Helena Guergis's tumultuous time in and out of cabinet
Former Tory minister beset by controversy and legal action
Here are some of the key events in the political career of Helena Guergis, the Ontario MP who was forced to resign from the Conservative cabinet on April 9, 2010, after Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he learned of "serious allegations" against her, the details of which he refused to specify.
Her resignation came in the midst of allegations of offshore financial accounts, illegal lobbying and conflicts of interest involving Guergis and her husband, former MP Rahim Jaffer.
June 28, 2004
Guergis, a small business owner and former provincial political adviser, is elected to the House of Commons for the first time in Ontario's Simcoe-Grey riding by 100 votes. She is re-elected in the 2006 vote that brings Stephen Harper's Conservatives to power.
Jan. 4, 2007
Harper appoints Guergis as secretary of state for foreign affairs and international trade and sport. The position is essentially that of a junior minister, and Guergis does not sit in cabinet.
Oct. 17, 2007
Guergis and fellow MP Rahim Jaffer announce to the Conservative caucus that they will marry after dating for 18 months. They tie the knot a year later.
Jan. 16, 2008
Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion calls for Guergis's resignation, claiming she endangered his life by announcing his plan to visit a provincial reconstruction team in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
Dion says Guergis made a serious breach of security in a statement she released to the media about his trip.
"In publicly revealing in advance the itinerary of the delegation in Afghanistan, Ms. Guergis violated the news blackout put in place for our protection, jeopardizing the security of the Afghan and Canadian military and civilian officials who welcomed and accompanied us during our trip," Dion writes in an open letter to Harper.
Oct. 16, 2008
Jaffer officially concedes defeat to the NDP in the federal election contest in his Edmonton-Strathcona riding. Guergis is elected to her third term in Simcoe-Grey.
Oct. 30, 2008
Guergis is named minister of state for the status of women in Harper's new cabinet after the election.
Sept. 16, 2009
The Ontario Provincial Police announce that Jaffer has been charged with impaired driving and possession of cocaine after a traffic stop northwest of Toronto.
"I take this very seriously," Guergis says in a statement. "I love my husband. I will wait for further information before I make any comment."
Feb. 25, 2010
Guergis apologizes to Charlottetown Airport workers and Air Canada staff for throwing a tantrum at the airport the previous week. The move came after an anonymous letter outlining the incident was sent to Liberal MP Wayne Easter earlier in the day.
According to the letter, Guergis and an aide arrived late at Charlottetown Airport for their flight to Montreal on Feb. 19 and became verbally abusive.
During pre-boarding screening, the letter said, Guergis refused to remove her footwear, which set off the alarm as she walked through the metal detector. When asked again, she allegedly "slammed her boots into the bin provided and said, 'Happy f---king birthday to me. I guess I'm stuck in this hellhole.' "
March 9, 2010
Drunk driving and drug possession charges against Jaffer are dropped, but he pleads guilty to the lesser offence of careless driving.
Jaffer is ordered to pay a $500 fine within a month. His lawyer says he will also donate $500 to the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
March 30, 2010
Guergis says she had no idea her office assistant sent pro-Guergis letters to local newspapers posing as a regular voter.
The embattled MP tells the House that her assistant agreed that the letter campaign was inappropriate and has apologized.
The assistant used her married name, rather than the maiden name she uses in her professional life, to send letters defending Guergis â€" without any hint that they came from a Guergis employee.
March 31, 2010
Both Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff and NDP Leader Jack Layton call on Guergis to resign or for Stephen Harper to fire her.
April 6, 2010
Liberal MP Marlene Jennings writes to the federal ethics commissioner, Mary Dawson, asking her to look into reports that Guergis was given a mortgage for the full $880,000 cost of her Ottawa home.
Jennings says the reports suggest a Bank of Nova Scotia branch in Edmonton granted the mortgage without requiring a down payment.
She notes that the conflict of interest code for MPs stipulates that no MP or family member shall accept â€" directly or indirectly â€" any gift or benefit that might be perceived as an attempt to influence the MP.
April 8, 2010
Media reports emerge about Jaffer's arrest the previous September. The Prime Minister's Office dismisses Jaffer's alleged boasts to his business contacts on the night of his arrest about access to Harper's inner circle as "false" and "absurd."
April 9, 2010
Harper announces that Guergis has resigned from cabinet. Guergis will also sit outside the Conservative caucus as an independent while "serious" allegations over her conduct are investigated by the ethics and conflict of interest commissioners and the RCMP, the prime minister says.
April 12, 2010
The Conservative government defends its handling of allegations against Guergis during question period. Speaking for the government, Transport Minister John Baird would only say the allegations against Guergis came from a "third party." He would not disclose who the third party was.
April 13, 2010
News emerges that former Guergis staffers are claiming Jaffer sometimes used Guergis's parliamentary offices and car. A former employee tells CBC News it was unclear what Jaffer did at the Parliament Hill office but that he often spoke about his business, Green Power Generation.
Mary Dawson, the federal ethics commissioner, says she is not in a position to investigate Guergis, also noting that if the RCMP were to investigate, she would be required to suspend any probe that she had opened.
CBC News also reported on new details surrounding Jaffer's arrest and plea deal.
April 14, 2010
In an email to the CBC, Guergis says she intends to defend herself "to the fullest extent" against the unspecified allegations that forced her to resign from cabinet and would like to answer media questions "in due course."
April 15, 2010
Guergis's lawyer, Howard Rubel, calls allegations against the former minister "ridiculous boasts " by Nazim Gillani, a businessman with links to Jaffer.
Rubel did not reveal specifics.
But news reports said that, among other allegations, Gillani told Derrick Snowdy, a private investigator looking into the Toronto financier's business practices, that three companies had been set up in Belize to hold cash for Guergis and Jaffer.
April 16, 2010
Opposition MPs ask Canada's ethics and lobbying commissioners to launch separate probes into whether Guergis broke federal confilict-of-interest rules regarding a letter of support she wrote for a waste management company with ties to her husband.
For her part, the member for Simcoe-Grey said MPs often promote companies in their constituencies.
April 18, 2010
Tracked down by the CBC in the Bahamas, Snowdy said the allegations concerning Guergis and Jaffer were incidental to his investigation of Nazim Gillani and that "there was no complaint against them."
April 24, 2010
Guergis attends a Conservative party riding meeting in Simcoe-Grey. "It went very well," she said as she left the meeting, which was closed to the public and media. "I had an opportunity to see my many supporters."
April 29, 2010
Documents obtained by CBC News reveal that Jaffer used one of his wifeâ€™s parliamentary email accounts to communicate with at least two ministries about business on behalf of his friends and private companies.
May 6, 2010
Guergis says she will appeal the Conservative Party's decision to drop her as a future nominee in Simcoe-Grey.
May 11, 2010
Guergis breaks her silence, telling the CBC in an exclusive interview that a month after her highly publicized ouster from the Conservative caucus she still doesn't know anything about the "serious allegations" that prompted her dismissal.
May 12, 2010
Derrick Snowdy, the Toronto-based private investigator involved in the Guergis-Jaffer affair, says he had no incriminating evidence concerning Guergis. Snowdy made the statement during testimony before the House of Commons government operations committee in Ottawa.
May 26, 2010
Guergis will never be readmitted to the Tory caucus, the party says. A senior government source tells CBC News that the matter "is behind us."
June 3, 2010
Guergis uses the last question of question period to demand that Harper table in the House of Commons his chief of staff's letter spelling out the allegations against her.
June 16, 2010
Jaffer discloses Guergis is pregnant in a letter explaining his absence from a parliamentary committee looking into illegal lobbying allegations against him. Jaffer wrote in a letter to the government operations committee that he regrets defying a parliamentary summons to appear before MPs in Ottawa but had to be at his wife's side as she underwent medical tests.
The federal ethics commissioner says she is looking into Natural Resources Minister Christian Paradis's alleged dealings with Jaffer.
July 21, 2010
The RCMP ends its inquiries into Guergis and Jaffer, concluding there's no evidence of criminal wrongdoing against either of them.
July 22, 2010
Fraud charges against Nazim Gillani, the Toronto businessman at the centre of illegal lobbying allegations against Jaffer, are set aside in a Newmarket, Ont., court.
Guergis is called to a closed-door meeting on Parliament Hill with Conservative Senator Marjory LeBreton and Tory party lawyers Laurie Livingstone and Arthur Hamilton. Accompanying Guergis are Conservative MP Lee Richardson, a caucus friend, and former Simcoe-Grey riding president Andy Beaudoin.
March 16, 2011
Documents obtained by the CBC confirm that the October 2010 meeting took place. The documents indicate that Hamilton told Guergis at the time that he was representing the prime minister and would be asking a series of questions to help in "evaluating the possibility of a return to caucus."
Guergis said in an interview that she had sent a letter to caucus members spelling out her intent to run as an independent in the next election against the Conservative candidate in her riding.
April 14, 2011
CBC News learns that the "serious allegations" Prime Minister Stephen Harper referred to last year in connection with Guergis included unsubstantiated claims of fraud, extortion and involvement with prostitutes.
May 2, 2011
Guergis, running as an independent, loses her bid for re-election in her Simcoe-Grey riding to Conservative candidate Kellie Leitch.
The Canadian Human Rights Commission concludes Guergis's removal from cabinet and caucus in April 2010 were not matters for a court of law.
Dec. 22, 2011
Guergis files a lawsuit in Ontario court against Harper, the Conservative Party and its lawyer, private investigator Derrick Snowdy, Labour Minister Lisa Raitt, MP Shelly Glover and other Conservative officials and staff. The suit alleges conspiracy, defamation, misfeasance in public office, negligence and infliction of mental suffering and seeks total damages of $1.3 million.
May 11, 2012
Harper files a motion to dismiss Guergis's lawsuit, calling it "frivolous." The motion, and another one by Guy Giorno, is filed on behalf of several other defendants. The motions cite the Human Rights Commission ruling from November.
Derrick Snowdy files a statement of defence against the Guergis lawsuit, including more allegations against her husband Rahim Jaffer. Those allegations have not been tested or proven in court.
July 18-20, 2012
An Ontario court hears arguments on the motions to strike Guergis's claim.