Former Conservative Rahim Jaffer slips through DUI Possession Charges – Opposition Charge Favoritism – March 10, 2010

All this get tough on Crime rhetoric from the Harper Government hit a snag as former Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer essentially got a get out of jail card for his DUI arrest.   The problem with creating tough laws is that the potential to end up being used as weapons against political opponents.

Would a Liberal or NDP person of standing like Mr. Jaffer have received the same sentence or deal?  Would you who reads this?  Could you imagine someone outspoken like myself if I was nailed for such a crime?

LINK

“Members of this government are always quick to comment on any court judgment that doesn’t align with their get-tough-on-crime rhetoric,” Ms. Neville said. “They always say, ‘You do the crime. You do the time.’ What then is this government’s comment on the dangerous driver in possession of illicit drugs who gets off with no record and a $500 slap on the wrist?”

“The Conservatives are conspicuously silent only when the law is being flouted by one of their own. … Why the double standard?” Ms. Neville asked.

The Jaffer affair, however, was not the only contentious issue today in the House.

Both Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff and NDP chief Jack Layton questioned the Prime Minister about the Afghan detainee controversy and a document unearthed by the CBC that shows a governmentcommunications strategy was in the works before the allegations of torture had become public. This suggests to the opposition that the government was aware of the torture allegations yet continued to transfer Afghan prisoners.

Laws should never be put on the books to be used as weapons.   What do you think Cornwall?  Was Mr. Jaffer’s sentence based on “perks”?  Post your comments below.

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23 Responses to "Former Conservative Rahim Jaffer slips through DUI Possession Charges – Opposition Charge Favoritism – March 10, 2010"

  1. grimalot   March 10, 2010 at 12:02 PM

    I have a major problem with all of this, and it stems to both the Provincial and Federal Governments, and also our Justice System.

    If this was any average Joe, the book would have been thrown at them.
    Just because Mr. Jaffer was a former MP for the Conservatives, possibly a future MP for the Conservatives again, does this mean that he should be given such a light slap on the wrist? Rob Nicholson should be fuming right now if he wants to spew the tough on crime legislation that he is currently touting all the time.

    Who knows, maybe something is about to happen that the government levels don’t want us to notice, so they let this landmark debacle happen. Keep an eye out if any other legislation or something gets passed today or in the next bit that this may remove some controversy over.

    But for now, please see the following, about this direct issue right now:

    Federally:

    Impaired Driving is a Federal Criminal Offence

    Section 253(b) of the Criminal Code of Canada makes it an offence to operate or have care and control of a motor vehicle, vessel, aircraft or railway equipment while your blood alcohol concentration is greater than 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. This term is often shortened to 80 mg% or .08.

    Other Criminal driving offences include:

    – Failing to provide a breath sample,
    – Dangerous driving,
    – Failing to stop after an accident,
    – Criminal negligence in the operation of a motor vehicle,
    – Driving while prohibited,
    – Engaging police in a pursuit, and
    – all the above (where applicable) resulting in bodily harm or death.

    Provincially:
    Remember Mike Harris and his 0 TOLERANCE POLICY? Yeah Right in this case!

    The Penalties in Ontario for Impaired Driving are VERY serious, are some of the toughest in the world, and may include:

    The Highway Traffic Act of Ontario provides for a minimum licence suspension of one year for a first offence. This automatic minimum suspension for a first offence occurs because of section 41 of the Ontario Highway Traffic Act . There are no exceptions for employment (meaning even if you are or were an MP, shouldn’t make a difference.)

    Here is a link to Section 41 of the Ontario Highway Traffic Act:
    http://lawyers.ca/international/sectiondetail.asp?ID=9&state=Ontario

    Impaired Driving Penalties

    – First time offence (over 80 mgms. of alcohol in 100 ml. of blood) carries a one-year suspension of driving privileges, and a fine of not less than $600.
    – Second time offence (over 80 mgms. of alcohol in 100 ml. of blood) carries a two-year suspension of driving privileges, and imprisonment for not less than 14 days.
    – Insurance premiums often rise dramatically, with Facility Insurance with Premiums starting at $10,000/year for 3 years!
    – Relicense Programme with the Ministry ($750)

    Legal fees are always a concern and may run you $2,000 to $5,000 plus expenses. Fees must be weighted against the costs of a conviction:

    – You may lose your job if you cannot drive;
    – You face a severe change in your life style if you cannot drive;
    – Addition Insurance premiums for up to six years;
    – You will have a Criminal Record For Life!
    – In Ontario, persons convicted of drinking and driving offences must complete a remedial program at a cost of $475 plus GST before licence reinstatement.

    Installation, at your cost ($1500), of an Ignition Interlock system in your car for 1 year

    Anyone convicted in Ontario of a drinking and driving offence, must install an ignition interlock in their vehicle once their driving privileges are restored. Before starting the car, the driver will have to blow into the device. If an impermissible level of alcohol is detected, the car will not start.

    Persons convicted of a first offence have to use the device, which rents for about $100 a month, for at least one year; those convicted of a second offence can apply to have it removed after three years. A driver with more than two convictions must install the device permanently.

    A criminal record could hurt your future employment and restrict your ability to travel. However, it should not prevent you from entering the United States as generally it is not a crime of moral turpitude under U.S. immigration law.

    Foreigners with recent (in the past 5 years) drunk-driving criminal convictions are generally refused entry at the border. Canada’s Immigration Act section 36 considers any foreign drinking and driving outstanding charge or conviction as an Indictable offence (similar to a felony) unless a prosecutor has chosen to proceed by summary conviction.[9]

    On January 27, 2001, Andrey Knyazev, a Russian diplomat in Canada killed a Canadian woman while drinking and driving. He was imprisoned in Russia. This incident triggered a crackdown on drunk driving by diplomats in Canada.

    On Dec 15, 2005, Charly Hart of Watford, Ontario, a man with a 35-year history of impaired driving which included thirty-nine convictions, was on the occasion of his latest such conviction sentenced to six years in prison, the most severe penalty ever handed down in Canada when the offence did not involve a fatality, and the maximum sentence permitted under the law.[10]

    RACING AND STUNT DRIVING:

    Stunt Driving On the 1st of October 2007 the Ontario Government enacted new speeding laws for Stunt Driving, Racing and Speeding more than 50km/h. This law under Bill 203, the Safer Roads for a Safer Ontario Act has the following penalties;

    – Immediate seven (7) day driver’s licence suspension
    – Immediate seven (7) day vehicle impoundment
    – Minimum fine of two thousand ($2000.00) dollars
    – Maximum fine of ten thousand ($10,000.00) dollars
    – Drivers licence suspension of up to two years
    – Six (6) demerit points
    – Second conviction drivers licence suspension of up to ten (10) years
    – Imprisonment for a term of not more that six (6) months
    – 100% Insurance Increase

    Racing Stunt Driving

    In October of 2007 the Ontario government enacted tough new legislation in regards to Street Racing, Speeding, and Stunt Driving.

    The legislation included the tough penalties mentioned above that will dramatically affect drivers in Ontario convicted for this offence.

    The definition of Stunt Driving and Racing includes;

    – Speeding more than 50km/h
    – Driving at a marked departure indicating a competition
    – Chasing another motor vehicle
    – Driving a motor vehicle without due care and attention, without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway (Careless Driving)
    – Driving in a manner that may endanger any person
    – Repeatedly changing lanes in close proximity to other vehicles so as to advance through the ordinary flow of traffic while driving at a rate of speed that is a marked departure from the lawful rate of speed.

    Having been stopped and charged by the police for Stunt Driving / Racing the police officer will immediately suspend the drivers licence of the driver for seven (7) days. The driver cannot operate motor vehicle anywhere in the Province of Ontario. If the driver is caught by the police operating a motor vehicle they maybe arrested and charged with the offence of Drive While Suspended Highway Traffic Act of Ontario Section 53,1. The penalty for driving while under suspension is a one thousand dollar ($1000) fine, and six (6) months further licence suspension.

    The motor vehicle used in the offence will be impounded by the police officer for seven (7) days. The vehicle will not be released to any person until the seven days have been completed, and includes even if the driver was not the owner of the vehicle.

    The costs of the impoundment for Stunt Driving and Racing are the responsibility of the driver/owner which will be from five hundred to over one thousand dollars.

    Then couple on top of all that the Cocaine Possession (again, book thrown at average joe for this):

    Canada: Cocaine is a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act of Canada.

    Please see the following for Criminal Offence Penalty Charts:
    http://www.defencelaw.com/printversion-chart-contents.html

    So 3 major offences, talked down to a 500 dollar fine. But it seems that someone is pulling some strings somewhere behind the scenes. And all 3, the Federal Government, the Provincial Government, and the Justice System, have failed Ontarians and Canadians alike in this 500 dollar slap on the wrist ruling.

    Shame on the Federal Government for not speaking up about this.
    Shame on the Provincial Government for not speaking up about this.
    Shame on the Justice System over all this.

    Yet again, another story of whats good for the goose, isn’t good for the gander!
    You want to talk about 0 tolerance policy?
    You want to talk about Tough on Crime?

    Yeah right!

    MP Lauzon should be putting out one of his propaganda speeches denouncing this behaviour of any Government Official, Conservative or not!

    And our Provincial MPP should be doing the same!

  2. Stan   March 10, 2010 at 2:07 PM

    grimalot, you are beginning to sound more like a politician every day….you should run!

  3. Destructo   March 10, 2010 at 2:20 PM

    It’s called a double standard folks, and it doesn’t only apply to politicians; the wealthy also benefit from it. Even if the correct charges are laid, the proper lawyer can figure out a way to clear things up. And who can afford good lawyers? Not me.

  4. willie191   March 10, 2010 at 5:16 PM

    It must be nice to have friends at the top. When the judge says,” your a lucky man”, you just know someone in the crown attorneys office put pressure on the judge. Our government is a do as I say, not as I do government.

  5. Stan   March 10, 2010 at 5:32 PM

    That sounds so true Willie, the Fiberals were always that way…..

  6. admin   March 10, 2010 at 5:35 PM

    Stan I don’t think too many people are naive to think that you don’t get “perks” when you’re in power. It’s another thing to beat your chest to the world saying you want to be tougher on crime and then pull a cop out stunt like this which clearly shows some sort of favoritism. I doubt you’d get the same treatment if you were pulled over over the limit with a bag of coke, do you?

    I don’t think people get upset when politicians lie as much as they don’t like when they get caught 😉

  7. Stan   March 10, 2010 at 5:38 PM

    Maybe he wanted to run for the Fiberals in an upcoming election in Ontario. Perhaps thats why the Provincial Liberals gave him his “entitlements”.

  8. grimalot   March 10, 2010 at 5:49 PM

    Regardless of any party that the MP was associated with, there should be NO DIFFERENCE! The law is the same for ALL CANADIANS. At least I thought it was up until now. Seems like exactly like I mentioned above, “Whats good for the goose isn’t good for the gander”. All the parties be damned if they don’t speak out against this favoritism.

  9. admin   March 10, 2010 at 5:54 PM

    Are you on crack? grimalot are you going to tell me you don’t do “favors” for friends or family? In the real world most people take care of the people that take care of them. It’s normal. The problem is when certain groups create laws that can be used as weapons.

    Do you think this would even be much of a story if it wasn’t for the Conservatives beating their chests about getting tough on crime? Nope. It’d just be another loser politician spinning into oblivion.

    A politician’s job is to take care of the people that vote for him or her. In life you always have to remember your friends and family, and you better remember those people that help get you where you want to be.

  10. grimalot   March 10, 2010 at 6:10 PM

    Not on crack. And I do do “favors” for friends and family. But “Legal” and reasonable favors. It doesn’t bode well for the government’s image, to sit there and do “Favors” for their “Cronies” and in the meantime, off with the heads of the common folk.

    If he just had a DUI, or racing, or whatever, then I’m sure that the sentence might possibly be lighter. That could be a given. But to have all 3, DUI, Racing, and Cocaine, I don’t care who they are but they deserve NO FAVORS! And were it you, or I, or any other common Canadian, we’d probably be seeing jail time on top of all the other fines and costs associated with those charges.

    What if he killed someone? Does he still deserve a “favor”? I would have to say if he got one then, that judge would be on crack!

    And to top it all off, Politicians, as with other Authority Figures, should be held in a higher esteem, therefore, if they mess up in the public’s eye, they should have to deal with even harsher sentences/conditions, then the common folk do. No matter what the excuse is! Afterall, don’t forget, they tell us common folks “Ignorance is not above the law!”

  11. willie191   March 10, 2010 at 7:30 PM

    Admin, he was caught with cocaine!!!!! This man was given preferential treatment. If he can carry cocaine legally, then, we all can. sheesh. How the hell can you defend that?

  12. admin   March 10, 2010 at 9:08 PM

    Grimalot maybe there’s been a deal behind the scenes? Maybe based on his wife’s public behavior he’s been given a lighter sentence to keep him from blabbing something on her? Weirder things have happened and to clarify, in terms am I suggesting that this is fact.

  13. grimalot   March 10, 2010 at 9:48 PM

    and even if thats the case, thats still wrong. If thats the case, that he’s been given a light slap to keep him from blabbing something that his wife did, and if her action were illegal as well in any way, then both should be turfed. Actually that implication makes it sound even worse if you think about it Jamie.

    There is no justifying getting away with that, no matter any way you could explain it. Friends in high places or not, it is wrong!

  14. admin   March 10, 2010 at 9:58 PM

    Grimalot I’m surprised he got off as easily as he has. Surely the party realized the results of such actions and it probably spells the end politically for both Mr. Jaffer and his wife either way.

  15. grimalot   March 10, 2010 at 10:02 PM

    I’m damned surprised he got off as easily as he has! I find it atrocious! Extremely deplorable!

  16. PJR   March 10, 2010 at 10:24 PM

    Don’t know about crack. How about cracks in the principal plank of the neocon tough-on-crime platform? How foolish the high and mighty Harperites are looking right now! Full-scale implosion coming up? Stay tuned, everybody.

  17. Cornwall Harry   March 11, 2010 at 9:08 AM

    Looks like the Liberals tried to make the Conservatives look bad.

  18. grimalot   March 11, 2010 at 9:32 AM

    Actually, the only one on crack in this whole story was Jaffer! And he got away with it! A gross miscarriage of justice on this one!

  19. Reg   March 11, 2010 at 10:10 AM

    So this is the Cons spin? Mr. Jaffer was driving a Prius. No, it was really Bob Raye who was driving but he ran off and left Ignatius’ cocain behind before the police got there. My Jaffer was simply passed out in the back seat from overindulgencing at a an open bar sponsered by the Liberal party. Yeah that’s it, the Liberals did it.

  20. Stan   March 11, 2010 at 11:27 AM

    Few would quarrel with Justice Douglas Maund’s observation that Rahim Jaffer caught “a break” when Crown prosecutors withdrew impaired driving and drug charges against him this week.

    But the muted outcome of the high-profile case involving the Conservatives’ one-time poster boy against drug abuse and dealing has sparked troubling questions that the Crown or Jaffer himself need to address. And soon!

    On Tuesday the former Tory MP pleaded guilty to careless driving in Palgrave last Sept. 11, when the Ontario Provincial Police clocked him doing 93 km/h in a 50 zone. He got a $500 fine.

    However the Crown withdrew criminal charges related to cocaine possession and drunk driving (Jaffer failed a breath test). Crown attorney Marie Balogh said only that there were “significant legal reasons,” and no reasonable prospect of conviction. A spokesman for Ontario Attorney-General Chris Bentley added that “issues related to the evidence” influenced the decision.

    That didn’t fly with the opposition in Parliament. Liberal MP Anita Neville accused the tough-on-crime Tories of being “conspicuously silent” when one of their own got off with a “slap on the wrist.”

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s former aide Kory Teneycke agreed Jaffer should explain how the charges were “swept aside.”

    And even Bentley now concedes that the Crown could explain “more fully.” It doesn’t help that the case was sealed, veiling arguments Jaffer’s lawyer made to get the charges withdrawn.

    The public needs to know that Jaffer was treated as anyone else would be. And if the police goofed, that too should be on the record.

    Just what were those evidentiary problems?

    Did the OPP pull over Jaffer unreasonably? Did they mess up the breath test? Do an improper search? Deny him access to counsel?

    And did the Crown really have no prospect of a conviction?

    Jaffer’s good luck is now a matter of public record. The reasons should be too.

  21. Concerned Citizen   March 12, 2010 at 9:59 AM

    People in jail for cocaine possession, people who were caught driving drunk over the 0.08, all those people who paid fines, all those who now have crimnal records and cannot enter the USA, all those who have ignition interlocks on their cars now and must pay all of those exorbitant costs……ALL OF THESE PEOPLE WILL REMEMBER RAHIM JAFFER. Did you think of that Mr.Jaffer?

  22. admin   March 12, 2010 at 10:44 AM

    Concerned I’d be more apt to remember Mr. Harper; his tough on crime rhetoric, and the Conservative appointed judge that let Mr. Jaffer off the hook. I’d especially remember this next election.

  23. scott rymer   March 22, 2010 at 1:50 PM

    The laws these days are obscure, they do nothing to prevent drinking and driving. If they really thought this was an issue, no one would be able to drink and drive. Its a cash cow and keeps police, lawyers , and judges buisy. To abolish drinking and driving, it should be manditory for every vehicle to have an ignition interlock system. Sooooo easy to doo ,{ which u would only have to blow into on initial start up}. This is the answer to the problem…and its in the governments best interest to show a little responceibility for this to go on. They sell the shit ,then make it your responceibility. TO me in my oppinion this is neglegence on there part….They want to impose a new law where they can pull random people over for breath samples. Which is retarded because they will just trick people into allowing them to search your vehicle and being crooked as most rcmp are they will b able to plant illegal substances in your vehicle…

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