She is the most talked about woman in Canadian politics.  Peter Mansbridge's exclusive interview with Helena Guergis.  You have heard the accusations, now get the answers.

We want you to weigh in.  Do you believe Helena Guergis?  Do you think she has been treated unfairly - undemocratically - as she says she has?  

Tell us what you think by posting a comment to this page.

Read the transcript of the full interview with Helena Guergis

PM: Peter Mansbridge

HG: Helena Guergis

 

PM: I want to go over a number of things

 

HG: Yes. I suppose you do.

 

PM: Let me start with April 9th. A month and a day ago. You’re in the Caribbean with your husband and the phone rings.

 

HG: I'm in the Dominican with my husband, we’re I'm trying to have a vacation, which the entire week was just a constant barrage of media and the Toronto Star putting out the Crazy article that they did, attacks on my mortgage. Just prior to leaving and during that, I was constantly on the phone back home, meeting with the party lawyer, helping me go through that process with the Ethics Commissioner. So it's April 9 and I get a pin that the Prime Minister wants to speak with me.  So I call in to talk to him, and I sit and wait for him to come on the phone and he comes on the phone, and he tells me that he, um, has received information the night before:

Some serious allegations, um, of very, uh of criminal behavior...he said he had...

 

PM: He used those word: criminal behaviour?

 

HG: Yes he did. That he had, from a credible source, that he was going to be turning over documents to the RCMP and to the Ethics Commissioner and that he wants to remove me from Cabinet and from Caucus and he would like, you know, to make this announcement in the afternoon. And I just sat kind of silent, which probably feels like a longer to me than it really was.

I know that I got very, I was very emotional and, and I know was crying at one point because I was in shock

 

PM:  This is while you were on the phone with him?

 

HG: That's correct. And I just kept saying, well what have I done, can you please tell me exactly what have I done, so that I can, I can address this, I don't understand what you are talking about.

What are you talking about? Right...like…what are you talking about? Like I understand that things have been difficult, you know, in the media for the last little while, for you know lots of reasons, but I believe it's all been blown up out of proportion and you know that when you look at the truth that it's not to that extent, I don't understand what you're talking about.

 

PM: And what did he say to that?

 

HG: He said, just, well I have this information that I have been given and they're very serious allegations. And I said well can you please tell me, and he said, well maybe you can speak to the party lawyer, and he said that once I do this this afternoon you can speak to the party lawyer and he can give you more details and so I said, ok and we got off the phone…

 

PM: How long would that conversation have lasted do you think?

 

HG: I don't know, I didn’t…I can probably find out on my phone, I can look…maybe 5 minutes…

 

PM: But are we talking…

 

HG: 5 Minutes

 

PM: About 5 minutes…

 

HG: Maybe…probably not even 5 minutes.

 

PM: And you kept asking, what were the charges.

 

HG: What did I do? What are you talking about? And he said to talk to the lawyer in the afternoon.

Well I wasn't very patient, and so I picked up the phone and I had him on the phone within 30 seconds. And he seemed to not know what I was talking about.  And asked if he could call me back. And 20 minutes later he sent me an email and said he had the information now, could I call him. I understand now that he was in on that meeting on the Thursday night, that’s at least what the media has reported, I’m not sure if that’s accurate.

 

PM: In on the meeting with the person who was making the allegations.

 

HG: Yeah, yeah. So I said, what's going on, Arthur, like what's happening…like the Prime Minister has told me to talk to you, he has removed me from caucus and I'm no longer a cabinet minister. What's happening? And he said, he’d call me back so I got on the phone with him and he started to talk and he said there are very serious allegations. He did not give me one specific detailed allegation at all, through the whole conversation. We were also finalizing a conversation on the mortgage issue that he was helping me with in this phone call and the Ethics Commissioner so some of the conversation finished that off

 

PM: But when you say he didn’t give you any specific information

 

HG: He did not

 

PM: Did he give you any general information?

 

HG: He did. He said something about drugs and Rahim and drugs and that I might be involved.

He discussed the Toronto Star article and asked...

 

PM: From the day pervious

 

HG: Yeah, and asked me if I had, well maybe you've been out to dinner and I went no, and I didn't even remember at that point that I had gone out to dinner with the gentleman or the guy they had talked about in the Toronto Star article.

 

PM: Gillani.

 

HG: Yeah, it completely slipped my mind, that, was you know, I had lunch with another business colleague it was a very nice man with a nice reputation, I said, I had a lunch, that's the only thing I recall. And I didn't get anything else, I didn't. So I kept asking and kept asking and at the end of the conversation, I said the Prime Minister said that he was turning over documents to the RCMP

And to the Ethics Commissioner, can I please have a copy of those. And the lawyer said to me

Well I think they've already been turned over…And then after we got off the phone he followed up with an email saying that no documents had be turned over the RCMP or to the Ethics Commissioner. So I was just left sitting and waiting to find out what information I would be given. As soon as I possibly could, I can’t remember if it was that day or the next morning, I can't remember exactly, I called the RCMP and I called the Ethics Commissioner. I said to the Ethics Commissioners on the message and to the person who answered the phone, I'm here, I'm an open book, whatever you want, whatever you need from me I’m happy to be there for you. Please let’s try to go through this process as quickly as we can, whatever you need from me. I called the RCMP I got two people in the phone. The first person of course was just someone who answered the phone. The second person identified and had asked are you the woman who resigned. And I said, yes it is me. I'm calling to tell you I'm an open book If you need anything from me, anything, bank accounts, anything you want to look at of mine, it’s all yours. I'm here please let's just go through the process. I still didn't speak to the officer in charge. I got a lawyer, and then my lawyer in fact did get in contact with the investigator and the officer in charge, said the exact same thing, and offers this on a regular basis and (shakes head)

 

PM: As of yet, you still haven’t talked to the RCMP?

 

HG: I have not heard from them, no.

 

PM: Let me back you up a bit. When you’re talking to the lawyer he mentions something about drugs.

 

HG: Yes

 

PM: And your husband, Rahim Jaffer

 

HG: Yes

 

PM: What did you say to that, what did you say to him?

 

HG: I said what are you talking about. You're going to have to be specific. You know that charges were withdrawn. So what are you talking about?

 

PM: And he said?

 

HG: That's all I can say. There seems to be a very salacious part to some of these allegations; salacious, he used that word. Salacious.

 

PM: He used that word

 

HG: Yeah.

 

PM: But he wouldn’t describe what it was?

 

HG: No. (shakes head)

 

PM: Now you know what the Private Investigator was apparently at the root of these allegations has said.

 

HG: Yes, I do.

 

PM: That both you and your husband were at an evening where there were prostitutes and people using cocaine.

 

HG: Which is absolutely false, never.

 

PM: Never happened.

 

HG: Never happened. Never would happen. Can you imagine sitting and watching TV when that comes across on the news hour at 11 o'clock at night, you know. Watching that happen. I was just in shock. There's been a lot of horrible things said about me...

 

PM: Your husband when he testified at the House of Commons committee, he made a point, unprompted of saying he had never used drugs..

 

HG: Yeah

 

PM: …illegal drugs…

 

HG: Yeah…

 

PM: In his life, can you say that?

 

HG: Yes I can say that. Absolutely I can say that

 

PM: Never.

 

HG: Never

 

PM: In any way experimenting?

 

HG: No, no.

 

PM: No way?

 

HG: As a young girl, when I was 14 someone tried to offer me marijuana and I remember trying to smoke it but I coughed and I got nothing out of it but no, I don't use drugs, drugs are not a part of my life.

 

PM: Where do you think this story comes from because you've probably heard this has been mentioned around, around this town – Ottawa - for more than just the last few weeks, that it's been talked about for the last year

 

HG: I don't know, I don’t know, because my husband has always claimed he was innocent from the very beginning and knew nothing about any drugs. He said that from the very beginning and I believe him.

 

PM: Did he ever say anything to you about how cocaine was found in his jacket?

 

HG: He has no idea. He has no idea.

 

PM: The other issue that the private investigator, Snowdy, has mentioned was an issue of off shore accounts in your ownership of land, ownership of a company, bank accounts, specifically mentioning the country of Belize. What do you know about any of that?

 

HG: Not true, I found it laughable when I heard about that and I still would probably still be laughing if I wasn't in this position. I’ve been to Belize once and it was on official government business. Don't have bank accounts, I don’t own property and I have no interests. I've never been back to Belize.

 

PM: How about anywhere else? Any other…Do you have any offshore accounts of any kind?

 

HG: No. I do not. No, I do not.

 

PM: Are you aware if your husband has any?

 

HG: My husband does not. He does not have any accounts. Nothing like that

 

PM:  A lot of people are puzzled as to, as I’m sure you are, as to why all of this is happening to you.

 

HG: Yeah.

 

PM: I mean we all know that you had a rough period leading up to April 9, starting with last year.

 

HG: Yeah.

 

PM: The charges against your husband that were later reduced, the issue at the Charlottetown airport, the issue of letters being written by staff members of yours defending you, the questions surrounding your mortgage which was the total of your house, the full mortgage, and then these stories that start to circulate. Through all that time, before April 9, did you have any conversations with the Prime Minister or any of his officials about what was happening to you?

 

HG: I had one meeting after everything that happened to Rahim, and he did have some of his staff in the meeting. And…

 

PM: This would have been last Fall?

 

HG: Yeah, I just clarified for them that, you know, this is not my issue, and they agreed although I will say that since that time I feel as thought I have been distant, I have been isolated and pushed off, ever since that had happened to Rahim

 

PM: By the Prime Minister's Office?

 

HG: Uh hm.

 

PM: What would happen in cabinet? Would he talk to you?

 

HG: Well I don’t sit at the cabinet table.

 

PM: As Junior Minister, you don’t.

 

HG: No I sit at Cabinet Committee, which seems to be on average about once every other week.

 

PM: So you had no conversations with him since last Fall.

 

HG: No, no

 

PM: After all these events, the Charlottetown airport thing that got a lot of play.

 

HG: No not directly with him. He when you're in QP practice you see him you go over those, but maybe two or three short conversation about the question or the issue

 

PM: With him directly?

 

HG: With all colleagues around the table. And he did approach me once in the house, to say, you know, that he had similar, a lot of people write bad things about him in the past, and just be strong, and this too shall pass.

 

PM: It was a week before, or ten days before the resignation that he stood up in the house and said good things about your work.

 

HG: That’s right. He has, he has acknowledged that I have done a good job and I really appreciate the opportunity to have served in cabinet, to be a member of parliament because I have done a good job within my riding, my community knows how hard I’ve worked for them. And even the stakeholders that I had as minister of state, there are two international awards that I had received for the work that I had done. So I work very hard and I’m very committed to my job.

 

PM: Do you think he had any other choice than to ask you to resign when those allegations, whatever they were and here a month and a day you still don't know, do you think he had any other choice but to…

 

HG: That's really hard to answer that question because I don't know what he was presented with.

If I knew what he was presented with, if could see it, if I could have it, if I could be told then I might be able to answer for you, but I don't know. So I have no idea how to answer that,

I'm a compassionate person. I know that I believe in due process and that I would probably give someone the opportunity to prove themselves and clear their name, because that’s who I am and that’s what I thought he represented as well. But I really don’t know. Because I don’t know what he was faced with.

 

PM: Do you think you've been given the opportunity to clear your name?

 

HG: No I do not. Not at all, in any way. I don't even know what the allegations are and if it's what is in the media, all the rumors and gossip, it's not true. And a lot of it has been proven as not being true. So what is it exactly? Just put it on the table; let me see it, let me defend myself, give me the opportunity to stand up for myself.

 

PM: Have you made any attempt to talk to him again since that day?

 

HG: I did. Again that day I called back to try to get him on the phone and he wouldn't come to the phone.

 

PM: Have any of your Cabinet colleagues, former Cabinet colleagues, have they talked to you?

 

HG: Yeah. I have received notes, from a lot of colleagues, emails. So I have received encouraging notes from a lot of them.

 

PM:  Supportive of your position.

 

HG: Yes.

 

PM: Willing to fight for you?

 

HG: Wanting me to have the opportunity to clear my name, to speak, to address the situation to caucus colleagues. To have a voice, it's not right to just cut out without having a voice.

 

PM: He told you in that initial conversation that you'd be out of caucus as well?

 

HG: Yes he did. He did

 

PM: What was the bigger hurt? Losing the Cabinet job? Or losing the Caucus job?

 

HG: Caucus, and hearing that I had done something that the RCMP needed to be called in for.

 

PM: Let's talk a little bit about the issue that has surrounded your husband in the parliamentary committee examination of his activities. Because they touch on you in terms of what he's alleged to have been doing, whether or not he was lobbying. I assume that you have either watched or read what's been happened in those hearings.

 

HG: Yeah, yes. I have.

 

PM: Do you think Rahim Jaffer was lobbying?

 

HG: No I don’t. I do not.

 

PM: Well what was he doing?

 

HG: he promised me that he would never do that and cause a conflict for me. What he was doing, was trying to discover what role he would play in his job. I don't know his business, because I haven't taken the time, I haven’t really had the time to fully understand what his business is. I know he works on green technologies. I know he knows a lot of people, I know they were making a decision as to what technologies they wanted to proceed with and where. That's really all I know about his business, but he promised me and he assured me that he wouldn’t. But what I found really interesting was is that that week when they did that committee Every one was sure what lobbying was and what the definition was and that for sure he’d done it. And then two weeks later when there was a Liberal MP being questioned, the headlines is, well, what exactly is the definition of lobbying, we’re not 100 percent sure as to what that is. So I found that interesting. But basically what I’ve said is that the Lobbyist Commissioner has been asked to look at it. Whatever the Commissioner decides will be adhered to and it will be respected. So I am going to wait to hear what the Lobbyist Commissioner has to say about the whole situation.

 

PM: But In hindsight, given what you know now, do you think you probably should have, as a Minister of the Crown, paid more attention to what Rahim Jaffer was doing?

 

HG: I have reason to believe my husband would lie to me, my husband would not want to hurt me or harm me in any way so why would I not trust him and why would I not believe in him.

 

PM: Was it wrong to allow him to use your office?

 

HG: He didn’t use my office for anything work related. After the last election we had no home, we had to be out of that location in two weeks because we’d sold it, we had no place to go. He had to close down both of his offices, the one in Edmonton and the one on the Hill he had to out in two weeks. He asked if he could move some of his stuff, which was moved by parliamentary officials over to mine. He used that space to go thru 12 years of what he had of MP files, so confidential information about constituents, what did he want to save, etc. That ’s all that space was for, that’s it, that’s all.

 

PM:  No meetings in relation to his new work,

 

HG: No, no, no

 

PM: No meetings with other ministers or ministerial staff?

 

HG: No, no, my husband has no reason to lie to me and he would not harm me. That space was for him to go thru his MP things and that’s it. He’s been a member for 12 years. He knows what he can and cannot do and he’ s not going to be foolish enough or disrespectful enough to use taxpayers’ money for his own personal business. He had his own office, he has his own emails, he has his own accounts, he doesn’t need it. He doesn’t need it.

 

PM: How about contact with other Ministers. It’s clear that your husband talked with other Ministers and ministerial stuff somewhere…

 

HG: I don’t think it’s clear and I think you would have to ask him to give you more specific details on that. You would have to.

 

PM: Did anybody at all in the last year come to you and say you know what we got to be careful here. Rahim has a business and we’ve got to ensure that there is no conflict between what he’s doing and the actions of the Government.

 

HG: no, no. I had no conversations with any colleagues about Rahim and what work he was doing. None. There was no reason for me to have any.

 

PM:  No officials from the Prime Ministers office…or any office…

 

HG: No

 

PM: …coming to say there are issues here…

 

HG: No. Nothing

 

PM: Or potential issues?

 

HG: No. Nothing.

 

PM: Did the two of you talk about the possibilities…

 

HG: From the very beginning at the very beginning when I became a Minister of State again and he had a conversation with the Prime Minister, ten days after his loss, right around there, that’s when we said, he will not do anything, anything at all to cause any conflict for me. He’s not interested in lobbying or doing any government work whatsoever and he was going to go off and start a business with Patrick and that’s it. And he promised me and he assured me.

 

PM: Patrick Glémaud

 

HG:  Yeah.

 

PM: You wrote a letter of explanation a short time ago about a letter you written on behalf of the constituents that you felt should be looked at with some interest

 

HG: That’s right.

 

PM: In terms of the work that that person was doing in terms of green projects.

 

HG: As I have done with other constituents.

 

PM: Upon reflection, given the nature of the potential relationship with that person and your husbands company, do you think that was a mistake?

 

HG: Now when I look at it I wish I hadn’t written the letter but at the time, I assured myself, by asking my husband, very clearly, he answered me with no, that there was nothing to worry about, nothing whatsoever. So I wrote the letter, I was very public about the letter. It was to the warden and all council to ask them to just receive a presentation about this. I’m not if you’re familiar, but in my riding we have a landfill issue which actually a lot of MPS do have and there was a site, site 41, that’s been going on for about 24 years and when I became the MP, it’s just on the edge of my riding and there’s a number of my constituents who are very oppose d to it as I have always been opposed to it. So I wrote a number of letters against this landfill site. I have got a stack of paper and paperwork that I’ve done to try to help this issue to find a federal trigger to deal with this landfill issue. So my constituents are demanding and have been for some time that I play a role and do something to help. So when he had explained to me, he being Mr. Wright, he had a possible alternative, I said you’re asking me to forward it, let me look into it to see if I can, and it sounds like it might be something that could be helpful. So I wrote a letter, very openly to council, I actually did an open letter to the editor, to the Green party candidate as well that was printed in the newspaper where it was highlighted that I had done this very above board, very open…

 

 

PM: Did you know at that point that there was a connection…

 

HG: No, no, I was told that there was no connection. I asked my husband, I even spoke with Mr. Wright. They assured there was not going to be any business relation between the two of them going forward. As I look at it now, there was clearly a miscommunication between the Rahim and Patrick in my mind that they should have been communicating, but I assured myself and I would never have written it that they didn’t firmly believe that it was ok and that there was no issue and no conflict whatsoever. I even said it in a public forum that I had done this with people…he’s my cousin, the warden was my cousin. I could have done something in a more informal manner if I wasn’t being above board.

 

 

PM: What…what’s your knowledge of Mr. Gillani?

 

HG: I don’t know much about him except for what’s been written in the papers, and even that I wouldn’t be able to give you specific detail. I met him once at that dinner.

 

PM: And what happened at that dinner?

 

HG: Well they were late, I remember that, and we

 

PM: They being…

 

HG: Gillani, Mr.…

 

PM: Gillani

 

HG: And his girlfriend and the other couple and we sat at the bar for about an hour before they got there and then when they got there we went and had dinner and it lasted a couple of hours and then we went home (shrugs)

 

PM: You don’t…was there anything in the conversation that…

 

HG: Nothing. It was light and fluffy if I could put it that way with the exception of his partner whose name is Mike and his wife, who is a lovely lady, she was five months pregnant, and she’s an aboriginal woman and she and I did talk about aboriginal women and the violent situations that they’re dealing with and the missing and murdered aboriginal women briefly we talked about that.

 

PM: So that’s the moment you remember most about that evening?

 

HG: yeah, I went back and thought about it because I had completely forgot about it and when I think about that’s the moment that I remember about that evening.

 

PM: But you were never any other evenings…

 

HG: Nothing, nothing

 

PM: …that you remember with him…

 

HG: Nothing, nothing at all. Zero. A big zero.

 

PM: What’s going on here?

 

HG: I don’t know.

 

PM: Was somebody out to get you?

 

HG: Sometimes it feels like that. Like it’s just a never-ending pile-on of things being blown-up to be what they’re really not. And I don’t know. I mean I have questions about the private investigator…I have questions, serious questions. Like who is he, where did he come from and who was he investigating and why? And who is going to be held accountable at some point for saying all of these awful and terrible things that have been said about me? It’s been devastating for myself and for my family. I have three other members of my family who are elected and we’re in our fifth decade of public service, it’s a long politically active family for years and this is not, it’s not easy on them either, it’s very difficult.

 

PM: Do you feel abandoned by your party?

 

HG: Um, I wouldn’t say by all of them. I feel as though they’ve thrown the rulebooks out the window, that they’re not respecting due process at all. I find it very undemocratic, um, I’m hurt by the Prime Minister. I am hurt because I did consider him to be a friend as well, so I find that very hard to deal with.

 

PM: there’s some who suggested that he had no choice but to act given these serious allegations that he described and that have been described by the person who fed them to the government, the two areas we’ve talked about, that there was a possibility of blackmail and that he had to act, when he did and allow the air to be cleared in some manner, either by the RCMP or the ethics commissioner, that he had to act.

 

HG: And I was going to respect that process and I was being quiet, being patient, and respecting that process and waiting for the RCMP to call, waiting for something. But when all of a sudden they make the decision to say I can’t be the candidate, that’s when, you’re going too far. That’s not the party then that represents due process, the presumption of innocence, the rule of law, democracy. That’s undemocratic. I have not had an opportunity to defend myself. What is it that I’m supposed to be charged with? I feel as though I have been charged, I feel as though I’ve gone through a trial, I have been convicted and now I’m been sentenced. And I still don ’t know what it is I’m supposed to have done. Now if he doesn’t like my husband, which I think is pretty clear, that shouldn’t damage my working relationship, especially in light of the fact that I have done a good job. I have worked very hard and I have done a good job.

 

PM: Why do you think he doesn’t like…I assume you’re talking about the prime minister

 

HG: Uh hm.

 

PM: Why do you think he doesn’t like your husband

 

HG: You’d have to ask him.

 

PM: But you obviously think he doesn’t.

 

HG: Well judging from everything that’s going on, I would say he doesn’t. And there have always been kind of rumor circulating around that they didn’t really get along and didn’t really like each other as individuals.

 

PM: Now you don’t like rumours.

 

HG: I don’t, I don’t like rumours.

 

PM: But you’re falling back on those rumors…

 

HG: well I don’t what else to say as to what it is. I don’t know. My husband has always spoken of him in a respectful manner…the Prime Minister and caucus, after Rahim had lost, he said one thing that I didn’t think was very complimentary of Rahim and at that point I felt was not a very nice thing to say.

 

PM: This was in front of you?

 

HG: Yes

 

PM: What did he say?

 

HG: I don’t remember it exactly, but it wasn’t a very nice thing to say.

 

PM: Some people feel that this is a reflection upon how women are seen within your party or this government

 

HG: Yeah

 

PM: Do you think, if you were a male you’d be in the position you are in today?

 

HG: it’s tough to answer that right. I’ve been an advocate for women’s issues my whole life. I see that to some extent there seems to be double standard other colleagues having incidents at the airport, having two days of questions in the house or media and mine going on for five weeks, plus, I see other colleagues in caucus who are having trouble with the law but they are afforded an opportunity to stay in caucus. I know in the past that there have been members of parliament whose spouses have had very public indiscretions and they have not been held accountable for anything their spouses may or may not have done. And I feel as though maybe I am, and I don’t understand the reasons behind that, but will I go as far as to say that there’s a difference because of my gender, I don’t know if I’m prepared to do that at this stage, I’d have to see how things play out. But I do see that there is a difference between how I’ve been treated and how many others have been treated.

 

PM: What is your…aside from trying to protect and defend your name

 

HG: Yeah

 

PM: What is your immediate plan. The party says it wants a different candidate. Doesn’t want you.

 

HG: Well I have appealed the process. I’m not sure how far that will get me. But I have appealed and in my appeal letter I’ve asked if they could please explain the first process where the executive was able to reach this conclusion. What information did you have in front of you, why did you make this decision if you could please just explain that process for me in order for me to participate in an appeal and why have I not been able to be a part of that process to sit in front of you to answer question from you, whose making that decision and will it be the same people who will hear the appeal as those who’ve made the original decision. I…I should be afforded that opportunity in my mind to be able to answer questions and hear what the allegations are.

 

PM: It’s seems like wherever you turn, trying to understand why people have something against you.

 

HG: yeah

 

PM: You can’t get any answers, no answers

 

HG: I can’t. I don’t know.

 

PM: will you run again?

 

HG: I’m not ready to give up my political career. It’s only been six years, I was political staff for 8 and a half for the vice president for the PC party of Ontario. I’ve been around it my whole life. I’ve been raised in politics; I like it. I love my country I want to be able to serve my country and serve my constituents, if I’ve done something wrong then I will suffer consequences, but tell me what I’ve done and then I’ll move on if its something that I’ve done and that it’s proven that I’ve done something wrong, then I will go away. But I haven’t done anything and I deserve the opportunity to know what it is I have done.

 

PM: you know, for somebody who has been around politics most of your life, either directly or indirectly because of your family

 

HG: Yes

 

PM:  You’re not naïve about politics.

 

HG: I know, I am shocked, I have never seen anything like this, at all. Ever. And when I speak to colleagues and friends, they’ve never anything like this either, nothing at all like it. They don’t know what’s going on and they don’t understand it.

 

PM: Do you think there’s a possibility though that you have been somewhat naïve?

 

HG: I guess there could be yeah. I have been so caught up in work, in working very hard, and just focused. I don’t go out, I’m not a social person, so I work, I go home, I just kind of been stuck in my work and some personal things that had been going on that had probably been kind of distracting.

 

PM: Do you want to talk about that?

 

HG: Not really, no.

 

PM: Some people have suggested that as a Minister there were times when you were a bit of a diva.

 

HG: No, that’s not who I am. That’s not my personality at all. But that wouldn’t be the first time I ’ve heard that. People underestimate me and when they first meet me they seem to have an idea that I’m something, that turns out to be, and they’ve often approached my afterwards and said, so very often, I’ve heard this my whole life, you are not at all what I thought you were. You are nothing like what I expected you would be, at all. And I’m a very down to earth person, I’m a very personable person, I’m open and certainly that would not be something that I’ve ever described myself with, and anyone who knows me would ever use that word to describe my in any way.

 

PM: You’ve been very open and forthcoming in this and I appreciate that. Is there anything else you want to say?

 

HG: Yeah there’s probably a lot of things but I’ll bite my tongue maybe sometimes. I would say that I know with my husband there are some people who are very upset with him, even back home in the community they’re not sure what to think at this point. And I guess I would say, even some so-called experts have reached out to tell me if you want to save your political career Helena, it seems that it’s your husband, maybe you need to lose your husband and that’s not something of course I could ever do. If people in your family make mistakes you don’t turn your back on them (pauses – gets emotional) Sorry. You stick with them and you work through it and I am committed to my marriage and we will make it through this and we will work it out. But I come from a Christian family and a Christian community and you don’t hold other people responsible for someone else’s actions and you don’t turn your back on people and your loved ones if you make a mistake. You work with them on that.

 

PM: You think you’ve had your…that…that backs have been turned on you by those who you’ve worked with over these last few years?

 

HG: I think with some of them yes, I do. I think if I could do one thing different over this six years, as I said, I’m not social, I don’t go out, I’m kind of a homebody and I keep to myself a lot. And I know most people are considered extroverts when they’re in politics but I’m very much the opposite…

 

PM: You’re not a party girl?

 

HG: No, I don’t go out and I wish I maybe had socialized a little more and had an opportunity to get to know my colleagues a bit better on a more social level, but I just didn’t do that and I don’t go out and didn’ t get to be able to know what I think are a lot of really great people in that house.

 

PM: you talked about your husband having made mistakes, he’s conceded that he obviously made a mistake on the night of September 10th.

 

HG: Yeah.

 

PM: When he was driving. Do you think he’s made other mistakes in the period since he’s left active politics?

 

HG: Um, I don’t know. I don’t think so. I’ll wait to see if he has and then we’ll deal with them as we go. But I know that he would not intentionally try to hurt me in any way. I know he wouldn’t. What benefit of that would be to him.

 

PM: When you hear somebody who was a friend of his in the House of Commons from the other side of the floor, the NDP’s Pat Martin saying in committee, on the record, that, your husband, quote, lied his ass off, end quote.

 

HG: No I don’t believe he has at all. I think in his business, Patrick probably did more than Rahim did and he could have paid a little bit closer attention to the things Patrick was doing, I think he could have done that, but I guess in his defense he was dealing with other personal issues at the time, that’s really all I could say about that.

 

PM: You mean the court case.

 

HG: Yeah. Yeah. And dealing with a loss, I mean I know lots of members of parliament who have served as long as he has it’s well document. It’s a very difficult transition to go through. Extremely difficult, It’s not easy and we’ve had some challenges dealing with that as well.

 

PM: And now you’re both dealing…

 

HG: Yeah…

 

PM: …with loss.

 

HG: Yeah. Absolutely.

 

PM: If it turns out that there was nothing to any of this

 

HG: which I firmly believe that it will. I firmly believe that there’s nothing, nothing whatsoever.

 

PM: Well if it turns out that way, can you forgive?

 

HG: I am a very forgiving person. I am. My sister says sometimes to a fault, but I am. Absolutely.

 

PM: well I guess we’ll see what happens.

 

HG: I guess we will.

 

PM: Thank you for doing this. I know it hasn’t been easy.

 

HG: No it hasn’t. Thank you for the opportunity. I appreciate it. Thanks.