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The Globe and Mail

PM had scant evidence against Helena Guergis, documents show

Helena Guergis, minister of state for status of women, arrives at a committee meeting after Question Period on Monday, March 15, 2010.

Sean Kilpatrick

New documents suggest Prime Minister Stephen Harper had little evidence of wrongdoing when he decided to turf Helena Guergis from cabinet and the Conservative caucus.

Indeed, Ms. Guergis is mentioned only once - and then not even by name - in 36 pages of documents that private investigator Derrick Snowdy gave to the RCMP last spring.

The documents were tabled with the Commons government operations committee earlier this week.

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They include some references to Ms. Guergis's husband, former Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer, including a notorious email in which controversial Toronto venture capitalist Nazim Gillani boasted that Mr. Jaffer "has opened up the prime minister's office to us."

But the only mention of Ms. Guergis herself comes in a text message from Mr. Gillani, advising an associate that he was "with Rahim and his wife."

Mr. Harper cited "serious allegations" as the reason he decided last April to dump Ms. Guergis from cabinet and turn the matter over the RCMP - a move that came one day after Mr. Snowdy met Conservative party lawyer Arthur Hamilton.

The Mounties have since found no reason to investigate the matter further, as has the parliamentary ethics watchdog.

Nevertheless, Ms. Guergis is persona non grata with the Tories, who won't allow her to represent the party in the next election. She intends to run as an independent conservative.

Ms. Guergis has said neither the Prime Minister nor Mr. Hamilton ever specified the allegations against her, although she's said the prime minister referred to "criminal behaviour."

Mr. Snowdy himself told the parliamentary committee he had no evidence of wrongdoing by Ms. Guergis but was only concerned about the "optics" of her association with Mr. Gillani.

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The committee continues to probe allegations of illegal lobbying by Mr. Jaffer.

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