Harper and Guergis in court showdown

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Court battle is hot and expensive

There’s one thing we can say about Conservatives.

When they fight each other, it’s serious business.

Remember Helena Guergis, the former beauty pageant winner Stephen Harper appointed his Minister on the Status of Women four years ago?

That was before he tossed her out of cabinet in April 2010 for mysterious reasons.

Guergis and her husband, former Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer were accused by persons unknown of hanging out with prostitutes, political hustlers, drug dealers, and snorting cocaine on the side.

She asked the RCMP to investigate. They did and announced that she was blameless, as white as the driven snow.

Furious, she turned against Harper and his political sidekicks, chief of staff Guy Giorno; future chief of staff Ray Novak; Shelly Glover, the future Minister of Heritage; Lisa Raitt, the future Minister of Transport; Conservative Party lawyer Arthur Hamilton and the private investigator of the party, Derek Snowdy.

Guergis sued them for defamation and sued for Harper tossing her out of cabinet without cause.

Rather than using a Justice Department to defend himself, Harper turned to outside legal help, the noted Toronto lawyer, Robert Staley, whose son is a Harper assistant and his daughter who writes speeches for him.

Conservatives like to do things as a family, we are led to believe.

In court, Staley won the day and Guergis lost. The judge said that the Prime Minister had the right to dismiss any minister he wanted.

But worse, the judge ordered Guergis to pay the legal costs of lawyer Staley. The costs had reached the princely sum of $ 124.960. Good lawyers are expensive. We knew that.

Guergis’s lawyer, Stephen Victor, informed the court that his client did not have the means to pay such a sum.

"Because of financial circumstances, Ms. Guergis can pay only $ 30 a month," said Victor.

But paying off $ 124,960 at $ 30 per month takes how long?

«Ottawa Citizen " journalist Stephen Maher who has been following the fight closely calculated that at $ 30 a month to pay $ 124,960 would take Helena Guergis 347 years to pay.

Even former Conservative ministers do not live so long.

Harper and his gang have decided to return to court on Jan. 16 to ask the presiding judge to order Guergis to pay more than just $ 30 per month.

It remains to be seen who wins.

At least we can say that when the Conservatives decide to start fighting each other, they do more than go about exchanging kitchen recipes.

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