Jaffer met Prentice aide in Guergis's office
Last Updated: Monday, April 26, 2010 | 8:23 PM ET
Environment Minister Jim Prentice has disclosed that Rahim Jaffer met last year with a member of his staff on behalf of "a company" in the parliamentary office of Jaffer's wife, Helena Guergis, who was a cabinet minister at the time.
Last Friday, Prentice told the House of Commons that the embattled former Conservative MP met with Scott Wenger, a member of Prentice's regional office in Calgary, last April.
"Their discussions involved representations by Mr. Jaffer on behalf of a company," said Prentice, who represents the riding of Calgary Centre-North.
Former Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer appears before a parliamentary committee last week in Ottawa. (Pawel Dwulit/Canadian Press)During Monday's question period, Liberal environment critic David McGuinty pressed Prentice to clarify where that meeting took place, asking the minister to confirm that Wenger met Jaffer in Guergis's Ottawa office.
Guergis was minister for the status of women at the time of the meeting. She has since resigned and been expelled from the Conservative caucus.
"The meeting in question did, in fact, happen in that particular office," Prentice said in response to McGuinty's query.
Jaffer has been accused of using his ties with former government colleagues in an attempt to get government green energy contracts for his firm, Green Power Generation Corp., without registering as a lobbyist.
McGuinty on Monday accused Prentice of delaying his disclosure until after Jaffer testified in front of a parliamentary committee last week.
"He made it seem that this was new information, when, in fact, he knew last Tuesday," McGuinty said.
Minister felt 'obligation'
Prentice said he did what he felt was his "obligation" by disclosing the meeting and has delivered all documents to the lobbying and ethics commissioners. He told the House he would also provide the documents to the government operations committee looking into the matter.
During their testimony Wednesday at the House government operations committee, Jaffer and his business partner Patrick Glémaud insisted they have never been paid for any lobbying activities and have never received a penny of funding from the government.
Jaffer also insisted he didn't use his wife's office for work.
"I very rarely ever went in there, other than to do spousal things like help her with Christmas cards, sit in on scheduling meetings," he told MPs.
Guergis, MP for the central Ontario riding of Simcoe-Grey, resigned from the Conservative cabinet and was kicked out of the party caucus earlier this month after Prime Minister Stephen Harper referred what he called "serious and credible allegations" to the RCMP.
The prime minister and his government have not said what those allegations are. Guergis has denied any wrongdoing and insists she will co-operate with any investigation of her conduct.
Corrections and Clarifications
- Environment Minister Jim Prentice told the House of Commons on Friday that Rahim Jaffer met a member of his Calgary staff, not that the staff member met Jaffer in Calgary as originally reported. April 26, 2010 | 8:20 p.m. ET
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