Times Colonist

PM to be asked to testify at MPs’ Bernier inquiry

- DAVID AKIN

OTTAWA — A House of Commons committee will ask Prime Minister Stephen Harper to testify before it as part of an investigat­ion into how Maxime Bernier came to leave secret government documents at his ex-girlfriend’s house.

The Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security will begin hearings June 10 into the Bernier affair, and has issued invitation­s to Harper, Bernier, his ex-girlfriend Julie Couillard, Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day and some bureaucrat­s.

“The key question is: What happened?” said Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh, his party’s critic for public safety. “What breaches of national security occurred?”

A source close to the prime minister indicated he would decline the committee’s invitation. “The opposition should stop trying to score political points after the minister has resigned,” said Dimitri Soudas, the prime minister’s deputy press secretary.

Harper, Bernier and Day — just like any MP — cannot be compelled to testify before a Commons committee. But Couillard can be subpoenaed, which means she risks a contempt of Parliament charge if she fails to appear to before the committee.

“Canadians are concerned about this,” said NDP MP Penny Priddy. “I don’t care what’s in Ms. Couillard’s closet. This is about whether she used any of this informatio­n to pass on to people, and I don’t want this to turn into a prurient soap opera.”

Couillard’s first love, Gilles Giguère, was killed in a gangland execution in 2006, three months before the couple was to marry. Giguère was the right-hand man of loanshark Robert Savard, a close friend of Hells Angels boss Maurice Boucher.

She later married and divorced Stéphane Sirois, a member of the Rockers, a Hells Angels puppet gang. He would became a Crown witness against his former associates. A third partner of Couillard, Robert Pépin, hanged himself last May after becoming heavily indebted to loansharks linked to the underworld. In TV interviews and in a magazine interview, she has provided salacious details about her relationsh­ip with Bernier.

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