Former Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer will likely get to tell his story before a Parliamentary committee Wednesday, even though the NDP is now opposed to the idea over concerns the testimony could hinder any RCMP investigation into Mr. Jaffer's business activities.
The NDP was unable to terminate the probe during a closed-door session of the Commons Government Operations committee on Monday afternoon. That means the previous motion to call Mr. Jaffer and his business partner, Patrick Glemaud, to appear Wednesday stands. The NDP still hopes to block the testimony at that meeting.
NDP MP Pat Martin, the party's only member on the Government Operations committee, told The Globe and Mail prior to the meeting that he would officially pull his party's support for the review.
"There are all kinds of reasons why we should put the brakes on this," Mr. Martin said. "I've talked this over with our senior people, including our leader. ... We want to get back to business."
The NDP had supported a Liberal motion last week calling for the committee to hear from Ms. Guergis, Mr. Jaffer and others named in various media reports. The committee motion suggested the probe would be focused on a study of the government's spending on green infrastructure projects, which are at the heart of some of the allegations facing Mr. Jaffer.
Liberals were unimpressed with the surprise decision. "It is completely confusing to me why the NDP has reversed themselves," MP Mark Holland told reporters after Question Period. "They have done a back flip here and one has to wonder what conversations they have with the Conservatives."
Citing the sponsorship scandal, Mr. Holland added there was "strong precedent" for concurrent investigations by Parliament and the police.
Just a day earlier, Mr. Martin had defended the committee probe during an appearance on CTV's Question Period. "It is a safe format, a safe setting where people can share what really went on," he said on Sunday.
Conservative committee members are already opposed to the study, meaning the NDP's lone vote could still make the difference in whether or not it goes ahead. It is unclear whether the Liberal committee chair will allow Mr. Martin's motion to be put to a vote before the testimony begins, or whether the NDP request will be put off until later.
On Sunday, Liberal MP Martha Hall Findlay, who authored the motion, insisted the questions would not go into the private lives of Ms. Guergis, who recently resigned from cabinet, and her husband.
"I just want to make it clear that it is to make sure that the government is spending its money properly without any undue influence," Ms. Hall Findlay said on Question Period. "Allegations were made as a committee, that's our job. It's not to go into the personal lives of people. That's something completely different, and I just wanted to make that clear."