Saturday, 19 September 2009

Rahim Jaffer,to fight liquor, cocaine charges

Rahim Jaffer, a former Conservative MP, was driving in his wife's riding last Friday when he was pulled over for speeding by police in Palgrave, Ont., near Toronto. He was alone in the vehicle, a Ford Escape.A roadside screening device was used to get a breath sample from Mr. Jaffer, who was then arrested and taken to the Caledon OPP station, where he provided two more breath samples while being held in cells for about four hours. He was charged with impaired driving, possession of cocaine and speeding, before being released. His licence was also suspended for 90 days.
"I intend to fight the serious accusations that have been made against me," Mr. Jaffer, 37, said in a written statement emailed yesterday to the Edmonton Journal.
"I am innocent and am confident of full exoneration. I cannot express how grateful I am for the support of my family and friends and I ask that you respect their privacy as I strive to clear my name."He is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 19 in Orangeville."I take this very seriously," Ms. Guergis told reporters who thronged about her as she got out of her government limousine. "I love my husband very much and I don't really have enough information to give you a fuller comment. If you do [want to] talk about it, please call my husband."When a reporter asked if she was in the car when Mr. Jaffer was pulled over, she said firmly, "No, I was not, and we have a very important event today. Do not disrespect that."Ms. Guergis was surrounded by several Conservative MPs and ministers including Defence Minister Peter Mac-Kay, Heritage Minister James Moore, Trade Minister Stockwell Day and Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt.Mr. Jaffer was a four-term MP, first elected in 1997 at age 25. Last fall, he was the only Conservative to lose a riding in Alberta. The party selected a new candidate, Ryan Hastman, to challenge Edmonton-Strathcona MP Linda Duncan whenever another federal election is called.On Parliament Hill, politicians from all parties had little to say about Mr. Jaffer's arrest and what, if any, implications it might have for Ms. Guergis' political position."This is an unfortunate matter," Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff said. "This is a man who held public trust, and it's before the courts and I have no further comment to make about it." An advisor in Mr. Ignatieff's office said he has instructed his MPs not to discuss or attempt to make a political issue out of the matter.Said NDP MP Judy Wasylycia-Leis: "I hope he gets the help he needs and I hope, you know, Helena is going to be strong in this relationship throughout all of this."



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