Ottawa, June 7 : Canadian MP Serge Menard is in no doubt that the Bernier-Couilard affair has put national security at an "enormous" risk, embarrassing the Harper Government and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
The Bloc Quebecois MP is one of the top experts in the House of Commons on security issues, having served as Quebec's Minister of Public Safety at the height of the province's biker wars in the mid-1990s and early 2000s.
Menard said he had misgivings about delving into former Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier's romantic relationship with former actress and model Julie Couillard.
He changed his mind after Couillard's ex-husband alleged in an interview with The Globe and Mail that she had ties to a long list of criminals, some of whom he said carried out illicit deeds while living with her.
The Harper Government continues to dismiss security concerns over the Bernier-Couillard affair despite two new media reports that raise fresh questions.
A major television agency reported that Julie Couillard met with a man closely tied to criminal bikers in 2006, less than a year before she began dating then-Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier.
And a national newspaper reported on Friday that Couillard's house was under RCMP surveillance in 1998.
The opposition said that the reports are further evidence that the government should be investigating whether Bernier's relationship with Couillard posed a security threat.
Bernier was forced to resign as Foreign Affairs Minister last month after it was revealed that he left classified government documents at Couillard's home.
In the 1990s and early 2000s, Couillard dated or lived with a man with Mafia connections, one loan shark, one biker and a businessman who owed a large debt to the Hells Angels.
In 1998, according to court records obtained by The Globe, the RCMP ordered a surveillance operation on her home as part of a drug investigation.
Bernier started dating Couillard in the spring of 2007. He left confidential documents at her home in April this year.