One week after losing his right-hand man Gerald Butts, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s top political aide — chief of staff Katie Telford — faces allegations she intentionally inflicted mental suffering on an ex-ambassador.
The allegation is contained in a lawsuit filed by Vivian Bercovici, a former Canadian ambassador to Israel, who was appointed by the previous Conservative government of Stephen Harper and subsequently fired by the Trudeau Liberals.
Bercovici alleges she was terminated without being properly compensated for pension benefits, and that the government abused and harassed her.
On Monday, her lawyer will petition the Ontario Court of Justice to amend the lawsuit to have Telford and four senior officials of Global Affairs Canada added as defendants.
The allegations have not been proven in court, and the Prime Minister’s Office did not respond to a request for comment.
The Justice Department says in a reply filed in court last month that Bercovici’s “bold allegations” should be dismissed.
Bercovici has been a source of controversy since Harper appointed her as his envoy to Israel in 2014. She was not a career diplomat — which is not unusual for high-profile ambassadorial appointments — but she faced internal opposition within the foreign ministry for being too pro-Israel. Bercovici is Jewish and a self-described supporter of Israel.