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The cycle


 

The Liberal side was, if memory serves, not terribly impressed when Conservative backbenchers were sent up, in the midst of Ruby Dhalla’s nanny problems, to ask terribly serious questions about the matter’s implications.

And so the Conservative side was terribly outraged—John Baird was particularly and audibly appalled—when, a short while ago, the Liberals sent up Anita Neville to ask if the government had any comment on the sentencing of those who are charged with driving while intoxicated and drug possession.

Here now, the transcript of today’s exchange.

Hon. Anita Neville (Winnipeg South Centre, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, members of the government are always quick to comment on any court judgment that does not align with their “get tough on crime” rhetoric. They always say, “You do the crime, you do the time”. What then is the government’s comment on a dangerous driver, in possession of illicit drugs who gets off with no record and a $500 slap on the wrist?

Some hon. members: Oh, oh.

The Speaker: The hon. Minister of Justice. Order, please. Order, please.

Hon. Rob Nicholson (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I–

The Speaker: Order, please. The hon. Minister of Justice has the floor. Order, please.

Hon. Rob Nicholson: I almost do not know where to begin to comment on such an irresponsible question, Mr. Speaker. The government initiated the Director of Public Prosecutions for the very reason to make sure there would never be any political interference of any prosecution in this country. That should have the support of the hon. member, and she should get up, withdraw and apologize for that comment.

Some hon. members: Oh, oh.

The Speaker: The hon member for Winnipeg South Centre. Order, please.

Hon. Anita Neville (Winnipeg South Centre, Lib.): Mr. Speaker–

Some hon. members: Oh, oh.

The Speaker: Order, please. Order, please. The hon. member Winnipeg South Centre has the floor.

Hon. Anita Neville (Winnipeg South Centre, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, what a hypocritical answer this minister gives. The government tries to pass the buck and the Conservatives are conspicuously silent, only when the law is being flouted by one of their own. Even the judge thought this was a “break” Why the double standard? Nothing stopped them from commenting before. Does the government really believe that the punishment fits the crime?

Hon. Rob Nicholson (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, CPC): Mr. Speaker, that is about as low as one can go, in my opinion. This hon. member is talking about a provincial prosecution in front of a provincial judge within the appeal period, and she is asking us to comment. That is completely irresponsible and she should apologize to this House.


 

The cycle

  1. Hopefully the Liberals drop this, it has no class and is poor strategy.

    • Agreed, heckling is best left to the peanut gallery (ie, us).

      • Too bad the Liberals don't realize this. Anita Neville should be ashamed of herself.

        • Why should Anita be ashamed? For the past few years she has been the victim of slanderous ten percenters sent into her riding by various Conservative peons (read: backbench MPs). When confronted with their lies, the Tories refuse to apologize. They constantly refuse to play fair and stick to the facts. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, Anita is entitled to her just desserts. Turnabout is fair play and if the CONS can't handle it then they shouldn't live in glass houses.

          • Ah, the good old they do it too! justification.

            It only took 5 comments to trot it out. It never gets old, no matter which side is saying it.

          • It's as predictable as clockwork.

          • While I can understand her anger, this is not constructive.

        • "Too bad the Liberals don't realize this. Anita Neville should be ashamed of herself."

          No way. Go Ms. Neville! Throw that Conservative hypocrisy right back in their faces. Up their noses…if they aren't already occupied by other substances, that is.

          It's just an added bonus to see the Conservative den-mothers here pursing their lips and clucking their tongues at this indecorous behaviour.

          *snort*

          • *snort*

            Tut-tut, Tiggy. You shouldn't snort so much – you'll get a nosebleed.

        • Kory Tenyke didn't attack Anita Neville in his appearance on Power Play. In fact, he drew the distinction about the conduct of public figures. You should have quit long ago after your first comment on this issue.

          http://watch.ctv.ca/news/latest/jaffer-fined/#cli

    • A missed apportunity to rise to a higher standard.

      • Sadly, missing these opportunities seems to encourage one's opponents to send more 10 per-centers…

      • The Liberals have missed many such opportunities. Almost all of them, in fact.

    • Agreed. I thought what the Tories did to Dhalla was reprehensible. And she was a sitting MP who, one could (and sadly oh so many did) argue was fair game for partisan hackery.

      This guy is a private citizen. For the opposition to howl about a specific case during Qp and "within the appeal period" is, just maybe, even more contemptible.

  2. I don't much care for this matter to be debated on the House floor but I would love it if some reporter could look into why Jaffer got off so easy.

    • the same reason as for everyone else.

      • Because he knows somebody? Now who would that be???

        • because it was his first offence, and the evidence was not airtight

          • Would the evidence have been airtight if it was you or me?

          • Let's see, an angry, vitrolic hissy blow-out at an airport that results in the plane being held and no one being thrown in the jug. Now, caught with blow and booze on the breath and a gentle slap. This is the CONs get-tough-on-crime policy? If it had been a non-political heavyweight trying to break past airport security or speeding around with coke, I really wonder how this would have turned out.
            Air tight or not, the evidence would have not raised the defence mechanisms of the above CON choir.

          • I covered a lot of court cases in my time. I only ever saw a DUI thrown out once after a positive roadside breath test, and that was because the OPP "forgot" to calibrate the machine back at the station. The Mayor's wife was very lucky that night…

            To have laid both dui and possession charges and mess them both up beyond hope of conviction is a remarkable situation. To have a DUI dropped down to a traffic ticket just doesn't happen these days.

    • yeah. does Macleans have a reporter that they could put on the case. it is interesting from a number of angles including the partisan ones (see Akins writing about the judge) and the process of the prosecution (who approved the charges? based on what evidence existed? where did that evidence go to? etc). there is a solid piece for the magazine in this story.

  3. It was phrased a little more directly than that, Aaron. Neville made allusions to the CPC "tough on crime" stance, and then mocked it by pointing out Jaffer's sentence. Thus implying the CPC had something to do with influencing the outcome.

    • To be honest, I couldn't really hear what all she was saying amid the noise. A full transcript will go up as soon as it is available.

    • Adrian, if that's true, then hopefully someone in the Canadian media will report it.

      • Adrian, if that's true, then hopefully someone in the Canadian media will report it.

        Dream on…

        Apparently our media, starting with David Akin, are now questioning the objectivity of the judge presiding over the case by pointing out his connection to the Conservatives…even though the felony charges were dropped before reaching him. Nice, David.

        I wonder if David was one of the media who blasted Harper for his comments about the "Liberal judiciary".

        • who is the "activist judge" lol. The hypocrisy continues… seems from the transcript that Rob Nicholson was blowing some smoke. Well played sir, now the Blogging Tories will pick up on this story.

  4. Point made, Libs, now move on.

    You don't "outclass" your opponents and "raise the bar" by jumping into the mud with them.

    We know that "Our principles do not apply to us" is a rule among the Harper Conservatives. Don't set things up for yourself on this.

    • Completely agree. What smacks as mostly significant is the continued hypocrisy of Harper and his team of conbots, eager to invent mud and throw it with abandon. Living the 'holier than thou' lives of us others isn't going to go unnoticed when the fall from grace is so steep.
      It's been pointed out and now to move on from this point; hopefully the CONs will gain a better sense of 'class' from this — yah, and cow's will fly!

  5. Speaking of, does anyone know where CPAC transcripts are made available? Or is this something that you do by transcribing from the video?

    • I'm not sure CPAC distributes or posts transcripts. The press gallery is sent an early transcript at about 4:30 each day—all such transcripts done by the House transcription service. (We journalists sitting in the gallery aren't permitted to tape the proceedings.)

    • Transcripts of what is said in the House are available through Hansard. (I recommend googling Hansard, rather than trying to navigate your way through the Legislature's page).

      Some court transcripts (SCOC) are also available publicly.

      Other things that are held in camera or otherwise on CPAC may or may not be available, I haven't so far been interested enough to look.

  6. According to Ontario driving fines, 43 km/h over the limit is a speeding ticket of $322.50.

    Jaffer paid $500, while also being under the influence and in possession of coke. So the question then becomes, why should Ontarians not drunk or on coke only pay $177.50 less than Jeffer?

    • Yes, I guess that is one of the questions. Not sure if it is "the" question, though.

    • I hope he at least racked up some demerit points.

      I wonder if has to pay higher auto insurance now? I hope so. He's dangerous.

  7. As a normal person who doesn't use cocaine, drink and drive, and abuse nannies, and scream allegations at my colleagues I'm unable to judge on the matter.

    • Perhaps you should get help… who knows what you are missing?

  8. This majority of comments on thread are ridiculous.

    Conservatives want to raise the penalties for getting caught possessing drugs. They want sentencing governed by strict guidelines. The Conservative Party is against giving judges the room to do exactly what this judge in Orangeville just did – giving Jaffer a break.

    A 'normal' person caught with cocaine stands a good chance of spending time in jail if the conservatives have their way.

    Their silence over Jaffer points to their hypocrisy. Isn't making Conservative hypocrisy evident, yelling it from the rooftops, a good way to derail their approach to crime?

    The Conservatives are trying to pass legislation which will be terrible for Canada. The Liberals are right to use Jaffer's arrest to mock conservatives as ridiculous.

    • Absolutely agreed that this shows how hypocritical the Conservatives are and how unreasonable their crime policies are.

      I do, however, think that publicly jumping upon the criminal charges of a private citizen – for that is what he is now – or the private affairs of a public servant or a private citizen to forward a political agenda is not serving the public.

    • Actually, pushing a mandatory minimum sentence strategy like the CPC likes to TALK about can actually result in many more Jaffer-like situations. If a simple charge can lead to a felony conviction with mandatory jail time, everyone involved (crown, defense, judge) have enormous incentives to plea the charge down.

      If a custodial sentence is the only possible outcome of a guilty verdict, the defense will do whatever it takes to drag out a case. The crown doesn't want to go to trial on every infraction, saving their resources for more complicated trials, so they want to dispatch smaller charges, too. The judges would rather the crown and defense work out a deal before court, so they don't have to sort through what should be a simple case, saving the court's time for the tougher trials. Taking away a judge's discretion in sentencing may not result in tougher sentencing … just more pleas.

      Of course that's part of the problem. Not everyone has the same pull when trying to negotiate a plea bargain. We may be equal in the eyes of the court, but we are very unequal on the courthouse steps. Jaffer knows this.

      • Right. So people without decent legal representation, i.e. the ability to plea bargain, go to jail. While those able to plea bargain, i.e. rich and/or connected people, get to bargain away thier misdeeds.

        I'm not against plea bargaining by any stretch. But I am against Canada becoming a more unequal society. Like we just witnessed with Jaffer, as a politician took a strong stand against drugs.

    • Funny. I think it could be successfully argued by the conservatives that this is exactly what they want their legislation to pass for. So that this kind of thing doesn't happen. However, while they may not agree with the sentence that was passed for this kind of offence, they are going to respect jurisprudence and the will of law, and insist that Jaffer fulfill his sentence to society as passed down before allowing him to return to work, and incidentally, if the oppositions doesn't have faith in the Canadian Legal System, then perhaps they should support the Conservatives crime bill.

      Seriously, I see this as a lose-lose for the Opposition if they chase it. Now, if they can prove corruption or something on the judge, that's something else. But.. that's something else.

      • I don't think your argument will resonate with that many people. Not that it is a bad argument. It's too tricky. Too involved.

  9. exactly. Take out a CONservative party membership before you start doing this, Neville! ribbit!

  10. It's true. I watched it live on CPAC. We'll wait for the official transcript though to hear what the exact wording was. She got booed quite heartily.

  11. I agree Mike that my comment was poorly written. I should have focused on the fact that the actual evidence and other facts of the case are not in the public domain.

  12. Seems all reflected in the transcript as posted by Aaron.

    • Nice allegations being made by Akin here. I wonder if he realizes that the felony charges were dropped before they even got to the judge?

      • Yeah, I don't think these are "allegations" so much as responses to the "This is a provincial matter, and it's Liberal Dalton McGuinty's fault that there are lax judges like this" accusations from certain Tories. Of course, the fact that the plea bargain was struck before it came before the judge is also a refutation of those accusations. It's worth remembering though that for every "this is a Tory insider getting a sweet deal" allegation, there was a counter "this is Liberal, crime-loving Ontario run a muck" allegation.

      • "I wonder if he realizes that the felony charges were dropped before they even got to the judge?"

        There are no such things as "felony charges" in Canada.

      • Akin was merely responding to the insinuation by Vic Toews that the light sentence was because it was in a Liberal province.

      • I don't see what Akin "tweeted" as allegations, but as facts (at least I hope they are, and he's a trustworthy journalist, right?). All he did was tell us where the judge used to work and who appointed him to the bench.

        And they are kind of interesting in light of what's happened, aren't they? Even if they aren't what you would want to read about, Akin's "facts" do point to a Tory-friendly judge, don't they?

        • Not really no…because the main charges were dropped before they reached the judge. The political affiliation, if any, of the judge is irrelevant.

          The only thing the judge had to do was decide the fine for the guilty plea of careless driving. Minimum fine is $200, and maximum is $1000. Jaffer got $500, for a first time offender pleading guilty and facing no other charges. How is pointing out that the judge is affiliated with the Conservatives anything other than stirring the pot???

          • So next time something happens regarding a Chretien/Martin appointee you'll be practising the same cautious, calm words of restraint? Unfortunately, we can't go back in time to show you being true to this sudden interest in non-partisanism…

          • I can personally guarantee you that I won't be blaming a partisan judge when charges are droppped by the prosecutor before the judge even gets involved.

          • No its not. This story was political from the get-go. And it is only going to get more so.

            Toews is saying this is what happens in Liberal Ontario, implying Jaffer is getting off easy as a result of Liberal policy. Faced with that political attack it is right and proper to point out the judge's Conservative affiliations.

            As one side escalates its rhetoric, the other side follows.

            The icing on the cake is the anti-drug poses from Jaffer's past.

        • Well, everyone is appointed by one of the two major parties. I am willing to give judges hte benefit of the doubt.

  13. That is more time than the average member of the public, not to say yours truly, will spend, however. Perhaps we need a PBO for criminal justice. Or a Minister who would be willing to tell the truth about crime in this country. But something must be done to overcome the disconnect between public perceptions and the truth.

    • I would like to see the media make a thorough effort to tackle it honestly, even it makes for longer, duller stories (oddly enough, we were just talking about responsible journalism yesterday!)

      As for the need for stiffer sentencing, I gotta say if we had mandatory jail for every possession of controlled substance, we simply might not be able to run our prisons (and if we could guarantee enforcement, the 10% of the population charged with a crime you mention would undoubtedly skyrocket). If anything, I would like to see a longer license suspension.

    • Was this really an attempt to "blame" the Liberals though, or just a way to point out how little influence the Fed Cons would have even if they WANTED to influence the case?

      I guess it depends on if you see the glass as half-full or half Harper-is-evil.

      • I don't know. I am just reporting the tweet and didn't hear it firsthand.

        But if what you are saying was the case, it would seem odd and unnecessary to reference the fact that it is a "Liberal" province, instead of just noting it is a provincial matter.

        • Oh, I think the fact that it's a Liberal province IS relevant. I could easily imagine people saying this was just an example of Prov Tories scratching the backs of Fed Tories if it were a PC province.

    • "The Conservatives end their silence on the Jaffer case by… blaming the Liberals."

      And yet you think remaining classy will work this bunch?

  14. Fibs Pt. 1:

    His lawyer, Howard Rubel, said outside court there was never any allegation that Jaffer was driving while impaired or under the influence of "any substance, alcohol or otherwise."

    — Except for the DUI (after failing a breathalyzer) and cocaine possession charges sworn out by the police and backed by charges from the Crown, right Mr. Rubel?

    Fibs, Pt. 2:

    "I know that I should have been more careful," he said outside court. "Once again I apologize for that, and I take full responsibility for my careless driving."

    — He regrets that he wasn't more careful (of course, he was caught!) and he wishes to apologize for "careless driving" (not for drinking and getting behind the wheel or for being in possession of cocaine).

    Weasel words for weasels.

    BTW: If it wasn't Mr. Jaffer's cocaine, whose was it?

      • Agree 100% Ted.
        And the career killing publicity is also part of the sentence.

        • Question for you Wilson and I'm not trying to goad or be a sarcastic prick, I'm genuinely interested.

          If you think it is a good thing that the disretion is permitted in this case to allow for abbreviated sentences because of the personal "impact" of the publicity, how do you feel about mandatory minimums that would take that discretion away in a case just like this?

      • Do you mean a) in a choice between his career and an inoccent road user you are glad it is his career that is over or b) are you glad that both are true?

        I'm curious since I saw (amd still see) some potential in Jaffer to be a good MP – am I the only one?

        • The guy was caught with cocaine and driving while under the influence. He gets off with a tiny slap on the pinkie and takes full responsibility for "driving carelessly" while his lawyers say he did nothing wrong. 25 months after he introduced a bill in favour of mandatory minimum sentences for drug offences.

          Yup, you are the only one who thinks he still has potential.

          • Thanks for your reply. Totally agree wrt your apparent frustration regarding the comments of the lawyer.

            Still not exactly sure why I feel he has potential, but thanks again for your candor.

          • He should volunteer himself to serve the mandatory minumim.

            Practice what you preach.

        • Yup.

          • Hmmm. Noted.

          • Ditto. Those his carefully crafted 'apology' sounds like a politician in the making…

      • Agreed!

  15. I don't know if he's still on the Con payroll in some capacity, but Rahim is definitely not an MP anymore, and he was never as high profile as Ruby (whom I miss terribly), so that's a big difference right there.

  16. Are judges in Canada forbidden from speaking to the media?

    Whenever a story about a lenient sentence makes the news, I've always wondered why we don't get shots of TV reporters chasing judges in lobbies and parking lots looking for answers.

    • It's generally considered bad form, esp. as regards a specific case. In everything that reaches a full trial there's going to be reasons given and often written ones. A judge acting professionally, if he answered reporter's questions at all, would probably just say "All the relevant information is contained in the judgment."

    • It is only in America where you see journalists chasing down jurists and judges. Quite verbotten here, though more and more are following up with jurists.

      • Which, as was explained to me a couple years back when I got hooked for jury duty (they picked me on the Friday of a week spent waiting…), is also verbotten.

  17. The problem with this is that Anita Neville made a direct charge of corruption and interference with a provincial court against the government. There may well be questions that need to be asked, but direct accusations of what would amount to criminal corruption cannot be made lightly, just for the purposes of scoring points in question period. It would behoove her well to first question the Ontario Provincial court about the case and collect the evidence that a corrupt transaction took place, before making the accusation. As it was she attempted to get the Federal Minister of Justice to comment on a Provincial court case during the potential appeal period, which had he answered may ver well have gotten him in hot water with the province.

    • Maybe Neville would like to walk outside the sheltered confines of the HoC and repeat her contemptible remarks.

      • Can you give the specific "contemptible remarks" that are being protected by "the sheltered confines of the HoC" ?

    • I think your stretching Neville's comments to paint them as 'a direct charge of corruption and interference'.

  18. All parties and all MPs should be pretty damn careful about treading on stuff like this. Neither Ms. Dhalla or Mr. Jaffer's issues have anything to do with the workings of government and frankly leave one open to the same type of attack should they (those who do not fear to tread) wind up in a bit of trouble themselves.

    As an aside, I have no earthly clue why Mr. Jaffer got the fine he did as opposed to a stiffer sentence (well I THINK I know, but thats another thing), but I do hope he's okay. Addiction is a disease that can strike anyone, and regardless of what one assumes about his connections in government, above anything else here's hoping he's healthy.

    • As I said in the other thread, do we even know what a reasonable plea bargain is in the circumstances for:

      first time offender

      possesion but no trafficking

      gainfully employed

      Crown might have trouble proving the drug stuff (for any one of a hundred reasons which haven't been touched on in the press in any manner which woudl allow readers to evaluate properly).

      this could be not out of the ordinary at all.

      • I think what you say about this case in relation to other cases is probably correct.

        Isn't this what one is talking about, though, when one talks about the need for stiffer sentencing? It's damaging to public morale to have a high-profile defendant like Jaffer essentially get off scot-free. Sure, he's a first-time offender, not a dealer, employed; and the drug stuff might be hard to prove for some technical reason; and it's not in the public interest to have Jaffer himself thrown in jail. But what does it tell the average joe about the efficacy of the justice system if you can be pulled over for dangerously speeding through a small town, high on coke, and not go to jail? It says: dangerous speeding isn't a big deal, possession isn't a big deal, you'll get off. Perhaps that doesn't actually affect the crime stats, but it makes the average law-abiding citizen wonder why he bothers abiding by the law.

        • Of course, on the other hand, Jaffer went through exactly the process he was supposed to and presumably the same process joe-average would go through. As Crit pointed out, currently lots of low level drug charges are dropped. If we assume that our judges and prosecutors are in fact competent, then this simply says that application of the law is too complex for charges and senstences to be applied out of context by layman.

          If the criminal system did in fact treat Jaffer the same as everyone else, then the difference is that both Jaffer and his partner received a public skewering that will no doubt last for weeks and be documented for eternity. So if the judge was correct in his assessment that Jaffer should have no criminal record, he was powerless to stop the very public recording of Jaffer trial in the public's eye and his subsequent sentencing on wikipedia.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rahim_Jaffer

          • I agree Jaffer was probably treated like joe-average would have been treated, had joe average been pulled over for speeding through town while high on cocaine. But this is not something most people will ever do. Jaffer belongs to the 10% of Canadians who are ever going to find themselves charged with a criminal offense. For the rest of us, it's moot.

            If we assume that our judges and prosecutors are in fact competent, then this simply says that application of the law is too complex for charges and senstences to be applied out of context by layman.

            I agree, except that (as I mentioned above) I think the law is not like brain surgery: it belongs to the public, and the public is the arbiter of whether it is working or not. The public may well be wrong — it usually is, on just about everything. But its opinion really matters.

          • Is there a test for cocaine impairement? I thought he was legally impaired from alcohol. Perhaps MADD will comment, if asked, if the plea bargain was indeed a bargain.

          • I believe there is a test for drug impairment (not sure about cocaine), but as I understand it the law hasn't been applied very frequently — perhaps it's new? I guess I just assumed he was high, perhaps he was merely drunk.

          • The OPP failed to get a breathalyzer sample?

            That may be true, but I read another commenter elsewhere explicitly state that he both took, and FAILED a breathalyzer test.

            Anyone have a link to break the tie?

          • Court heard that Jaffer told police he had two beers before heading home to Angus, Ont., in his Ford Escape from Toronto. He failed a breath test and was arrested. [CP]

            Jaffer didn't dispute that he failed the breath test, but he maintained that he only had two beers, so I think his lawyer was implying that the breath test gave a false failure.

          • Not an argument I've seen work in an impaired case, and I've covered a lot of court cases…

          • Joe Comartin, NDP Justice critic and lawyer, in a scrum yesterday said that he himself, working with the Conservatives had removed the two beer argument from possible defences from within the HofC- suggesting it was no longer legally a possibility.

          • Is there any indication that he was on cocaine while driving? I thought the story was that he was driving above the legal alcohol limit for alcohol, and ALSO had some cocaine in his pocket (or glovebox, or briefcase, or whatever)?

            I would assume that they would only dismiss the charges if there was some kind if "How did that get there? Also, it's not mine." defence, however implausible it might be. And that would only fly if the cops had no evidence of use by the defendant.

          • Oh, sorry, no, I guess I was reading that into it. Quite likely it was just his stash or what have you.

          • I DO think its too complex at the level the media reports at, but not too complex to understand generally if one puts in the time. With a decent criminal law textbook, annotated criminal and access to, say, Canlii.com, anyone could probably get a decent picture of what the average sentence is.

  19. A lose-lose? I don't see that. They just have to stir it up a bit.

    Most people don't drive under the influence while in possession of cocaine and even those charged with driving under the influence and no illegal drugs involved have a conviction rate of about 75% and a minimum fine of $600 for first time offenders. This is the kind of thing that can upset people and be good talk show fodder. Details, such as the judge being appointed by Flaherty, will add to people's interest in and anger about this case.

    Minimum sentences don't do anything for judges who choose to dismiss the charges. You have to be found guilty to get a minimum sentence, so the Conservatives can't really use that angle.

  20. Howzabout "only when the law is being flouted by one of their own."

    • Nope. Not even close. He was convicted of a crime – admitted, even apologized that he was driving dangerously, notwithstanding all of the questionable circumstances and deals.

      • You think the "flouting" in Neville's question has to do with the original offence? Wow. How thick do you think we all are? Or conversely, … never mind — my mother always said if you don't have something nice to say…

  21. You were implying what she said was actionable outside the confines of the HofC. Not. A. Chance.

    • Indeed. Zero possibility of a slander suit from that. Nothing actionable under the current laws.

      Ergo: To Flout – to treat with contemptuous disregard, to indulge in scornful behavior, all true.

      Truth is a powerful defence in a libel/slander case, and it's hard to sue for implication, and it would be impossible to prove defamation beyond what the court case has already done to his reputation. Good luck in proving actual financial damages, as well.

    • I cannot believe I'm agreeing.

      This is so wrong.

    • She also said that Jaffer "was in possession of illicit drugs". Given that the cocaine possession charges were dropped, and she did not use the word "allegedly", she might be in hot water for repeating that outside the house.

      • No she didn't. This is the quote:

        What then is the government's comment on a dangerous driver, in possession of illicit drugs who gets off with no record and a $500 slap on the wrist?

        Where does she say Jaffer? The alleged defamatory statement has to essentially stand alone (ie you don't have to be a current informed political junkie to discern its hidden meaning). I doubt it would be actionable- even if it was completely without foundation (being charged and then having the charge mysteriously disappear in a plea bargain).

        • Well OK, not technically actionable. Just disgraceful.

          However, the new low point for hypocrisy has to be Warren Kinsella. "The Jaffer Justice Joke" he calls it, as well as a "disgrace" on his blog today. Which on it's own is fine.

          But what did he have to say when Maggie Trudeau walked away from her own DUI charge, despite later admitting that she was guilty?

          He called it "great legal news".

          • To be honest, I don't read Kinsella, just largely ignore him. And I don't agree with the disgraceful aspect. By raising it in the HofC it has highlighted an issue that seems to have resonated with parties on all sides – and with the general public. Of course if you are a die-hard CPC partisan, well, your mileage may differ.

          • Disgraceful?? Jaffer was driving at almost twice the allowed speed limit and his breath test registered above the legal minimum. Those appear to be facts presented by the arresting officer and in court. Even putting aside what happened to the alleged cocaine, I think people have a right to get upset with the fact that his charges of DUI were dropped without any plausible explanation.

            Is it too much to expect the Conservatives to state that this is not the best way to deal with people speeding under the influence of alcohol who might also be in possession of cocaine? Recall that Harper himself, as Prime Minister, gave a public and unsolicited opinion on the sentence handed to someone for terrorism a few months ago. It is not like the Conservatives never offer opinions on legal cases that interest them.

  22. I don't think Nevelle was blaming the Tories for Jaffer's sentence or saying that they somehow bribed a judge or something. She is pointing out that the Conservatives often make statements about being tough on crime and criticize soft judges, but when it comes to one of their former MPs getting a light sentence, all of a sudden no one on the Tory bench has anything to say.

  23. I think both sides have a point here. Mr. Jaffer is a private citizen, so his situation should not be discussed on the floor of the House. And it's probably a bad idea for the Liberals to pursue this too much.

    But it would be extremely hypocritical of the Conservatives to pass tough-on-crime legislation that would force judges to send offenders such as Mr. Jaffer to jail if they're willing to grant exemptions to their friends. We run the risk of creating a two-tier justice system – one tier for ordinary citizens, and another tier for the rich, powerful and/or well-connected. This would be a travesty.

    And I suspect that if Mr. Jaffer were a Liberal, the Conservatives would probably not be able to resist scoring partisan points at their opponents' expense, especially given what happened to Ms. Dhalla.

    • Jaffer is lucky he wasn't mean to his mum's nanny.

  24. A lot of to-ing and fro-ing here – missing the main point.
    No-one has said that Jaffer didn't have cocaine in his possession.
    The Crowns – after intervention by Jaffer's Defence Counsel – backed off on that one…
    I'm not a policeman nor a lawyer – but it points to questions about whether the search / seizure of property from his vehicle was legal or not.
    Doesn't say he didn't have it – but certainly looks like some police officer didn't use due diligence to ensure this couldn't be challenged.
    Either way – as the Judge said – Jaffer got a break – this time.
    I'll bet though – there are some interesting entries on CPIC…
    Next time…who knows….

  25. This is why the Libs wont get elected, this trash has to stop, all of it, their whining is not going to get them any further, new strategy is what they need, since they don't seem to want to get rid of their leader.

  26. If the OPP strip searched this person before thy found the coke, they obtained it illegally and it cannot be used against the client. Why did the officer search this person. Sounds like they had no occasion to strip search him. Alas there is the results. You would think if Jaffer had a brain he would be so embarrassed he would resign. He must be oblivious to public opinion. One would also think the dictator who sits in the P.M. seat would ask for this person's resignation. He also is oblivious to public opinion. Oh well so it goes.

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