Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Maxime Bernier Would Have Joined a Great Family

Despite claims of innocence, and suggestions that Julie Couillard simply had a weakness for bad boys, her own criminal activities and those of her family's, paint a different picture.

Seems back in the day she partnered with her brother Patrick in a mortgage scam, while her own father was dealing drugs.

The RCMP have admitted that they were well aware of her criminal past, so for Maxime Bernier to suggest that he wasn't, is ludicrous. Given his key cabinet post, he would have been made aware of her complete file.

It is important to refresh memories of this scandal because it runs very deep and speaks to a larger picture of Conservative corruption, and some of the people they do business with.

Her brothel is only an aside, and I don't care if the whole freakin' lot of them used her services, though Stockwell Day's patronage is interesting, because he has the financial and voter support of so many Christian organizations, and has always played 'holier than thou', though his actions have been anything but holy.

Following is a brief look at Julie's family portrait:

RCMP won't explain silence on Couillard
Privy Council Office wasn't told of Bernier's girlfriend's past ties to criminals, Mounties acknowledge as real-estate deals come to light
JUNE 13, 2008

In the spring of 1998, Julie Couillard was under surveillance by RCMP drug investigators who, in a court affidavit obtained by The Globe and Mail, stated that she was "known to our police services."

Her past association with criminals was part of the initial outcry that led to Maxime Bernier losing his job as foreign affairs minister.

While senior RCMP officials have confirmed they had been aware of Ms. Couillard before the controversy became public, the national police did not raise the subject with the Privy Council Office, the central government department that reports to the prime minister.

Yesterday, an RCMP spokesman, Sergeant Sylvie Tremblay, would not specify the reasons the force did not alert the government, but noted that "many people come into contact with or come to the attention of the RCMP in the course of our day-to-day duties. The fact that the RCMP knows, or knows of, an individual is not a reasonable basis to draw any adverse inference about that individual."

But it is now Ms. Couillard's interest in real estate that has fuelled the latest flames in the affair, since her initial meeting with Mr. Bernier was at the instigation of developer Philippe Morin.

In the mid-1990s, Ms. Couillard was an aspiring actress and model who lived with a loan shark, Gilles Giguère, then was briefly married to a biker affiliated with the Hells Angels, Stéphane Sirois.

In a recent interview, Mr. Sirois said he ran a scheme with a co-operative banker in which he found someone to sign an offer for a home below its value; a second person would then buy the home at an inflated price with a bank loan, pay off the initial offer and pocket the difference.

According to land records in Quebec, on April 16, 1998, Ms. Couillard's brother, Patrick, obtained a $116,619 mortgage from Laurentian Bank against a property on de Tilly Street in Laval, north of Montreal. On April 21, Ms. Couillard bought the de Tilly home for $75,000. The same day, she resold it to her brother for $123,000.

The branch manager who approved Patrick Couillard's mortgage no longer works for Laurentian, but the bank declined to say why.

Later that spring, on May 12, the RCMP received a tip that someone named Stéphane was running a marijuana grow operation in Laval, on Mylene Street. The source said Stéphane lived on La Périère Street in Laval, according to a June 6 RCMP court affidavit.

The police began surveillance and saw that Ms. Couillard's father, Marcel, had his Pontiac Grand Am outside the Mylene Street address, a house with windows permanently shuttered by blinds and canvasses.

The affidavit said the RCMP found that Mr. Sirois and Ms. Couillard lived at the La Périère Street address, and that Mr. Sirois was a criminal biker while "Julie Couillard ... is the spouse of Stéphane Sirois. She is also known to our police services."

On June 1, the affidavit said, three RCMP officers followed Mr. Sirois and Ms. Couillard from their home to the Mylene Street house. The couple stayed inside for an hour before driving home.

Days later, Mr. Sirois and Ms. Couillard engaged in a real-estate deal. They bought a house on de Tilly Street for $104,900 while the owner of that house purchased their La Périère Street property for $103,000.

The next week, the police raided the Mylene Street house and seized 496 cannabis plants and a hydroponics installation. Marcel Couillard was arrested at the scene.

Neither Mr. Sirois nor Ms. Couillard were charged and she testified at the preliminary inquiry in her father's case that she never saw anything odd inside the house. Her father pleaded guilty to drug possession in 2000.

I don't belief for a second that Maxime Bernier was not privy to this information. Anyone involved with key government officials would have had thorough background checks.

This is just more of Harper's web of silence, that allows his caucus to do whatever they want. They're just not allowed to speak.

BTW. Maxime Bernier was also one of the Conservative MPs who tried to defraud taxpayers in the 'In and Out' scheme. Harper is stonewalling there too.

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