Thursday, June 17, 2010

Jaffer faces contempt ruling

"MPs ask Speaker to find Jaffer in contempt." A few thoughts on the news today that the Government Operations Committee has recommended that the House of Commons take action on Jaffer's conflicting testimony before it.
The Committee believes that Rahim Jaffer has been disrespectful to the Committee on two issues: (1) he does not seem to have fully complied with the Committee's order for the production of papers of Monday, May 3, 2010; (2) he seems to have misled the Committee in his testimonies.
This is really a rarity in Canadian politics, it's not often that anyone is found to be in contempt of Parliament. That this case involves the former Conservative caucus chair, hand-picked by Stephen Harper, is a significant thing. That's something glossed over with Jaffer given the tremendous talking point effort by Conservatives to distance themselves from him now. The distancing wasn't so apparent, however, until the story recently blew up for the government. Jaffer had easy access to Conservative staffers and ministers following his defeat in 2008. For all the Conservative bleating that no moneys went Jaffer and his business' way, maybe that's only because time nipped those efforts short due to exposure.

It's a welcome move by this committee, had they failed to act on the contradictions from Jaffer, the committee system would have been brought into disrepute. If anything, these committees need to be bolstered, they need greater resources and there needs to be a greater sense displayed among members that they know the rules and will follow the rules. How that all comes to pass, not quite sure but today's move was a step to be applauded.