Helena Guergis breaks into tears during a press conference
OTTAWA -- A former cabinet minister's fall from grace came with a price tag Monday after an Ontario judge ordered her to pay $118,000 in legal costs plus HST to settle the remnants of a defamation suit against the prime minister and other Tory high rollers.
Ontario Superior Court Justice Charles Hackland ruled Monday that former Simcoe-Grey MP Helena Guergis has 30 days to pay some of the costs incurred by elected Conservative and party officials to defend against her lawsuit.
"When a plaintiff, as in this case, chooses to sue a wide variety of defendants on the basis of accusations of conspiracy and bad faith, the expectation must be that the claims will be vigorously defended," Hackland said in a seven-page judgment.
"In any event, the plaintiff's expectation here must have been that the defendants would be incurring substantial costs in the defence of this action."
Guergis sued after Prime Minister Stephen Harper dropped her from cabinet as the junior minister responsible for the status of women and caucus after allegations of improper conduct, including fraud and extortion, were forwarded to the RCMP in 2010.
The Mounties found no criminal wrongdoing, but Guergis was not allowed to return to the Conservative fold and sat as an independent.
She filed a defamation suit in December in 2011 that was later dismissed. She had claimed intentional infliction of mental suffering, negligence, malicious treatment and other issues over her removal.
She ran as an independent candidate in 2011 and lost to a Conservative.
She now studies law in Alberta.