Jaffer & Guergis: a power couple, unplugged

Ottawa’s storybook young duo suffers a fall from grace

A power couple, unplugged

Photograph by Andrew Wallace/Toronto Star

Wearing a navy pinstripe suit, a blue check shirt, and a vibrant yellow and lime-green striped tie, Rahim Jaffer cut a dapper figure in a courtroom in Orangeville, Ont., a sleepy town of 27,000 northwest of Toronto. The former politician, his hair gelled neatly in place, sat near the back of the gallery on the morning of March 9 while the court dealt with its quotidian diet of scandal: a domestic dispute, a 17-year-old arrested for marijuana possession, a woman caught skimming from her employer. For his part, Jaffer, 38, looked confident. With good reason.

Jaffer would shortly plead guilty to a charge of careless driving, and promise to pay a fine of $500; the court was told he had already made a charitable donation of an equivalent amount. As part of the plea deal, the Crown had agreed to drop two more serious charges against Jaffer—drunk driving and possession of cocaine—but did not offer much in the way of explanation. On the morning of Sept. 11, 2009, Jaffer had been pulled over by police for speeding through the village of Palgrave. The OPP officer detaining him was said to have smelled alcohol on his breath; the ex-politician was reported by the OPP to have failed multiple breathalyzer tests, and when he was arrested and searched, an unspecified quantity of cocaine was allegedly found “on his person.” Nonetheless, there were “significant legal issues” surrounding those charges, Crown attorney Marie Balogh told the court, and she foresaw no reasonable chance of conviction. She refused to answer questions from reporters after the trial. Brendan Crawley, a spokesman for the attorney general of Ontario, stated later that “there were issues related to the evidence that led the Crown to determine that the most appropriate way to proceed was with the plea resolution.”

Justice Douglas Maund wrapped up the proceedings, telling the accused: “I’m sure you can recognize a break when you see one.” Outside the courthouse, Jaffer did not respond to the judge’s remark or to any questions about the dropped charges. “I know that I should have been more careful,” he said. “I once again apologize for that and I take full responsibility for my careless driving. And that’s really all I have to say this morning.”

His lawyer also refused to say why the Crown agreed not to proceed with the drunk driving and cocaine possession charges. “I think it’s very important to note that there has never been an allegation that Mr. Jaffer was driving while impaired or while driving under the influence of any substance, alcohol or otherwise,” said Howard Rubel—although a criminal charge would seem to qualify, practically by definition, as an allegation. “Second, the charges—driving over the legal limit and possession of any illegal substance—has always been refuted and I think the withdrawal of those charges vindicates that refutation today.” Jaffer then climbed into a waiting SUV and sped off.

Back in Ottawa, Liberal MP Anita Neville boldly flung questions in the House of Commons about why a tough-on-crime Conservative government had so little to say about “a $500 slap on the wrist” for “one of their own.” It was the same Anita Neville who had been in the papers on Feb. 26 calling for the resignation of Jaffer’s wife, federal Minister of State for the Status of Women Helena Guergis. So goes the bizarre drama in which the parallel troubles of the most attractive couple in Canadian politics—a pair for whom, not so long ago, the sky must have seemed the limit—have suddenly culminated. It’s a Shakespearean drama, with immaturity as the protagonists’ shared tragic flaw.

On Feb. 19, Guergis, according to an anonymous account provided to Liberal MP Wayne Easter, had thrown a spectacular tantrum in the Charlottetown airport. Arriving five minutes before flight time with aide Emily Goucher, Guergis is said to have berated a staffer who told the pair their carry-ons were too large, warning him that she “knew [P.E.I. transportation minister] Ron MacKinley.” While preparing to pass through the metal detector, Guergis initially refused to remove her boots, but was obliged to do so when the metal in them tripped the alarm. Slamming the footwear into a bin, she barked “Happy fucking birthday to me! I guess I’m stuck in this hellhole!” (Feb. 19 was the minister’s 41st birthday.) If the anonymous letter is true—Guergis later apologized for her behaviour and admitted to having spoken “emotionally” to Air Canada employees—the minister proceeded to try forcing her way through a locked door onto the tarmac, and on being told that she would have to wait, began “screaming and hammering” at the window in an effort to get the attention of airside staff.

The Guergis story almost seems designed to express every loathsome quality one associates with politicians: feelings of grandeur and entitlement, contempt for the “little people,” do-you-know-who-I-am posturing, impatience with the delays that the authorities impose on civilians as a matter of course. Yet in assessing the fate of a political couple sometimes called “golden” before their troubles, one notices that Guergis’s apology and her tacit acceptance of the facts on record at least served to put an end to the story­—if not the teasing. The clock has been started on the process of forgiving and forgetting.

It is less clear that this is true for Rahim Jaffer. Exonerated legally from every sin but “careless driving,” he refuses to provide an alternative account of the events of Sept. 11. His decision to treat the matter as closed and to avoid the outstanding questions would seem to make a political comeback nearly unthinkable for a man who, during the Canadian Alliance leadership contest of 2002, was deputy leader of Canada’s official Opposition and briefly led it in the House of Commons.

A power couple, unplugged

Photograph by Pawel Dwulit/Canadian Press

Jaffer, a Ugandan-born Ismaili Muslim whose family found a safe haven in Edmonton after fleeing Idi Amin’s regime in 1972, was a crucial figure in the rise of the Reform party. Co-owner of a coffee shop on a prominent corner in the city’s Old Strathcona district, he announced in June 1996, at the age of 24, that he would challenge Strathcona Reform MP Hugh Hanrahan for the party’s nomination. The announcement was timed ideally to provide good publicity for a movement fighting accusations of racial bigotry. Hanrahan, saddled with health problems, soon stepped aside; Jaffer was featured prominently in Reform’s national advertising and narrowly won the riding.

Jaffer was important to Reform not only for his youth and his symbolic value as an enterprising member of a visible-minority community; as a former aide to Liberal MP Dennis Mills, he had some knowledge of practical politics, and he was also the only comfortably bilingual member of caucus. His social skills counted in his favour too, even if he soon became better known for his natty dress, his love of parties, his membership in the epicurean “Snack Pack,” and his sequence of hot girlfriends, than for his work habits.

But his career hit some bumps. During the 2000 Alliance leadership race, he was named co-chair of Stockwell Day’s Alberta campaign but leaped awkwardly to Tom Long’s camp when the Ontarian entered the race days later. Then, in March 2001, he was caught allowing an aide to impersonate him on a radio show, forfeiting credibility he perhaps never quite regained.

Despite his mistakes, Jaffer bounced back to become national caucus chair of the united Conservative party, and his vote totals in Edmonton-Strathcona barely twitched, no matter what happened. It wasn’t until the election of Oct. 14, 2008, that he received his comeuppance; although 19,634 Edmontonians voted for him, more than had done so in 2004, he faced a returning candidate for the first time in the NDP’s Linda Duncan. With the Liberal party short on funds and suffering from a bad case of Dion-itis, Duncan was able to eke out a victory.

Jaffer has been romantically linked with Guergis since 2006; they met for the first time shortly before the election in January of that year, and eventually got privately engaged without setting a wedding date. No one could be surprised at Jaffer’s involvement with a former beauty queen. Guergis was Miss Huronia of 1992—a title that ended up attracting unwelcome attention after she sued the pageant’s owner, Sylvia Stark, for overbilling her on the entry fee for a national pageant. Guergis won the suit, but Stark filed for bankruptcy and Guergis never got her money back.

Guergis, like Jaffer, comes from a deeply traditional family that fled persecution abroad—in her case, the Middle East’s Assyrian minority, who had kept their Christian faith in the midst of the Islamic world for centuries, but who backed the Western powers against Turkey after the First World War and found themselves facing the wrath of a genocidal regime. Refugee George Guergis’s family would become a political dynasty in Simcoe County; he served as reeve of the township of Essa from 1971-74, his son Edward was a councillor there, and three of his grandchildren (including Helena’s sister Christine Brayford) are mayors or town councillors in Simcoe today.

As a minister of the Crown, Helena Guergis stands as the most accomplished of the clan despite an initial lack of encouragement from its old-fashioned patriarchs. With her latest Simcoe-Grey victory secure on the evening of the 2008 election, Guergis hopped a plane to Edmonton to be at the side of her boyfriend, whose close race was still undecided into the late hours of vote-counting. The demoralizing effects of Jaffer’s defeat had been compounded by the televising of a premature declaration of victory at his headquarters, so when Guergis arrived, she found him in low spirits and suggested that the pair elope. The next day, without telling either set of parents, they were married in the Edmonton home of Ian McClelland, an ex-Reform MP and Alberta MLA who had played a crucial role in bringing Jaffer into politics. McClelland officiated at the ceremony.

Jaffer initially expressed hopes of running again for the Conservatives in Strathcona. His constituency board offered him time to make the decision, but the coalition crisis of early 2009 and the sudden rise of Michael Ignatieff created the possibility of an early election, and the board had to set a firm date for the nomination before Jaffer was ready. He stood down, calling the board’s haste a “blessing in disguise” and declaring himself ready to start a family with his new bride. By all accounts, the pair are sincerely smitten. One friend says admiringly that Jaffer exercises a “calming influence” on his sometimes-brittle wife and suggests that her airport meltdown might never have happened if he had been present.

A power couple

Photograph by John Major/The Ottawa Citizen

Guergis appears determined to withstand Liberal charges that her Charlottetown freak-out constituted “disorderly conduct that could have put passenger safety at risk.” She is reputed in Ottawa to be a difficult boss and was near the top of the “Biggest Scrooge” category in the Hill Times’ most recent yearbook-style vote—the same one that, in the past, hung a “Laziest MP” label on Jaffer. But the Prime Minister may not feel compelled to move her. “She can be a little of a Pierre Poilievre in a skirt,” remarks one Conservative strategist: “Harper likes to have people around like that who are unflinching in their desire to savage all opponents.” The real power to dispose of Guergis’s career rests with the voters of Simcoe-Grey.

Jaffer’s path is less clear. In late 2008, he and a long-time friend, Patrick Glémaud, launched a company called Green Power Generation Corp. The privately held firm is based in Ottawa and acts as a developer for green power projects. Glémaud, a former environmental lawyer with the Department of Justice who worked on the Kyoto accord, says that Ontario’s Green Energy Act, which came into effect last year, has created attractive business opportunities by offering to pay top dollar for power created through solar and other green technologies.

He is short on specifics, but he says GPG has a couple of projects on the go, including plans to build a solar farm on 800 acres of land owned by himself and his wife near Bancroft, Ont., a town of about 4,000. (The solar farm is news to Bancroft’s mayor, Lloyd Churchill, who told Maclean’s he wasn’t aware of the project.) Glémaud says the company is also trying to set up projects in China using so-called “Dragon Power” technologies that harness kinetic energy from cars travelling over roadways or bridges. “Mr. Jaffer was in China three weeks ago discussing this matter, looking for potential investors and sites for development,” he says.

Jaffer brings business savvy and a politician’s people skills to the enterprise, according to Glémaud. “When you talk about renewable or any green technology, the problem isn’t the technology, the problem is having someone with a business mind who is able to execute the project and get them in the marketplace,” he says. “And that’s where Mr. Jaffer comes in. He is someone with a lot of business contacts within Canada and outside of Canada, and who had a business himself.” That business background may be somewhat limited, given that Jaffer has spent most of his adult life in politics. Although he is still associated indelibly with his old coffee shop, he and another business partner lost their Timothy’s franchise in 2004. Nonetheless, Glémaud regards his pal as a natural entrepreneur.

“In some ways, I think it was kind of a blessing that he was not re-elected, because I think he has more potential in the business sector than politics,” says Glémaud. “The business sector is based on merit. You work hard and you succeed. In politics, you can work hard and get nothing out of it, or you get attacked by the media and everything you do is looked at through a big magnifying glass.”


Jaffer & Guergis: a power couple, unplugged

  1. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=gu

    Guergis (pronounced "George's")

    Canadian colloquialism which means "throwing a tantrum while you are being treated like a normal person when you perceive yourself to be a VIP or other high class citizen".

    The definition is attributed to film maker Albert Nerenberg
    and Adam Scriven, and pertains to the Canadian Member of Parliament Helena Guergis who threw a tantrum in the Charlottetown Airport when she was asked to remove her shoes by airport security.

    She is married to former MP, Rahim Jaffer, who just managed to wiggle out of a drunk driving and cocaine possession charge because his wife is an sitting MP.
    "Should have seen this woman in the airport. They asked her to take off her shoes, so she throws a Guergis. Just screaming and swearing – totally nuts."

    "Jaffer" – Canadian colloquialism which means "getting away with something that your were obviously guilty of because you have friends in high places." – "How did court go?" / "The judge gave me a Jaffer." / "Nice."

    • love the piece/ re jaffter – could also add something along the line of "kissed the right ass'

  2. She is reputed in Ottawa to be a difficult boss and was near the top of the “Biggest Scrooge” category in the Hill Times' most recent yearbook-style vote

    she found him in low spirits and suggested that the pair elope. The next day [after Jaffer's defeat and loss of his MP's income], without telling either set of parents, they were married in the Edmonton home of Ian McClelland, an ex-Reform MP and Alberta MLA who had played a crucial role in bringing Jaffer into politics. McClelland officiated at the ceremony.

    How economical. "Sorry guests. No reception for you!"

    • Meh.. your second section of the quote is tabloid crap. True or not, it's not really pertinent to the discussion.

      • From your much Heralded sister publication The Edmonton Journal

        EDMONTON – The sun was glinting off the Rocky Mountains on a beautiful day in Jasper when Edmonton's Rahim Jaffer proposed to fellow MP Helena Guergis.

        "We were walking along the banks of the Athabasca River and Helena had just gone a little ahead of me," Jaffer said Tuesday.

        "When she turned, I knew the moment was right. I proposed."

        Guergis said "yes" immediately.

        He slipped onto her finger a diamond ring he'd designed.

        "I had sensed something a little bit different about Rahim," said Guergis, 38, who represents Ontario's Simcoe-Grey riding and is Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, and Secretary of State for Sport.

        "I didn't know what it was. He'd talked a little bit about marriage. But I didn't think that was it.

        "He's usually cool, calm and collected. He surprised me.

        "We took our time and enjoyed a long walk. When we got back to our room at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, he'd arranged to have champagne and chocolate-dipped strawberries waiting.

        "He's always romantic."

        Jaffer, the MP for Edmonton-Leduc, said: "The moment when Helena said 'yes' was wonderful. Jasper is one of the most beautiful and romantic places in the world."



      • Oh, I don't know. I seem to recall drivel coming out of Guergis's mouth in the pre-Harper initiated breaking of his fixed election law how this was putting their all important wedding plans on hold, blah, blah, blah.

        If you want and actively seek out the tabloid media attention by making this a political issue for your profile and re-election benefit, fair game for negative comments as well.

  3. With DUI and cocaine possession Jaffer is finished in Canada. Realistically, his only political future is American president.

  4. Ah, Conservative values. Does nobody understand?

  5. Mr. Harper, the PM, is showing lack of leadership in the disposition of the Jaffer and Guergis Affair. There is continual arrogance of Mr. Harper and Guergis and Jaffer act like juveniles and should go on a retreat. They do not set good examples and neither does Mr. Harper. I am sure many of the reform/tory party would like to offer their opinion but are banned from doing so.

    • Jaffer is a private citizen. And now can be added to the list of 'stars' that have drug issues.

      Helena is a person, with her own drivers licence,
      not responsibile for anything her husband has done.

      She was also elected by 55% of the vote in her riding, and if her constitutents think she doesn't belong in Parliament, they will vote her out.

      • Are you comfortable with Guergis' behaviour at the Charlottetown airport?

        If you have already indicated your position elsewhere, my apologies for not being aware.

      • Funny – yet you never fail to point some discretion of a former Liberal do you.

        Double-standards, again.

    • Are you implying that Stephen's been 'palling around' with Jaffer and Guergis? Tar, meet same brush?! Not. Lol.

  6. "Brendan Crawley, a spokesman for the attorney general of Ontario, stated later that “there were issues related to the evidence that led the Crown to determine that the most appropriate way to proceed was with the plea resolution.”"

    Could someone please ask Brendan Crawley(spokesman for the Ontario Attorney General) if 75 yr old Brampton Senior Maria Gaspar can have the same deal….$500 fine plus $500 donation to a Charity?She`s charged with owning a non offending mutt & could receive 6 months in jail & a $10,000 fine plus they`re threatening to kill her pet.

    2 tier Justice in Ontario……
    Why would anyone think that?

    • Jeff,

      Jaffer initially expressed hopes of running again for the Conservatives in Strathcona. His constituency board offered him time to make the decision, but the coalition crisis of early 2009 and the sudden rise of Michael Ignatieff created the possibility of an early election, and the board had to set a firm date for the nomination before Jaffer was ready.

    • Well, we've all got our own sources and I wouldn't tell you to rule out their account. Jaffer certainly wasn't squeezed out by the early nomination date until after the coalition/Iggy election panic, though. If it's an excuse, it's a good one.



        • No one who just got out of grade 7 would have any clue who Hanson is.

  8. A "fall from grace?" They never had any grace from which to fall!

    They may have been smitten, but mark my words, he's now her biggest liability, and she's a spoiled little thing who wants her entitlements. Divorce within two years.

  9. As For Ms Guergis I would like to know what Mr. McCallum did to be denied boarding on Air Canada for being drunk. How drunk do you have to be to be denied boarding???? What did he do to be identified as publicly drunk? Was he charged with public drunkenness?

    I agree that Ms. Guergis has reached her point of failure and has made a severe career limiting move. How did McCallum get away with it? Where is the Status of Women when one of their sisters need them ?

  10. Hey Colby…. you are supposedly a journalist and get paid to provide interesting information to the masses.

    Here is a suggestion, free of charge, to provide you with a angle on this topic that is relevant.

    You could go and find out how many people in Ontario have been charged with DUI/ drug possession and have lawyered up and gotten no or minimal fines similar to Jaffray.

    How many speeding tickets do not paid and demerits charged?

    It would be interesting how visible minorities (who lawyer up) fair in the justice system.

    My hypothesis is that Mr. Jaffray and Michael Bryant (cyclist killer) and Maggie Trudeau did not get any special treatment, that the same loop holes and sloppiness in our legal system available to all people who can lawyer up.

    • This is a piece for print Maclean's, filed about two hours after the resolution of Jaffer's case. I have a free-of-charge suggestion for you about telling us how to do journalism on deadline, but I'm not allowed to use the words I'd need.

        • He follows the Canucks more closely than he follows politics, I'd guess.

      • Hey I it was not my intent to cut you down.

        I take back and apologize for my "supposedly a journalist" crack that red-flagged my comment to you. It reads much better as "Hey Colby…. you are a journalist who gets paid and has research access to provide interesting information to the masses."

        However you had a couple of months to research what sort of punishments were handed out in cases similar to Jaffer. If you were able to provide that sort of information…… example In 50% of all drunk driving charges there is a plea bargain and the case never goes to court. In fact 90% of appealed speeding tickets are reduced or charges are avoided.

        Have you (or any other journalist) done the kind of research to validate the charge that Jaffer had preferential treatment?

        Are you conceding investigative journalism to unpaid bloggers?

        What deadline prevents you from following up?

        • Not sure where your stats come from but I used to prosecute impaired driving offences, and the stats of my prosecution office were much better than that.

          In most cases the police would charge both an impaired driving charge and an "over .08". We would take a plea on one or the other, since they largely amount to the same thing. Usually, defence counsel would advise their clients to plead guilty on the impaired charge. Their was a belief that it was better to agree that you were somewhat impaired, than to agree that you had a certain blood/alcohol level.

          The penalty would be the same. So while there may have been a "plea bargain" in many cases, it did not end in the type of result seen in the Jaffer case.

          In Jaffer's case, it's almost a joke to call this a plea bargain, because there was a stay of all criminal charges. That rarely happens in impaired driving cases, especially in smaller jurisdictions where there is less pressure to move cases through the courts.

          • What were the stats from your office? What % of people pulled of for DUI actually end up with criminal records? How many are not persued due to technicalities?

            What would your guess be as to why Jaffer's case was unprosecutable? How often does that happen?

            I would imagine that your not being able to pick up on — (made up unresearched statements) —- would be a potentially damaging shortcoming in prosecuting criminal cases.

      • I would have shared credit for whatever comments with the other co-authors: Chris Sorensen and Aaron Wherry

    • BC Voice of Reason makes a good point.

      Once, possibly twice in the media’s frenzied interest in this story about Mr. Jaffer, astute journalists have actually noticed that the plea bargain in this situation is not unlike so many others in Ontario. Probably it is not unlike so many across Canada.

      The argument goes that those in the public eye must perform to an higher standard. There is little argument that those in the public eye should have less rights than the ‘average’ Canadian.

      The real story continues to be, how are we doing balancing our laws and how our courts interpret them.

      • BC Voice of Reason and/or Delta Difference (assuming to be generous that you really are are two different people),

        1) Without more information, we can't really judge how similar this plea bargain is as compared to others, now can we?

        2) You will acknowledge the possibility of a little hypocrisy on the part of Mr. Jaffer and his Conservative law-and-order colleagues, no?

        • 1) How many plea bargains happen where the general perception is that the offender gets off lightly?

          2) as a Victim's rights and Law and order supporter I want the book to be thrown at Jaffer. It is disgusting that he got off so lightly.

          However I feel that this is the norm.

          Would you admit that the outrage from the Liberal hug-a-thug crowd is hugely hypocritical?

          • I dunno, I don't think I remember seeing any Liberals at any pro-impaired driving rallies…

  11. "Immaturity" sounds oh so quaint as a "shared tragic flaw."

    How about sneering, self-righteous arrogance and a repulsive sense of entitlement?

  12. "Immaturity" sounds oh so quaint as a "shared tragic flaw."

    How about sneering, self-righteous arrogance and a repulsive sense of entitlement?

  13. Rahim Jafir is driving Helena Guergis' vehicle and cocaine is found in the vehicle. Would the charge not stick because it wasn't his vehicle which meant that the cocaine could be assumed to belong to the vehicle's owner? Oh oh!!!!

    • Nope. If the coke was on his person, it's his charge. If the coke was found in the car, and he knew it was there, he's charged as if it was his. If he could prove he didn't know, then it must be…ummm…well, you figure it out.

  14. I have yet to hear any member of any opposition party propose that the laws be changed to force Crown Prosecutors to provide a full, written explanation any time they drop any charges on a suspect.

    Until they make such a proposal, I have zero interest in anything they have to say on l'Affaire Jaffer.

    • That's silly. You shouldn't have to legislate the conservatives into decent ethical behavior. Public life has a higher standard, and rightly so.

  15. I probably shouldn't be rude, I just hate being caught off-guard by an unforeseen development we can't do much about even if nobody else saw it coming either. You work for a newspaper, there's always tomorrow.

    • No you definitely should. Armchair journalists need to learn some respect.

      • And you're just the internet tough guy to teach it to me, I guess.

        • well for starters I'm female… and am not really into the 'tough guy' mentality, since I think it usually stems from feelings of male inadequacy. But yes, I would never presume to lecture a professional journalist on how to do their job from behind anonymous internet account…. sort of poor form really.

          And really Mr. Cosh… your internet sauciness is relentless; you hardly need lessons from me.

      • And a sometimes Maclean's subscriber I contribute to Mr. Cosh's financial well being…. or don't if I find the quality lacking.

        Even my being here and adding to the hit counter on Mr. Cosh's website adds to his future worth as a journalist. It cost me nothing to avoid reading him and lack of interest in his opinions and articles will diminish his ability to make a living as a journalist….. Not everyone can work for CBC.

        • Get over yourself, Reason – being a subscriber doesn't give your employer status.

        • Since when is Colby Cosh part of the left-wing media elite conspiracy? Also journalists are supposed to be critical towards power and authority because that's their job. their purpose isn't to make you feel good by re-enforcing your opinions.

        • As a taxpayer, you also subsidize Mcleans.

          Get over yourself. You think Macleans will rise or fall over your comments?

  16. The Chronicle Herald had a few editorials written to the paper from those who had witnessed the display at the airport in Charlotteltown PE.

  17. Government workers high on cocaine…hmmmm…random drug testing for all junior and senior government workers provincial and federal sounds like a good idea…I mean come on people, we cant have coke heads and druggies in powerful positions.Lets play rat out the druggies.


  18. She really strikes me as a sociopath in everything I've read about and heard from her. The sense of entitlement, vindictiveness, participation in what sounds like a series of scams (the raffling the same bike over and over, if I've understood her correctly) which she seems to not even recognize as being morally problematic, etc.

    Unfortunately for humanity, sociopaths are drawn to professions like politics, and they tend to do pretty well in it. Not having a conscience is an asset when you want power.

    In fact, the current CPC seems sociopathic to me. They have no principals, except that they should be the ones wielding power. They even undermine the issues that they pretend to care about, i.e. law and order, by doing things like killing parliament. Of course, every party has their sociopaths, and there is something disturbing about pragmatic politics when it goes too far, but this bunch are a bit more convincing than I've seen in a while (in Canada, at least).

    • Wow, what a load of crap. "from everything i've read about her". What did you read? The posts above. The youtube clip? That gives you enough info, as you are assuredly a phycologist, to make a diagnosis?
      Watch the video again, this time using your brain. Both the lady's say, in hindsight, that it looked like the lady they were working for was a crook. They were young girls who were being told it was for charity. The lady they were working for ripped her off as well. The lady then has the nerve to blame, and insinuate that Helena is the cause of her losing a child, not have more children, and threaten her life. I am not an expert, but that sounds like the words of a professional con person.
      I will admit I know little about what has hapened in the two people's lives, but I won't go on the internet to make unprovable allegations. To follow it up with a smear against every witting Conservative member shows your true colors – you are nuts.

    • I agree with your first two paragraphs but find the third something of a stretch. Just more of the same ole' "Evil Harper" nonsense. Talking about intire poltical parties that have no principals other than feeling they have the devine right to perpetually be in power forever….kind of reminds me more of the Liberals than anyone else. Cheers. Oh, and for the record both of those clowns are lucky they weren't in front of me. They would have both founds themselves guests of Her Majesty at the nearest crowbar hotel.

  19. Colby, you forgot to mention that Rahim Jaffer also had an affair with an 18-year-old House of Commons Page, just out of high school, around 2001/2002. People on the Hill have known about his unethical conduct for the better part of a decade.

    • ew, is that true?…. maybe it's time to talk about politician's private lives since they act with such impunity. Apparently Baird is really bad for messing around with young interns too.

      • Have heard nothing about Baird, as I was on the Hill pre-Baird but during the Jaffer/page relationship. Jaffer was about ten years older than the girl at the time, and she was a first-year university student. It is public knowledge and was previously reported in Macleans: http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/09/30/the-life-of-th
        I should mention, of course, that Jaffer was not the only creepy Reform/Alliance MP back then. But as far as I know he was the only one who got caught.

      • Also just to clarify: this story of his relationship is IMO relevant because pages are junior employees of the House of Commons and serve all Members of the House; any advances by MPs may be considered sexual harassment in the workplace. Frankly, no one should normally care about his private life, except that in this particular case it constituted an abuse of power.

    • That's pretty strong stuff. I don't think you should be putting out nasty gossip like that without proof.

    • I worked for Rahim Jaffer from 2002-2004, and it was not an affair. She was of the age of consent, and they were quite into each other (it was actually disgusting the way they always HAD to be together). I loathed when she would show up at the office, because she distracted him so much from his work. They broke up a few months after the 2004 election I believe.

  20. This would seem to be overly respectful.

  21. I feel bad for the 17 year old who was sentenced for marijuana possession… he'll probably end up with a criminal charge that will stay with him for the rest of his life. Jaffer, who actually put people at risk by driving drunk at almost twice the speed limit, is let off and has the nerve to deny any culpability. AND he hard drugs on him… our drug laws are stupid and pointless, and if conservatives don't want harsh punishment applied to their loved ones for substance abuse they shouldn't let their party do it to other people's.

  22. Libs employing the names "Bonnie and Clyde" are all over this, front and center as part of the national "debate".

    Aren't we glad that prorogation has ended, so that we can get back to the serious parliamentary issues important to all Canadians,

    such as….tee hee….name calling and chiding personal issues of private citizens, for the pettiest of partisan gain?

    Not sure if the Liberals are at the level of "government in waiting" but certainly "grade nine gym class name callers in waiting".

    • "…if the honourable member does not trust the government, does not trust the Canadian Forces, does not trust the foreign service, does not trust anybody else, at least maybe he can trust Justice Iacobucci…"

      HERE WE GO HARPER – HERE WE GO! *clap clap*

  23. I also wonder folks' position on the federal government strong arming a provincial prosecution matter in order to maintain a "tough on crime" stance.

    It seems many are impliedly suggesting that is precisely the type of conduct Harper's government should have engaged in.

    Query what the headlines would have been like had he done that.

    Oh well, back to the "gotcha!!" politics, that everyday Canadians demand of our political and media elite in a time of grave economic uncertainty.

    • Innocent until proven guilty, unless you're married to a Conservative CabMin.

  24. typical concervative

    • typical liberal – can't spell

      • s-e-l-f-s-e-r-v-a-t-i-v-e

    • Yipee, and new issue for Iffy to bring Question Period!
      Well done Liberals!

  25. Fortunately, Mr. Jaffer didn't have to face country justice way downhere in Helena's favourite Maritime province!

    I can't think of a couple anywhere that deserve each other more than these two. The next time we read about them in Maclean's, the article will be on their divorce proceedings.


  26. Oh McLeans

    Two tier justice indeed.

    Now it's Youtoob justice, or none at all.

    • cocaine possession is a FEDERAL offense……….

      • I don't think that means what you think it means. Stop watching Law and Order,

  27. Has anyone considered she may have been throwing a tantrum so she could get home to do some blow with Rahim? After all, wasn't it around her birthday?!
    Unless of course, the coke Jaffer was arrested with was all for himself.

  28. Whoever wrote this, well done. Thanks for the wonderful read.

  29. There is a larger fine for keeping a chicken as a pet in the City of Calgary than what Jaffer got for "dangerous" driving. Hopefully, next election, Canadians will not vote either one of these losers back to represent us. I can't imagine Jaffer winning a nomination after this.

  30. Power couple, .I don't see them as a power couple .Anymore than I see Jack and Oliviai as a power couple.Perhaps they are going through a tough time, that should be private, but can't be.

  31. We all know the scales of justice are grossly imbalanced between politicians/celebs and us mere mortals. If he had've been an unknown John Smith from Anytown, Canada, you can best believe he would have received a harsher sentence, and would've been punished to the FULL extent of the law, rather than the less-than slap on the wrist he got.

    No wonder most citizens have zero faith in the government, and even less in the justice system. It fails people it shouldn't and protects the people it shouldn't.

    If they've fallen from grace, it's no less than they deserve.

    Shame on the whole damn travesty.

  32. There's the trouble right there. Media should seriously resist the urge to flippantly paint Politicians (public servants) with the Hollywood-esque handle of 'power couple,' to shiny up a story, as if that title somehow innurs them (or should have) and granted them some kind of greater status protective glow. These two put their pants on one leg at a time like the rest of us, and they've been elected to do their jobs. Each publicly elected public servant with high responsibility should, as a matter of course, be monitored, evaluated and always held accountable to themselves, government internal standards, media, and by Canadian voters, and in that order.

  33. While Iggy cartoonizes himself with his "Bonnie and Clyde" schtick,

    this just out:

    "OTTAWA, March 12 (Reuters) – Canada posted firmer than expected jobs growth in February, confirming economic recovery is taking hold and sending its currency to its highest level since July"

    It's OK for the young teens to cause some ruckus, as long as the adults are in charge.

  34. Rahim's business partner, a lawyer, says: "Jaffer brings business savvy and a politician's people skills to the enterprise. When you talk about renewable or any green technology, the problem isn't the technology, the problem is having someone with a business mind who is able to execute the project and get them in the marketplace,” he says. “And that's where Mr. Jaffer comes in. He is someone with a lot of business contacts within Canada and outside of Canada, and who had a business himself.”

    Well, if he says so. Altho I'm not sure how much business experience one has after running a coffee shop. If Jaffer's reputation is correct, I hope his partner likes work more than Jaffer does. As for Guergis, I don't believe she's on the road to redeeming herself at all. Ontarians are too smart to elect the likes of her again. Imo, these two were just a flash in the pan and soon both will have to find real jobs.

  35. Anyone want to guess why SDA has thousands of hits every day, has well surpassed the tens of millions mark in total visits, and is undoubtedly the most read political blog in the country?

    Here's the most recent post, comparing the FACTS of this matter with how it's been reported by agenda media:


    Fox is by far the most watched cable news network, because they report the facts that the public deserves to see, rather than on what leftist information gatekeepers deem "correct" for the ignorant masses.

    Also when you're there, check out the top links to the plethora of AGW information, our agenda driven media knows about, but refuses to report on.

    • Biff, no need to sell so hard.

      I don't need to buy my kool aid when I can get it for free.

      • One is left to wonder, which of the facts and comparisons contained in the above link you think are untrue. Given the broad brush drive by I'd venture to guess that you don't particularily care, but rather simply wish the message would not be delivered.

  36. Young couple? Guergis is now 40/41ish – that's middle age.

    Power couple? What power?

  37. Well IMO National Post's Joesph Brean did a much better job in reporting on the Jaffer punishment than The Maclean's crew posting under Colby Cosh's byline. It will take some seriously good reporting by Mr. Cosh to regain my trust and interest.


    "According to Statistics Canada, in 2006-07, there were 95,503 impaired driving charges in Canada.

    Those led to 32,594 convictions, of which about 10% resulted in prison sentences, 11% in probation, less than 1% in conditional sentences, and 85% in fines, of which the average was around $800."

    So Mr. Jaffer was in the minority of the 35% of people that get caught DUI that actually get any punishment at all.

    Only 7.6 % of people caught DUI get prison senteces,probabtion or conditional sentences.

    Compared to the norm Mr. Jaffer got treated relatively harshly by our "justice" system.

    That so many people do this serious crime and get caught and don't get significant punishment is the real story.

    • So Mr. Jaffer was in the minority of the 35% of people that get caught DUI that actually get any punishment at all.

      DUI charges were dropped. He was convicted of Careless Driving. This is not the same as being convicted of DUI and then being fined $500.

      If you are going to argue misrepresentation or underreporting of facts by others, it would seem to me, when quoting, you should demonstrate an ability to actually understand what you are referring to.

  38. I hope that the person posting under MaggieFarmboy was making up that they worked in an Attorney General department that was severe and successful in prosecuting DUI.

    The alternative would be that the taxpayer paid lawyers for are utterly and hopeless clueless or have adopted a hug-a-thug mentality that any conviction is considered severe.

    • Thank you for helping me see the error of my ways, Voice of Reason.

      I have not prosecuted a case since 2002.

      Here are the StatsCan figures for that year:

      "Of the more than 452,000 cases heard in the courts in 2001/02, nearly 53,000, or about 12%, involved impaired driving offences. This was the largest offence category and compares to 11% for common assault and 9% for theft.

      Just under three-quarters (73%) of cases involving impaired driving resulted in a conviction, somewhat higher than 60% for all Criminal Code offences, 50% for violent crimes and 62% for property crimes."


      Remember these stats are for cases that include those that made there way through full trial, so, clearly, an even lower percentage are stayed by the prosecutor.

      That's why I said that our office's stats were much better than the 50% rate you quoted.

      Nice try, though.

      • Only 7.6 % of people caught DUI get prison senteces,probabtion or conditional sentences.

        I made up the 50% and stated it was made up as an example. The 7.6% actual conviction rate (to an extent worse than Jaffers) for DUI charged is a bit less than the 50% I took as a worst case example.

        Do 65% of the other crimes charged not make it to the courts?

        • Sorry, BCVOP

          I can't make heads or tails of your question.

          "Actual Conviction Rate"?

          I have no idea what you mean by that.

          Suffice it to say,

          1) The conviction rate on DUIs, in my experience, is much better than 50%.
          2) If the breathalyzer has worked properly, and/or the police have recorded sufficient indicators of impairment, prosecutors do not stay DUI charges unless the Charter breach is egregious. Serious Charter errors do not occur in anything like 50% of the cases, in my experience.
          3) This does not automatically mean that Jaffer's plea bargain was necessarily inappropriate in the circumstances, or was as a result of his political connections. It simply means it was not the most common outcome, and in the circumstances, bears some explanation.
          4) An explanation would help clear the air and restore the public's faith in the system.

          Finally, the notion that I was a "hug -a-thug" prosecutor would make my friends and colleagues snicker (On the other hand I did try to be fair at all times. You would be surprised at the weirdness that occurs in the criminal courts. Even the most respectable people lie under pressure on the stand).

          You may wish to refer to my posts on the detainee issue, as an indication that I try not to approach any issue from an ideological or partisan perspective (I probably slip up at times). I do like to poke fun at hypocrisy, though.


        • By the manner in which you are improperly quoting statistics here and on other entries, I am lead to believe you don't know what you are talking about.

          Jaffer faced three charges:

          1) Careless driving – for doing 93 km/h or whatever through a village with a posted speed limit of 50. This is why he was pulled over – he was clocked by the OPP. This is the relevant section of the Highwat Traffic Act of Ontario:

          Careless driving

          130. Every person is guilty of the offence of driving carelessly who drives a vehicle or street car on a highway without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway and on conviction is liable to a fine of not less than $400 and not more than $2,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both, and in addition his or her licence or permit may be suspended for a period of not more than two years. 2009, c. 5, s. 41.

          2. DUI – the OPP officer smelled alcohol on his breath – and he was required to undergo a breathalyser tes which he blew over 0.80. His license was subsequently suspended for 90 days.

          3. Possession of cocaine. When asked to empty his pockets to be held in jail (or whenever) he was found to be in the possession of cocaine.

          Now, items #2 and #3 had been dropped. Only #1 proceeded to court, and he plead guilty and was fined $500. So, why do you continue on quoting statistics on the conviction rates of DUI etc?

  39. Where have all the gophers gone?
    Long time passing
    Where have all the gophers gone?
    Long time ago
    Where have all the gophers gone?
    Helena's shot them every one
    When will they ever learn?
    When will they ever learn?


  40. http://www.infowars.com/canadians-revive-random-r

    The Harper government appears ready to move ahead with imposing random roadside breath testing, which a new federal discussion paper says has produced “remarkable results” in catching drunk drivers in other countries.
    The proposal has encountered skepticism, however, with civil liberties proponents warning that the new legislation could give police the power to detain drivers without reasonable grounds or suspicion.
    “The reality is that it creates a bit of a police-state mentality in which an innocent person can be subjected to a whole host of testings,” said Edward Prutschi, a Toronto criminal lawyer.
    “One's going to have to put an awful lot of faith in the typical officer on the road because they are going to be given a dramatically expanded discretion — basically absolute carte blanche — to stop anyone, anywhere, anytime and demand breath alcohol testing.”

  41. Amazing what money and connections can buy in the Canadian just-us system.

  42. Hitting on the messenger again, aren't you?

    If CBC was so wrong, let Jaffer sue them.

    • He would be suing the Canadian taxpayers.

  43. BC Voice of Reason,

    your stats are wasted here.

    This is about partisan "gotcha" politics where facts and context have no bearing on the matter.

    The irony is that the far left crowd here, while dawing the hats of angry sheriff willing to point the six shooter at the "bad guy" so so only because the target is on an eeeevil conservative,

    the rest of their days are spent advocating for lenient sentences, blaming society for wrongdoing, and throwing out the notion of personal responsibility generally.

    While they do this, they point the finger of hypocracy at the conservatives.

    Rich, layers.

  44. RE-Jaffer- gorgeous & Iggy——All have the same ambition–climbinhg the ladder whichever way it sways!!! Jafer & his wife should now get as far away from politics as possible– tired of hearing about it!! It's the justice system at fault here– & must explain!!! I'm certain -in Jaffers case– a loop hole was found– as he grovelled -for this sentence– as who wants a police record on a resumae!!!! HIs wife should just go back to –where she came from–who needs air heads like that!!! Iggy is a pompous —ss–in waiting–4 a throne– get lost !!!

  45. i totally disbelief this drivel i think they a couple of low down drug lords pushing and posing to heighten drug sales….

  46. Who wrote the first paragraph?
    Vibrant and dapper?
    If I want this kind of fashion journalism I'll buy it at the Superstore checkout.
    Oh wait, that's the last time I saw a paper copy of Maclean's outside of my doctor's office.
    I get it now.

  47. I have to say – good article.
    I would like to point out that these folks are people. To say that because they are or were Conservative members, all Conservatives are like them is unfair at best. That would be the same, if a Liberal were ever accused/convicted of murder, to call all Liberals murderers. Obviously that wouldn't be true.
    There are some good people in politics, with very high integrity. They are in every party out there. They probably cringe when they see stuff like this. What I really think this proves, and the Liberals have proved it with all of their 'scandals' as well, is that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. (The NDP have yet to have power, so they really end up looking like boy scouts – lol)
    People, this isn't a 'which party are they from story' – it's a 'look what being in power does' story. The Liberals will get their chance evantually as well, and I am sure that they won't leave the scandal pages empty. :)
    My two cents.

  48. I see this couple turning into spencer and heidi pratt.
    I wonder which one will get plastic surgery is next?

  49. disapear………you are have become your wifes misfotunes.you ARE the blame

  50. Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he won't take any action against one of his Calgary MPs who has been named in a Bank of Montreal civil lawsuit over what the bank alleges was a massive mortgage fraud.

    Devinder Shory, the Conservative MP for Calgary Northeast and a lawyer, is among the 300 people, including Alberta lawyers, mortgage brokers and four BMO employees, named in the suit.

    PM Proved that he is from a typical read-neck country!! he proved that he has double standard. He slammed and removed two of his ex MP for using Blackberry phone a business card and some old social contacts?? but he came out to speak IN FAVOUR for a historical fraud of a MP from his cabinet for 75 Millions? What a double faced he is and what a shame for this party to being so discriminate. Because one is JRahim Jaffer and other is Indian Shorry, thats a main difference b/w them.

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