Former Tory MP Rahim Jaffer has complied with a demand by the Conservative Party to remove its logo from his personal website.
A senior Harper official confirmed to The Globe this afternoon that the party asked Mr. Jaffer to take it off his personal website. The order came in reaction to an explosive report of the former MP's business dealings, in which he flaunted his access to the Conservative government.
Earlier today the Tory logo was very much evident beside Mr. Jaffer's name on his website, on which he promotes his new consulting business, Green Power Generation Corporation. But a few hours later the logo was removed.
This morning, an investigative article in the Toronto Star by reporter Kevin Donovan revealed that Mr. Jaffer, who was defeated in his Edmonton riding by the NDP in the last election, was telling businessmen he had influence with the Prime Minister and his office. The story noted, too, that Mr. Jaffer was continuing to use his parliamentary business card, which identifies him not only as a Conservative MP but as national caucus chair.
The Prime Minister's Office reacted swiftly to the allegations in the Star article. Dimitri Soudas, the Prime Minister's official spokesman, said it is " absurd" to suggest Mr. Jaffer has any sway in government. "The accusations that the Prime Minister's Office opened the door to Rahim Jaffer or his business partners and associates is false. It is also absurd."
In addition to the use of the party logo, there are pictures on Mr. Jaffer's website in which he is with the Prime Minister, one showing the two men at a dinner party in the dining room of 24 Sussex Drive.
Mr. Soudas suggested there was nothing they could do about the pictures. "He is a former MP and like other former MPs and members of the general public, he has pictures with the PM."
And there is more: Mr. Jaffer was using his wife's parliamentary email address to conduct some of his private business. (He is married to status of women minister Helena Guergis.)
CTV's Power Play has emails from Mr. Jaffer on the account - Guergis, Helena - Assistant 2 - and host Tom Clark will be discussing this issue on his show tonight at 5 p.m. ET. Although the emails do not deal with any business involving the Prime Minister or his office, it is clear the former MP had no issue in using his wife's account.
According to House of Commons rules, every MP's office is permitted up to four wireless devices. It is not spelled out who can use these devices. It is left up to the discretion of the MP.
Michael Ignatieff, meanwhile raised a number of questions today about the Jaffer controversy. The Liberal Leader said this is no longer an issue for Mr. Jaffer but one for the Prime Minister himself.
"Who was Mr. Jaffer talking to in the Conservative government? What promises did he make of access?" Mr. Ignatieff asked in Mirabel, Que., today after he delivering a speech.
"We need the whole story here," Mr. Ignatieff said. "This is a government that comes in, in 2006 promising integrity, promising openness, promising transparency and here [there are]some very serious allegations that question the integrity of this government."
"And the government should answer."
Update Mr. Jaffer's company is taking legal action against the Star, according to this press release:
From Green Power Generation Corporation (GPG)
Ottawa - Mr. Jaffer is a valued partner of GPG. The allegations in the Toronto Star are inaccurate and a complete mischaracterization of the contact between Mr..Jaffer, a principal of GPG, and Mr. Nazim Gillani, of International Strategic Investments (ISI). In light of the publication, GPG intends to seek legal action against the Toronto Star.
For more information please contact Mr. Patrick Glemaud, President of Greenpower Generation Corp. at 613-884-7968, or by email at email@example.com
Mr. Gemaud is a former Conservative candidate in Ottawa-Vanier.