Thursday, April 15, 2010

Cocaine, hookers, offshore accounts, pump and dump stock schemes

This is getting to be more like an episode of the Sopranos every day.

Yesterday we learned that a private investigator, called "Magnum P.I." by Jack Layton during question period, was the source of the information that led to Harper's turfing Helena Guergis from the party -- the Conservative Party that is, not the party going on at Club Paradise.

Today the P.I. has a name: Derek Snowdy. Snowdy was investigating Nazim Gillani for a private client who lost money in a deal with Gillani. "Big Daddy G" as Gillani calls himself, bragged to Snowdy that he had photos of Guergis and Jaffer partying with high-priced hookers and cocaine. He also claimed that 3 offshore companies had been "reserved" to hold cash for Guergis and Jaffer in Belize, a haven for tax dodges and money laundering.

Snowdy attempted to meet with Peter Donolo, Ignatieff's chief of staff, apparently so directed by his client, but was rebuffed. D'oh! He then went to the Conservatives with his information, and Harper took this seriously enough to boot Guergis not just from her cabinet post but completely out of caucus.

Guergis calls the allegatios "bizarre" and vehemently denies them. Circumstantial evidence suggests otherwise. Her husband, party boy Rahim Jaffer was pulled over for speeding, blew over the legal limit, and was found to be in possession of cocaine. If your hubby is doing blow, it's hardly bizarre to think you might be too. Not necessarily the case, but hardly "bizarre." In fact, ever since the word "cocaine" surfaced in this story, I've been thinking about her overly aggressive behaviour at the Charlottetown airport in a whole new light.

Nothing is substantiated yet, and Guergis' lawyer says that this is mere bragging on the part of Gillani and is completely untrue. Granted, Gillani is hardly a credible figure, but taking blackmail photos at parties he sets up is apparently a pattern of his. In fact, many of the people he has allegedly swindled in the past have been reluctant to come forward for just that reason. As for Snowdy's client, he wishes to remain anonymous, because he said he received threats from Gillani.

Meanwhile, in this National Post blog, Jeff Joudras says
Even if these latest accusations prove to be groundless, at the very least it’s clear that Guergis made some very poor choices about who she has been associating with, as did Jaffer. A person’s character isn’t always readily apparent, and politicians certainly do have all kinds of people trying to develop relationships. And they can't read minds.
Riiight. The office at a strip club, the hookers and the body guards were NO clue whatsoever.

He goes on to parrot the oft-repeated talking point that we should be talking about more substantive issues. Dude, I've got news for you and your ilk -- the integrity of our elected representatives is a substantive issue. Possible blackmail of cabinet ministers is a substantive issue. Even Harper thinks so.
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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Busty hookers and blackmail

It's a story that has everything: busty hookers, blackmail, drugs, ties to the Hell's Angels, an office in the VIP room of a strip club. No, not the Bada Bing, but the Club Paradise in Etobicoke (above). It's beginning to sound more like an episode of the Soprano's than Canada's usual humdrum political fare.

We don't know who he or she is, but at least we know what the mysterious third party is: a private investigator looking into Nazim Gillani's alleged criminal activities,. CTV reported that the allegations were brought forward by a private investigator, who informed a Conservative lawyer about a possible threat of blackmail related to allegations about the purchase of drugs. Blackmailing who? We don't know, but we can certainly guess by who has taken the fall.

Glemaud comes out swinging
Patrick Glemaud is Rahim Jaffer's business partner in Green Power Generation, a company hoping to cash in on government grants using their insider connections. Both Glemaud and Jaffer are former Conservative Party candidates. Both failed to win their seats in the 2008 election. Glemaud, a lawyer, has worked for the Federal Natural Resources Dept reviewing and approving government grant contracts. Jaffer is the former chair of the Conservative caucus (2006 - 2008).

Glemaud came out swinging today, saying this story is ruining his life.

It's a real shame that this poor innocent man and his business are being so tarnished. After all, who would ever get the idea that a man called "Big Daddy G" who surrounded himself with hookers, strippers and a steroid-peddling bodyguard and who conducted his business from the VIP lounge of a strip club was anything but legit? No red flags there.

And why, just because Rahim Jaffer was being chauffeured around Ottawa on the taxpayers dime, meeting with John Baird, parliamentary secretary  Brian Jean, federal environment minister Jim Prentice and other high-ranking Tories, would anyone get the idea that he was lobbying?
Said Glemaud, "Brian Jean goes and tells us it’s the bureaucrats who have to decide and do the assessment of the project, and the bureaucrats send the assessment of the project after to Brian Jean and then Brian Jean says, ‘OK, all right, let’s go ahead with that,’ " he said. "We didn’t even get to the stage of that. None of the people we are dealing with submit any claims, any applications."
Jean said that’s not accurate. He said Glemaud and Jaffer submitted proposals. "I’ve got the paperwork right in front of me."
It's not simply the possibility that Jaffer was lobbying without having registered as a lobbyist. There's actually a clause in the Federal Accountability Act that prohibits senior public officials from lobbying government for a period of 5 years. As chair of the Conservative caucus from 2006 - 2008, is Jaffer a senior public official? If so, it means that he's not eligible to become a lobbyist until 2013.
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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Rahim Jaffer - networking powerhouse!

Mum's the word, eh Rahim?

More information is trickling out about Rahim Jaffer today.

1. Jaffer used a cabinet minister's limo for his own private use.
Guergis' former government-assigned, taxpayer-funded chauffeur said he frequently drove Jaffer around after dropping Ms Guergis off at her office on Parliament Hill. He has asked for anonymity, as he doesn't want to jeopardize his current job. He never said a word about the misuse of government property at the time because again, he didn't want to lose his job. Is this the mysterious "third party"?

2. Jaffer used a government office to conduct business
This according to his business partner, Patrick Glemaud. But don't worry - it was just "a cluttered room across from the offices of his cabinet minister wife" reports the Globe and Mail. Oh well, if it was cluttered, that makes all the difference. Note that Guergis herself confirmed that Jaffer had used the office, but "strictly to sort out his papers after he lost his seat. The two were between homes, and didn't have a place for him to send his boxes for a few weeks." Didn't have a place? What is that supposed to mean? Oh dear, if only they'd known about this place.

3. Jaffer's meetings with John Baird and other high-ranking Tories
In Question Period today, Anita Neville, Liberal MP from Winnipeg asked “On Sept. 3, 2009, the minister (John Baird) met with Rahim Jaffer in Ottawa. What did they discuss and were those discussions reported to the Commissioner of Lobbying as required by law?” Baird said they didn't discuss business, but what else would he say? I might believe this more if he said they were exchanging crack recipes, although I've always thought Baird's problem was 'roid rage.

Marcel Proulx, a Liberal MP from Quebec, told the House that Mr. Jaffer had attended a reception for Christine Elliott on April 30, 2009, when Ms. Elliott was campaigning to be Ontario’s Progressive Conservative leader.

Ms. Elliott’s husband, federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, and Lisa Raitt, who is now the Labour Minister but was then minister of natural resources, were also at that reception, said Mr. Proulx. He demanded to know what discussions the ministers had with Mr. Jaffer and whether they reported them to the Commissioner of Lobbying.

4. Two Blackberries are better than one
This one is no real biggie - I just found it amusing in light of Tiger Woods getting busted by his wife for "sexting" numerous girlfriends. Clever Rahim is not about to get caught in that particular trap because he has two Blackberries: one for communicating with wifey and one for busty hookers bizz. 

Enter spin mode

More apologies and spin coming from the Globe & Mail today: Jane Taber's article in which she laments the "portrayal of Ms. Guergis in the media as the ditzy blonde beauty queen with the little-girl voice who didn’t deliver in her portfolio." So unfair, as this video clearly shows.

Their editorial of yesterday actually stated that Mr Harper doesn't know enough about criminal law to tell the public why he called the RCMP. I wish I were making this up. "It is not within the normal duties or skills of a prime minister to formulate and announce suspicions of criminal wrongdoing." By that logic, if I find someone breaking into my house, I should keep quiet about it since it's beyond my expertise to announce suspicions of criminal wrongdoing.

Response from the rabid partisan blogosphere has been swift and sure. You have to admire the great minds at work here.... or not:

1. What's the big dea? They all do that.
The CPC's Accountability Act states: The FAA prohibits senior public officials from engaging in lobbying for 5 years after their employment has ceased.

2. This is nothing compared to Adscam
The Liberals paid the price for that, and now it's your turn.

3. It's just another false scandal.
Oh, you mean like the Afghan detainee torture thing?
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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Helena Guergis digs new hellhole

Helena Guergis: sent to the back of the class

Well, it looks like Helena Guergis is in the shizzit again, having been first encouraged to resign from cabinet and now officially defrocked by Prime Minister Harper, banished to sit as an independent and being investigated by the RCMP and ethics committee for undisclosed reasons. Her constituents think it should have happened sooner.

This has nothing to do with her meltdown at the Charlottetown Airport, (although now that I think about it, maybe she was ripped on coke). That could explain why she was throwing her shoes around in a fit of pique and trying to break through the security doors. Where are those taser-toting Mounties when you need them?

In the absence of any real information, speculation is rampant, and mostly focused on potential influence peddling, involving her husband, disgraced former Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer. You may remember his Sept 2009 bust for speeding, impaired driving and cocaine possesion, after which he got off virtually scott free with a $500 fine for careless driving. That's the kind of "tough on crime" we like to see.

Jaffer certainly likes to hang with the high-rollers. He was out for a boozy dinner with shady Toronto "businessman" Nazim Gillani and several hookers lady escorts prior to being pulled over by the OPP on his way home later that night. Gillani, a former Hell's Angel's banker, bragged about having an open door to the PM's offices, presumably through Jaffer's wife Guergis, something Harper predictably denies. Gillani is currently under investigation by York Region police for a $1.5 million wire transfer fraud, and investment fraud by the RCMP. 


While the speculation swirls the official Conservative line is that they have found a bad apple, and acted swiftly to remove said spoiled fruit. But those of you with memories that go back further than 6 months may detect a certain pattern….

The dude, the biker chick and the briefcase
No, it isn't a post-modern parody of C.S. Lewis, but another sorry Tory story of Foreign Affairs minister gone mentally AWOL: Maxime Bernier and his girlfriend Julie Couillard, former wife of a Hell's Angel kingpin who was gunned down in Montreal. 

Hmm... there's that name Hell's Angels again.

Back in 2008, Bernier, who has a keen eye for designer suits and questionable babes, accidently left his briefcase, containing sensitive NATO documents at Couillad's apartment when he was there for the traditional break-up/mercy fuck. Five weeks passed during which he must have felt just the tiniest bit of curiosity about where he left his briefcase, no? But it wasn't until Ms Couillard came forward with the information that he, and we the public, found out what had happened. As a result he resigned his cabinet post but is still a sitting member of the Conservatives. I guess that's okay, because lots of people leave sensitive government documents lying around, such as...

Lisa "cancer is sexy" Raitt

Long a thorn in the side of Toronto as federally-appointed head of the Toronto Harbour Commision, Lisa Raitt was hand-picked by the Harper team to go up against former Tory MP and self-styled maverick Garth Turner in the 2008 election. Turner had been booted from caucus for taking the idea of transparency and accountability a little too far by having -- wait for it -- a blog. Nein! Nein! Das is verboten! said Doug Finley, director of political operations for the Conservative party, not necessarily in those exact words.

Raitt won the Halton riding handily and then proceeded to demonstrate the Peter Principal which states that someone will be promoted to their level of incompetence.

First, following in the footsteps of Bernier, she left a folder filled with confidential documents at the CTV's Ottawa bureau for over a week. The proverbial poop hit the cooling device and Lisa was forced by circumstances to allow her aide to take full responsibility and resign. Sure is good to see that accountability we keep hearing about.

Meanwhile however, more poop waits in the wings, such as the a little matter of $80,000 in expenses she signed off on while at the Harbour Commision, over the objections of then chair Michele McCarthy, who refused to approve the expense. That followed a finding that a staffer in Raitt's office had used TPA resources on Raitt's election campaign. It's so hard to get good help these days.

Gerry "death by a thousand cold-cuts" Ritz

Who could forget the Listeriosis crises? Oh wait, everyone. After all we've had the dreaded Swine Flu pandemic to worry about since then.

But, back in the heady pre-H1N1 days of 2008, there was a great deal of pubic concern about the scaling back of food inspections, and the predictable results of letting meat producers inspect themselves.

At that point the death toll from Maple Leaf Foods tainted meats was at 17. This was not looking good and a conference call was set up to plan the necessary spin.

Gerry opened his remarks by asking "Are there any more bombs out there?"

Each new death was making the government look worse. To that point he offered, "This is like a death by a thousand cuts. Or should I say cold cuts." You'll just have to imagine the guffaws.

When told about a new death in Prince Edward Island, Ritz said: "Please tell me it's (Liberal MP) Wayne Easter."

There were calls for his resignation but they were dismissed as political opportunism by "master strategist" Harper. Ritz is still Minister of Agriculture, no doubt continuing to work on the destruction of Canada's Wheat Board.

If you missed the listeriosis outbreak the first time, don't worry. Looks like it's set to make a comeback.

With the backdrop of another listeria-related food recall last week  and five deaths being investigated in relation to the outbreak, local MP  and Minister of Agriculture Gerry Ritz came under attack from the  Opposition on Monday.
"Despite its promises, the  government has not yet hired inspectors," said Alex Atamanenko, NDP MP  for B.C. Southern Interior. "The minister promised to invest $75 million  in the Canadian food safety system. However, no monies were announced  in the latest budget. Listeriosis has surfaced again and has already  caused five deaths in Ontario this year.
Yep... a definite pattern.
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