Prime Minister Stephen Harper filed a motion in court Friday to get Helena Guergis's "frivolous" lawsuit against him dismissed.
"The action is frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of process and accordingly should be stayed or dismissed," the court document obtained by CBC News says.
The document notes that Guergis filed a complaint against the prime minister with the Canada Human Rights Commission in May 2011, a year after she resigned from cabinet due to the controversy that emerged in April 2010. She lost the complaint and Harper's court motion says she then set out to launch the lawsuit.
Harper's motion to strike out the lawsuit comes two days after a similar one filed by his former chief of staff, Guy Giorno, who is also being sued by Guergis. The motion is also on behalf of Labour Minister Lisa Raitt, Conservative MP Shelly Glover and Ray Novak, Harper’s principal secretary, who are all named in Guergis's lawsuit.
Guergis's lawsuit, launched in December, makes claims of conspiracy, defamation, misfeasance in public office, negligence and infliction of mental suffering. She is also suing Arthur Hamilton, the Conservative party's lawyer, the Conservative Party of Canada, Hamilton’s law firm Cassels Brock and Blackwell, and Derrick Snowdy, the private investigator who helped kick off the controversy surrounding Guergis and her husband, Rahim Jaffer in April 2010.
Harper's motion to have the court dismiss the lawsuit says Guergis's claims are not subject to the judicial process but rather, relate to the exercise of Crown prerogative, and Parliamentary privilege.
The court document seeks to debunk Guergis's claims and allegations and says "it is plain and obvious" that her lawsuit "discloses no reasonable cause of action" against the defendants.
She claims she resigned as the minister of state for the status of women under pressure from Harper and that she shouldn't have been kicked out of the Conservative caucus or prevented from running as a Conservative candidate. Harper argues that decisions about cabinet, caucus and candidates are not legal matters.
When Guergis left cabinet she sat as an Independent MP, she ran as an independent candidate in the May 2011 election and lost.
Guergis alleges that Harper, Novak and Giorno defamed her in a letter they were involved in sending to the RCMP regarding allegations they were made aware of through Snowdy. Harper says in the motion that the statements were made "by a high officer of the state to another officer of the state," they relate to state matters and are therefore protected by the doctrine of absolute privilege.
The letter, sent to former RCMP Commissioner William Elliott on April 9, 2010 by Novak and on behalf of Harper, is included in the court documents. It says Harper's office was made aware of allegations the night before by Snowdy concerning conduct by Guergis and Jaffer.
"The allegations are numerous and include fraud, extortion, obtaining benefits by false pretences and involvement in prostitution. The extent of the allegations makes it impossible for me to summarise them completely in this brief letter," it states.
"Our office has no first-hand knowledge of these allegations and our office has not communicated directly with Mr. Snowdy," it goes on to say.
In her statement of claim, Guergis denies all of the allegations.
Novak says he had been informed that Snowdy has evidence to corroborate his allegations and that the information had already been shared with the RCMP and OPP, "but I want to ensure that you are aware of it."
The RCMP later cleared Guergis of any wrongdoing.
In general, the motion to toss out the lawsuit says Guergis hasn't shown the facts to sustain the allegations made in her lawsuit.
For example, she claims Harper and the others intentionally inflicted mental suffering but hasn't provided particulars relating to "any alleged visible and provable illness," the motion says.
Guergis is suing for general damages of $800,000 plus punitive damages of $250,000 and aggravated damages of $250,000.
Harper's motion says Guergis is trying to relitigate several issues that were already decided by the Canada Human Rights Commission in May 2011.
The complaint was dismissed in November 2011 and it determined that "the decision to remove [Guergis] from cabinet was not justiciable as it was made pursuant to a Crown prerogative," according to Harper's court document, and that the decision to remove her from caucus is also not subject to the courts and is protected by Parliamentary privilege.
Harper says the lawsuit was only launched after Guergis lost her case against him at the human rights commission and that it is "an abuse of process" to have the case in the courts.
The hearing to argue the motions filed by Harper and Giorno is scheduled for September. Guergis's lawyer says he will vigorously defend against the motions.
Here are a few examples of some red-faced moments in public expense reports, in which those involved likely wished they had gone back and done -- or in the case of David Dingwall, said -- a few things differently.<br><br><em>With files from CBC</em><br><br>(CP/Getty)
Britain's parliamentarians became embroiled in scandal in 2009 over their declared expenses after the Daily Telegraph obtained an uncensored copy of their claims and published them.<br><br> Details disclosed by the newspaper showed how MPs from all parties manipulated rules by routinely switching the designation of their second home -- using public money to furnish and improve several properties and later sell them at a profit.<br><br> Facing fierce public fury as embarrassing details emerged daily, nearly 400 British MPs, including then Prime Minister Gordon Brown, were ordered to pay back close to $2 million in wrongfully claimed expenses.<br><br> But amid the outrage, one the most publicized cases was of that then Conservative MP Douglas Hogg, who was alleged to have expensed the cleaning of a moat at his family's country estate. Hogg agreed to repay the cost of cleaning the moat, but insisted he had only listed the cleaning cost as an expenditure on his house and never asked to be reimbursed. He decided not to stand for his seat in the 2010 election.<br><br> (MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)
A scandal broke out in Ontario in 2009 over wasteful and untendered consulting contracts at eHealth, a provincial Crown corporation charged with creating an electronic health records system. The controversy over eHealth's spending led to the resignation of then Health Minister David Caplan.<br><br> Among the embarrassing revelations at eHealth, CBC News obtained documents that showed consultants, contracted by eHealth at up to $2,750 a day, billed taxpayers for out-of-pocket expenses that included $1.65 for a cup of tea and $3.99 for cookies.<br><br> The documents said eHealth CEO and president Sarah Kramer billed thousands of dollars for limousine rides, including one $400 trip from Toronto to London, Ont., before she left her $380,000-a-year job in June of that year.<br><br>(CP)
Nova Scotia's provincial legislature was rocked by a report by the provincial auditor general that found that many MLAs submitted questionable expense claims over a number of years. The affair evolved into a criminal investigation that led to several MLAs resigning and at least one former member being sentenced to prison.<br><br> Ex-Liberal MLA Dave Wilson, pictured, pleaded guilty to defrauding Nova Scotia taxpayers of nearly $61,000 to support his gambling addiction and was sentenced last week to nine months of jail time and 18 months of probation. Crown attorneys in his case detailed how Wilson submitted 36 false expense receipts using five people's names -- including his niece and brother-in-law -- totalling $60,995. Wilson apologized to his family and the people of the province, telling the court he was deeply ashamed of his actions.<br><br>(CP)
Former federal privacy commissioner George Radwanski resigned in 2003 under a cloud following intense scrutiny of his spending. At the time, Radwanski blamed "a powerful political backlash from some who would prefer a less forceful privacy commissioner." His severance package was initially $82,562, but later cut to nothing.<br><br> Radwanski resigned after a Commons committee called for a full audit of Radwanski's expense claims, which included more than $500,000 in travel claims, $250 drinks tabs and dinner bills of more than $450, usually shared with one staff member.<br><br> Auditor General Sheila Fraser's report called for an RCMP investigation of Radwanski after her department's audit revealed "a major failure of management controls and the abuse of public funds by the former commissioner and some senior executives, for their personal benefit."<br><br> In 2009, an Ontario judge acquitted Radwanski of criminal fraud charges, but criticized his "negligent and cavalier" approach to accounting for controversial expenses he claimed while in office. Radwanski's former chief of staff, Art Lamarche, was convicted of breach of trust. Radwanski acknowledged he wished he had done some things differently, but insisted he "never acted dishonestly or knowingly improperly in any way." <br><br>(CP)
In February 2006, former Liberal cabinet minister David Dingwall was awarded $417,780 in compensation after an independent arbitrator concluded he was forced out of his $277,000-a-year job as head of the Royal Canadian Mint.<br><br> His removal from the head of the Crown corporation came amid a frenzy caused by unproven allegations that he and his office made improper and excessive expense claims, as the then Liberal government was reeling from the inquiry into the federal sponsorship scandal.<br><br> Opposition MPs, including then Opposition Leader Stephen Harper, portrayed the Dingwall case as a sign of Liberal misspending, accusing him of wasting taxpayers' money on reimbursement claims for expensive meals, excessive travel and even a pack of chewing gum. In the midst of the controversy over his resignation and compensation package, Dingwall drew the scorn of opposition parties when he said the now notorious words to a Commons committee: "I'm entitled to my entitlements."<br><br> Harper's party picked up the phrase and used it repeatedly as an example of Liberal arrogance during the campaign leading up to the Jan. 23, 2006, general election.<br><br> In fact, an independent audit of the expenses by accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers later found that more than 70 per cent of them were incurred by other employees in Dingwall's office at the Mint, and that all the payments had been properly approved under the Crown corporation's guidelines.<br><br> A second independent review by law firm Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt concluded the governance of expendures at the Mint went "well beyond what one could expect to find in most private-sector corporations."<br><br>(CP)