Jaffer drama leaves questions: Coady

Rob Antle
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Former Conservative MP's testimony sparks 'circus' on Parliament Hill

It's the political scandal that has gripped Parliament Hill for the past two weeks - a steamy bouillabaisse that started with allegations of questionable business dealings, strip clubs and "busty hookers."

Other spicy tidbits - questions of inappropriate lobbying, a possible police investigation and a cabinet resignation - have since been thrown into the pot.

Ottawa -

It's the political scandal that has gripped Parliament Hill for the past two weeks - a steamy bouillabaisse that started with allegations of questionable business dealings, strip clubs and "busty hookers."

Other spicy tidbits - questions of inappropriate lobbying, a possible police investigation and a cabinet resignation - have since been thrown into the pot.

On Wednesday, the central figure in the drama - former Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer - and his business partner, Patrick Glemaud, appeared at a parliamentary committee to defend themselves.

St. John's South-Mount Pearl MP Siobhan Coady was the Liberal point-person on the committee, beginning the grilling of Jaffer and Glemaud.

She probed Jaffer's communications with Conservative politicians and asked for the names of three companies who put in applications for cash from a government "green fund."

In Wednesday's committee hearing - which Jaffer characterized as a "circus" - the former Conservative MP denied lobbying his former colleagues.

He characterized the array of "second-hand allegations, rumour and innuendo" against him as "vicious attacks" by the media and the opposition parties.

Afterward, Coady told The Telegram Jaffer's testimony leaves many questions unanswered.

"He certainly wasn't forthright with the truth, was he?" she told The Telegram.

Coady cited claims made on Jaffer's website that contradicted his answers to the committee about the nature of his business.

The Liberal MP said the Jaffer affair should matter to all voters, including her constituents back in Newfoundland.

"This is a $2-billion fund, this is green funds ... monies for greening of our environment and greening of our energy," she said.

"A lot of other countries have moved way farther than Canada has on this, and we really, absolutely, need to move forward in this direction. What we don't need to do, and what we don't want to have, is the public being confused, the public thinking that you've got to have some kind of government access."

Previous reports in the Toronto Star cited Jaffer's alleged boasts that he could open doors in the Prime Minister's Office for a businessman who has since been charged with fraud in an unrelated case.

Jaffer's wife, MP Helena Guergis, recently resigned under duress from the Harper cabinet after a Toronto private investigator forwarded as-yet-unspecified information to the prime minister.

It's an issue that has sucked the political oxygen out of other priorities in Ottawa over the past number of days.

Question period in the House of Commons has been increasingly acrimonious. Earlier Wednesday, Liberal MPs repeated the line "Conservative culture of deceit" in Parliament to describe the ongoing ethics imbroglio.

The federal Conservatives have distanced themselves from Jaffer and Guergis, and said Harper took the proper steps to forward information about the matter to the appropriate authorities.

rantle@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Toronto Star, House of Commons, Conservatives

Geographic location: Parliament Hill, Ottawa, Newfoundland Canada Toronto

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Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • Harry
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    Surely there are more important issues for the greater good of the nation which Parliament could discuss than a steamy bouillabaisse that started with allegations.

  • John Smith
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    Typical conservatives.

  • Jean
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    It is a sad day when the public business of our government is nothing more than the National Enquirer or Access Hollywood.

    We really need to think about the kind of people we send to Ottawa to represent the interests of the country because this crowd are too foolish to talk about.

  • Dean
    July 02, 2010 - 13:30

    It is so very pleasant to read that all of the problems and uncertainties facing our province and country have been resolved and our politicians can now set their minds to dealing with the trash.

    If only that was true. Too many people are unemployed, our health system across the country is a wreck and the economy remains a mess with unemployment among our youth at the highest levels in 30 years.

    And our politicians spend there time on this, going around in circles. What will come of it?

    It is not a feather in your cap of accomplishments to emabarrass this guy. It is a feather to make a difference for the good of society. Maybe these politicians do not have any answers to our real problems and are squaking around making noise to hide the fact they do not know how to help canadians.

  • Watton
    July 02, 2010 - 13:29

    I think we are all in agreement that Jaffer is a very questionable character, no doubt about it.

    But thinking something and proving it is so will be the work of this committee and the RCMP.

    Without evidence, this slippery character will get away with it.

    That is the problem with Ms. Coady's position. She has asked some questions which remain unanswered or are without actual evidence.

    The work of this committee should be evidence based.

    Anything else is just rumor mongering for political exploitative gain. This includes Harper's Conservative MP's who are distancing themselves from Jaffer and Geurgis not because of the inappropriate lobbying charges against Jaffer but because of the other specious actions of them both (airport trades, cocaine possession, drunk driving and staffers publishing letters of praise under false circumstances).

    The allegations of influence peddling simply provided an excuse to remove Geurgis when she should have been removed months prior.

    This committee and the comments of Ms. Coady are cheap and meaningless without evidence.

    Without evidence the RCMP will not proceed.

    Being a slippery character is not enough to convict you in the eyes of the law.

    So far Ms. Coady has not done her work on this issue.

  • James
    July 02, 2010 - 13:28

    All parties have rejected Rahim Jaffer and Helena Geurgis.

    But the questioning by this committee is premature, and by the NDP's admission, could compromise the RCMP investigation.

    So, what is this committee doing?

    Grandstanding. Seizing a messy and controversial private citizen who is married to a MP (and former cabinet minister).

    This not the work of parliament. This discredits all politicians.

    This country lost over half a million jobs in the recent recession and there are little signs of recovery employment wise.

    Coady and the other parliamentarians should apply themselves to getting the country back to work instead of idling their time away on a gossip story that will not make a difference to canadians.

    Jaffer is facing a RCMP probe and Geurgis is out of cabinet. This committee can do no more about it.

    Do some real work for a change.

  • David
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    These days, the transition from being called the 'Right Honourable' to 'lying scumbag' for many politicians is simply a matter of time.

  • Paul
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    To PSAC. Seems your only thoughts go to one meeting Siobhan did not attend, as you've commented on this before. Is there anything else in the world that might also be important?

  • Brian
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    Our tax dollars at work. No thank you.

  • John Smith
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    Sounds like we have someone on the payroll.


    Judging from 3 of the above comments.

  • Sandra
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Seven of the first nine posts definitely feel this is a waste of time. Mr. Smith seems to think the comments are politically motivated which is odd because all the political parties including the conservatives are against jaffer. I too think this is a waste of everyone's time.

  • PSAC Pensioner
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    We have never heard so much commentary from Siobhan Coady since she was elected.

    Too bad this issue is not one which will make any difference to the people who live in St. john's and Mount Pearl.

    A public meeting was held with PSAC pensioners in march and coady did not attend and neither did anyone from her office.

    The federal finance department had an invitation only meeting on pension reform here in St. John's 3 weeks ago and Coady did not attend.

    But she is all over a gossip story about a couple of mainland MP's.

    Here is some advice to think about: mainlanders cannot vote for you in the next election so start doing some work for the residents who sent you to Ottawa.

  • Harry
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    Surely there are more important issues for the greater good of the nation which Parliament could discuss than a steamy bouillabaisse that started with allegations.

  • John Smith
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    Typical conservatives.

  • Jean
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    It is a sad day when the public business of our government is nothing more than the National Enquirer or Access Hollywood.

    We really need to think about the kind of people we send to Ottawa to represent the interests of the country because this crowd are too foolish to talk about.

  • Dean
    July 01, 2010 - 20:18

    It is so very pleasant to read that all of the problems and uncertainties facing our province and country have been resolved and our politicians can now set their minds to dealing with the trash.

    If only that was true. Too many people are unemployed, our health system across the country is a wreck and the economy remains a mess with unemployment among our youth at the highest levels in 30 years.

    And our politicians spend there time on this, going around in circles. What will come of it?

    It is not a feather in your cap of accomplishments to emabarrass this guy. It is a feather to make a difference for the good of society. Maybe these politicians do not have any answers to our real problems and are squaking around making noise to hide the fact they do not know how to help canadians.

  • Watton
    July 01, 2010 - 20:17

    I think we are all in agreement that Jaffer is a very questionable character, no doubt about it.

    But thinking something and proving it is so will be the work of this committee and the RCMP.

    Without evidence, this slippery character will get away with it.

    That is the problem with Ms. Coady's position. She has asked some questions which remain unanswered or are without actual evidence.

    The work of this committee should be evidence based.

    Anything else is just rumor mongering for political exploitative gain. This includes Harper's Conservative MP's who are distancing themselves from Jaffer and Geurgis not because of the inappropriate lobbying charges against Jaffer but because of the other specious actions of them both (airport trades, cocaine possession, drunk driving and staffers publishing letters of praise under false circumstances).

    The allegations of influence peddling simply provided an excuse to remove Geurgis when she should have been removed months prior.

    This committee and the comments of Ms. Coady are cheap and meaningless without evidence.

    Without evidence the RCMP will not proceed.

    Being a slippery character is not enough to convict you in the eyes of the law.

    So far Ms. Coady has not done her work on this issue.

  • James
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    All parties have rejected Rahim Jaffer and Helena Geurgis.

    But the questioning by this committee is premature, and by the NDP's admission, could compromise the RCMP investigation.

    So, what is this committee doing?

    Grandstanding. Seizing a messy and controversial private citizen who is married to a MP (and former cabinet minister).

    This not the work of parliament. This discredits all politicians.

    This country lost over half a million jobs in the recent recession and there are little signs of recovery employment wise.

    Coady and the other parliamentarians should apply themselves to getting the country back to work instead of idling their time away on a gossip story that will not make a difference to canadians.

    Jaffer is facing a RCMP probe and Geurgis is out of cabinet. This committee can do no more about it.

    Do some real work for a change.

  • David
    July 01, 2010 - 20:05

    These days, the transition from being called the 'Right Honourable' to 'lying scumbag' for many politicians is simply a matter of time.

  • Paul
    July 01, 2010 - 20:00

    To PSAC. Seems your only thoughts go to one meeting Siobhan did not attend, as you've commented on this before. Is there anything else in the world that might also be important?

  • Brian
    July 01, 2010 - 19:52

    Our tax dollars at work. No thank you.

  • John Smith
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    Sounds like we have someone on the payroll.


    Judging from 3 of the above comments.

  • Sandra
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    Seven of the first nine posts definitely feel this is a waste of time. Mr. Smith seems to think the comments are politically motivated which is odd because all the political parties including the conservatives are against jaffer. I too think this is a waste of everyone's time.

  • PSAC Pensioner
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    We have never heard so much commentary from Siobhan Coady since she was elected.

    Too bad this issue is not one which will make any difference to the people who live in St. john's and Mount Pearl.

    A public meeting was held with PSAC pensioners in march and coady did not attend and neither did anyone from her office.

    The federal finance department had an invitation only meeting on pension reform here in St. John's 3 weeks ago and Coady did not attend.

    But she is all over a gossip story about a couple of mainland MP's.

    Here is some advice to think about: mainlanders cannot vote for you in the next election so start doing some work for the residents who sent you to Ottawa.