Canada

Harper's ex-chef stewing over job loss

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is being sued by a man who claims his dismissal as a Stornoway chef was "insulting, high-handed, spiteful, malicious and oppressive."

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is being sued by a man who claims his dismissal as a Stornoway chef was "insulting, high-handed, spiteful, malicious and oppressive."

Henrick Lundsgaard is seeking $250,000 for lost wages, emotional trauma and damage to his reputation, according to a statement of claim filed Friday in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

Lundsgaard began work as a chef at the Opposition leader's residence in 2001 when Stockwell Day hired him.

But after the Harpers arrived in 2002, he claims Harper's wife, Laureen, told him that his cooking would be limited to official functions and wouldn't include the family's private meals.

He alleges he took on other duties for which he was not paid, including babysitting the couple's two children, washing the family car and burying one of Harper's pet cats after it died.

Lundsgaard alleges that about one month before Harper won the Jan. 23 election, Laureen Harper led him to believe he would become the head chef at 24 Sussex Drive. Both the prime minister and his wife are named in the suit.

Lundsgaard says he received a letter on election day telling him that his services were no longer needed. He was making $57,000 a year by October 2004, the claim states.

Lundsgaard's lawyer, Richard Bossada, said attempts to settle the dispute privately had been unsuccessful.

Dimitri Soudas, a spokesman from the Prime Minister's Office, called Lundsgaard's dismissal a "staffing issue" and refused to elaborate, the Ottawa Citizen reported.