OTTAWA — Former Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer says he never lobbied the government on behalf of his company, never used his wife’s parliamentary perks for business — and never used illegal drugs.
The one-time Tory up-and-comer wavered between defiance and shame as he took the hot seat Wednesday before a Commons committee looking into his business dealings and accusations of improper lobbying.
He bristled as he spoke of reputations being ruined ”on the basis of rumour and unsubstantiated allegations for short-term political gain.”
He choked up as he apologized to his family and his wife, Helena Guergis, who lost her cabinet job amid the swirl of allegations about Jaffer’s business dealings.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper accepted Guergis’ resignation from cabinet this month, suspended from the Tory caucus and called in the RCMP to look into unspecified allegations involving her.
”She’s the most important person in my life and I love her dearly and it is very unfortunate that her good name has been dragged into my problems so unfairly,” Jaffer said.
He flatly denied lobbying the government. He said any conversations he had with ministers, MPs or senators after losing office never went beyond social chit chat about his new career in business.
”If we had the opportunity to meet, it would be socially, to catch up.
”Obviously, people would be curious about the type of career I was embarking upon and I would update them on the work we were doing trying to build a new business. This would be the extent of conversations as it related to my business affairs.”
He said he hasn’t talked to anyone in government since his arrest last September on drunk driving and cocaine charges.
Jaffer was stopped while driving home from a business dinner. The drunk driving and cocaine charges were eventually dropped and he paid a $500 fine for careless driving.
He apologized for what he called ”poor judgment.”
”I was careless. I had a few drinks and should have never taken the risk to operate a motor vehicle… I’ve learned my lesson.”
He flatly denied drug use: ”I have never partaken in any illegal substance.”