Thursday, April 8, 2010

In case you thought Helena Guergis was getting too much attention...

... we'll turn our attention to her husband:
OTTAWA—A spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper denied that ex-MP Rahim Jaffer had brought access to the leader of the country to his shady business associates.

“Any accusation that the PMO has opened doors for Mr. Jaffer or his business associates is false and it is also absurd,” PMO spokesman Dimitri Soudas said in an interview Thursday.

The Toronto Star published an investigative report Thursday detailing what happened the night Jaffer – a former MP from Edmonton and the husband of the Conservative Minister of State for the Status of Women, Helena Guergis – was arrested and charged with drunk driving and cocaine possession last September.

The prosecution ended up dropping the more serious charges after having decided there was not enough evidence to win at trial and Jaffer instead pleaded guilty to one count of careless driving.

Source. And who was he meeting with?

The report placed Jaffer at a booze-soaked dinner at a Toronto restaurant with financier Nazim Gillani – under investigation by police and the federal taxman for fraud or tax evasion at the time – some business associates and “three busty hookers”.

Unaware that Jaffer had been stopped by the Ontario Provincial Police and arrested sometime after he left the restaurant, Gillani sent an email to his associates the next morning boasting the ex-MP had given them access to the prime minister.

“Mr. Jaffer has opened up the Prime Ministers’ office to us and as a result of that dinner – he today advised me that he is just as excited as we are and joining our team seems to be the next logical step,” Gillani wrote to a dozen close associates, although Conservative insiders have told The Star the former elected official had no such access.

The Star also reported Jaffer had been handing out the business cards he had as an MP.

When asked whether he was concerned over allegations Jaffer had pretended to hold such sway, Soudas said: “I can tell you that the doors to the Prime Minister’s Office are padlocked to anybody who wishes to peddle influence.”

Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff said the Jaffer revelations raised serious questions about "potential misconduct" and was a matter not just for Jaffer but for the Prime Minister himself.

"These are very serious allegations that go to the heart of the integrity of the Conservative government," Ignatieff said after giving a speech in Mirabel, Que. "The question is, 'Who did Mr. Jaffer see in the Conservative government, what promises did Mr. Jaffer make, what did he propose to deliver to his clients?"

Weirder and weirder. I wonder how much damage this will do to the government? We can only hope...