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Don Martin, who has a tendency to join pile-ons with ample gusto, goes the other route today and writes a nicely sympathetic piece today about the fate of Rahim Jaffer.

There are some who will think Don is actually too sympathetic, and that Jaffer is a party-boy who had this coming to him. But his take on Rahim more or less mirrors my own - and not just because, back in my days running an online political magazine, the youthful Canadian Alliance MP gave us a huge publicity boost by saying interesting and progressive things about immigration on our site.

Although evidently prone to spectacularly bad decisions, he always struck me as one of the more human of our parliamentarians. Younger MPs, in particular, tend to be an off-puttingly hyperpartisan and hyperambitious breed (see Poilievre, Pierre). Jaffer always seemed like a fairly normal guy who was a little surprised to be walking the chambers of power. The "would you want to have a beer with this guy" test has become a cliché, and it really shouldn't be the standard when you're choosing someone to run a country, but it's nice to have at least a few of our 308 federal representatives fit the bill. The fact that he was fully prepared to have a beer with people from other parties, not just his own, helped matters considerably.

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I've not been in touch with him in quite a while, so it's hard to know whether this week's events were symptomatic of a difficult adjustment from life in Ottawa, or just another case of poor judgment. But without making any excuses for his behaviour - the alleged drunk driving in particular - I'm hoping his detractors will cut him some slack. Unlike some of his former colleagues, that's probably what he'd have done if it had been one of his political rivals who'd found himself in this situation.

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