidence of Canadians. I don't think that person is worthy of remaining in the cabinet of Canada. It's that simple."

Layton said Guergis needs to realize she's not able to do her job properly.

"Perhaps the prime minister's going to have to take a look at things over the Easter break and realize he's going to have to make some changes in his administration," Layton said.

The Conservatives later circulated examples of people affiliated with the Liberals writing critical letters about the Tories to newspapers or websites without identifying their partisan allegiances.

Guergis did not directly answer questions in the Commons on Wednesday about the fact there had been more than one staff member writing letters.

"Mr. Speaker, I did answer this question (Tuesday) in the House," Guergis said.

Transport Minister John Baird eventually stepped in, urging the opposition to move on to more important matters.

Guergis keeps quiet

Guergis's office didn't respond to a question about Ignatieff's comments. Her spokesman Martin Paquet said that the two riding office employees who had written letters worked in two different cities and acted independently of both Guergis and of each other.

"She was not aware that was going on, and she's going to make sure that this stops and it's not going to happen again," said Paquet.

"She just found out, and she told them 'Don't do that any more.'"

One of those staff members, Valerie Knight, told Maclean's magazine that she didn't tell Guergis about her letter and said her boss is aware that she is a person who speaks her mind.

"I just sit here, have my coffee, get pissed off, write a letter, end of story," Knight said.