Bernier controversy flares with report ex-girlfriend dated member of Mafia

There are fresh concerns about national security over the Maxime Bernier affair — this time involving the Mafia.

There are fresh concerns about national security over the Maxime Bernier affair — this time involving the Mafia.

Opposition MPs grilled Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the House of Commons on Tuesday over a report that Bernier's ex-girlfriend once dated a man linked to the Mafia.

They asked if Harper was aware of the alleged Mafia connection.

Bloc MP Serge Menard cited a report in Montreal's La Presse newspaper that said Julie Couillard dated Tony Volpato in the early 1990s before her various associations with bikers.

Harper accepted the resignation of Bernier, his foreign affairs minister, last week as Couillard was going public with the fact that Bernier forgot a classified NATO briefing document at her home for several weeks.

But Harper maintains that there is no security issue and says he doesn't ask for or receive security information about private citizens.

Liberal MP Denis Coderre says it stretches credibility that neither the RCMP nor the Canadian Security Intelligence Service ever warned Harper about the potential security implications of having Canada's top diplomat dating a person with Couillard's past associations.

According to La Presse, Volpato was a close friend and confidant of Frank Cotroni, the chief of Montreal's Calabrian Mafia who died in 2004.