The Apologetic Side of Rahim Jaffer

It seems that Mr. Jaffer was wrong. He has emailed a letter to Marc-Olivier Girard, Procedural Clerk for the House of Commons Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates apologizing for his last appearance before the Committee back on April 21, 2010.

Here’s a quote from the letter from the Globe today:

"I now know that I was wrong. I inadvertently ending up providing incomplete information to the Committee about a couple of important things and I really regret it. It has embarrassed me. I apologize to the Committee."

How about an apology to Canadians? Is he apologizing because he inadvertently got caught in testimony that his own former Conservative colleagues quickly and readily admitted was not factual?

He claims that he responded to the Committee without being fully prepared because he was so upset about how the Prime Minister had treated his wife; he just wanted to jump to her defence as quickly as possible. He states that he was "unprepared for the aggressive and nasty tone of some of the questioning at the Committee.". He was "appalled and upset that anyone would so casually attack my character.". It’s just my opinion, but I suggest that had he been a member of the same Committee looking into the affairs of an Opposition MP, he would have been no less aggressive and no less nasty. It was also interesting for viewers to see that Mr. Jaffer was turned on most quickly by his own former Party members during questioning. They did little to defend his actions, seemed to take deliberate steps to distance themselves from Mr. Jaffer and seemed to take great political delight in catching him in an inconsistency. He had no allies in the Committee room that day.

I do like his explanation of his use of one of his wife’s MP Blackberrys. He claims that he did this so he could keep track of her schedule. He admits that he may have inadvertently sent emails through the same government-issued device. He also states that he knows of dozens of MPs and Cabinet Ministers who share their allotment of four Blackberrys with their spouses. That brings to mind a question. How many of us that work for private corporations are issued Blackberrys for our spouse’s use? I’d suggest there are very, very few. Another question. Why should taxpayers pay for a Blackberry for the use of the spouse of any MP? Let’s hope that Sheila Fraser digs to the bottom of this obvious misuse of taxpayer’s money.

Mr. Jaffer was served a summons by the government Operations Committee to appear this afternoon, however, he declined to attend stating that he needed to attend a medical appointment with his wife, Helena Guergis. He really wants to clear his name, it’s just not convenient for him today. Every Canadian should try that excuse when called into a court of law, "Sorry your Honour, but I have to wash my cat today.". His lawyer, Mr. Frank Addario, states that Mr. Jaffer would be more than willing to appear before the Committee Thursday or Friday of this week or Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. It must be nice to still have that sense of entitlement that comes with being an MP. Technically, Mr. Jaffer can be found in contempt of Parliament for his non-appearance today. If that were you or I that ignored a summons from a Commons Committee, you can bet that we’d be found in contempt post haste. If a former MP has this little regard and respect for a Commons Committee made up of his former peers, how could anyone expect the Canadian public to feel any different?

Let’s get on with the show and put this whole sorry mess to bed once and for all. 

Click HERE to read more of Glen Allen’s columns

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