Wednesday, June 16, 2010 8:27 AM
June 16, 2010
In a letter to the committee sent Tuesday evening, he says he “took no money, government or otherwise. I used no influence. I traded no favours and I breached no trust.”
He writes, however, that he was “so upset about the treatment of his wife by the Prime Minister” that he wanted to appear before the committee immediately to “fix the situation.”
He may have made it worse, admitting in the letter that he was “unprepared for the aggressive and nasty tone of some of the questioning at the Committee.”
The letter was obtained by The Globe and Mail; it was sent to the committee clerk, Marc-Olivier Girard, Tuesday.
Mr. Jaffer wants to set the record straight and explain everything — but just not today.
The former Conservative MP from Edmonton will ignore a summons from the government operations committee to appear this afternoon.
He says he needs to attend a medical appointment with his wife, former Harper cabinet minister, Helena Guergis.
Ms. Guergis, who was fired from cabinet and expelled from her own caucus, has been ordered to rest by her doctors for an undisclosed medical condition. She said in an interview last week that this was an important medical appointment and she needed her husband with her.
“It is not clear to me why the Committee insists on separating Mr. Jaffer from his wife at a personal medical appointment,” Mr. Jaffer’s lawyer, Frank Addario, wrote in a letter yesterday to the clerk, Mr. Girard.
The letter was also obtained by The Globe and Mail.
In it, Mr. Addario asserts that Mr. Jaffer, who is being investigated for alleged lobbying practices related to his business, would be more than willing to appear Thursday, Friday, or next Tuesday or Wednesday.
The committee had earlier rejected these other dates, sending an e-mail to Mr. Addario summoning Mr. Jaffer to Parliament Hill for 3:30 p.m. today.
Mr. Addario was not representing Mr. Jaffer during his first appearance last April — an appearance that proved to be quite disastrous.
Yesterday, however, he sent the committee clerk the letter from Mr. Jaffer, outlining some of the issues raised from his previous appearance:
Mr. Jaffer writes that he was “stunned” to be accused “without a shred of evidence” of taking government money or breach of trust.
“I was appalled that it occurred at a House Committee,” he writes. “I think my answers reflected how confused and shocked I was by the content and tenor of the questioning.”
As he suggests, he appeared evasive, unprepared and confused during that appearance; he did not handle himself well or state his case clearly.
In his letter to the committee he addresses that:
“I now know that I was wrong,” he writes. “I inadvertently ended up providing incomplete information to the Committee about a couple of important things and I really regret that. It has embarrassed me. I apologize to the Committee.”
At the committee last April there were questions about his personal website that still featured the Conservative logo and talked about “his ability to secure support from the Conservative government.”
In his letter he says he “had forgotten what was on my personal website since I didn’t use it for GPG business.”
He also deals with the issue of the letter his wife wrote on behalf of one of her constituents, Jim Wright, who was involved in a potential business deal with Mr. Jaffer.
“I acknowledge that she should not have been promoting Jim Wright’s business in her personal capacity if GPG [Mr. Jaffer’s company] was still doing business with him,” he writes.
But he says that he had told his wife that he was not doing business with him not realizing his partner, Patrick Glemaud, was still trying to initiate something.
“I wouldn’t have told her it was appropriate to send a routine letter if I thought there was a chance of it causing a problem for anyone,” he writes, noting that he had a “personally challenging autumn.” Mr. Jaffer was facing charges of cocaine possession, speeding and drinking and driving.
He admits he was not as involved in his business as he should have been, characterizing it as an “inadvertent mistake.”
“I regret not doing so … it was obviously not intended to engage Helena in wrongdoing since I was keenly aware that my business relationships and her correspondence were presumptively public matters.”
Committee members were also interested in the use by Mr. Jaffer of a BlackBerry issued to him by his wife; every MP is given four BlackBerrys.
He said he did not use it for his personal use; It was used to keep track of her busy schedule as it was synchronized with hers and schedule changes were automatically updated.
He said he had it for 14 months. “I acknowledge that there may have been a few occasions on which I sent emails, others sent me emails or I replied on the government-issue wireless. This would have been inadvertent.”
And he says that it is “not true” that he used his wife’s office for personal business, admitting, however, that he did meet with Scott Wenger, an aide to Environment Minister Jim Prentice, “once in relation to a personal matter which he wanted to discuss with me.”
Mr. Prentice has said that “their discussions involved representations by Mr. Jaffer on behalf of a company.”
The letter is signed by him; it is not clear yet how the committee will deal with his absence.
The couple had wanted to try to clear their names before the summer but with the House proposing to rise Thursday it is doubtful they will be able to.
Ha Ha Ha - He also "inadvertently" had a load of Cocaine on him while he
CHOSE to drive drunk and CHOSE to speed. With his political connections, he
chose to not accept responsibility for his actions and the charges magically
Now he wants to "explain everything"...
This has got to be a wonderful opportunity for him to shoot himself in the foot rather more permanently.
He can start with explaining why he had a load of cocaine, did he inject it, did he snort it, did he smoke it?
He was driving drunk, what was he celebrating? His latest illegal lobbiest scheme? He was speeding, did his drug and alcohol somehow make him drive faster?