Friday, April 16, 2010

Groundhog day rolls on

Another new Helena Guergis allegation reported in the Star today. The report is that she promoted an energy firm, in which Jaffer had a potential interest, to her cousin, a municipal politician in Simcoe County. In contrast with a lot of what's been swirling around, this is governmental in nature and would go to her role as a minister and a potential conflict of interest.

Gillani and Jaffer were apparently planning to take this energy firm public but wanted to get government funding first. And it may be that this energy firm was also the subject of one of Jaffer's project submissions to Conservative parliamentary secretary Brian Jean. In today's Star report, the company Guergis wrote the letter about is described as being in ""bio-dryer" technology." Jaffer and his business partner submitted a proposal on "a biomass drying system" to Jean (it was rejected). Coincidence or the same company and technology? If they are the same, then we would have had Jaffer trying to get funding for it from the Green Infrastructure Fund and Guergis writing a letter to her cousin about it as well.

The issue here? As the Star puts it:
Cabinet ministers and MPs are forbidden from using their position to influence a person or organization to benefit their interest or that of relatives or friends, according to the federal Conflict of Interest Act.
It is worth giving the Star report a read for the perspective of Jim Wright, the environmental firm owner at issue who was briefly involved in the planning with Gillani and Jaffer to take his company public. Wright was wise to Gillani and ultimately backed away. A new ethical character for the saga.

One more issue to throw on the table in the Guergis maelstrom, incredibly, but it shouldn't be lost amid more sensational charges and due to some lazy sense of scandal fatigue.