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Ex-MP facing drug, DUI charges

Former Alberta MP Rahim Jaffer has been charged with drunk driving and cocaine possession.

Mr. Jaffer, husband of Tory MP Helena Guergis, was pulled over early Friday morning in the village of Palgrave, Ont., north of Toronto, when a general patrol officer noticed his breath smelled of alcohol, according to the Ontario Provincial Police. An investigation followed and Mr. Jaffer’s licence has been suspended for 90 days.

Mr. Jaffer, 37, was MP for the riding of Edmonton-Strathcona from 1997 until a surprise defeat in last year’s election.

He was born in Kampala, Uganda, and immigrated to Edmonton with his family as a boy to escape persecution under the iron-fist rule of Idi Amin.

He was just 25 when he first arrived in Parliament as an MP.

Ms. Guergis addressed the charges in a short e-mail Wednesday night. “I take this very seriously. I love my husband. I will wait for further information before I make any comment,” she wrote.

Mr. Jaffer is scheduled to appear in Orangeville criminal court on Oct. 19.

Mr. Jaffer was staying in Angus, Ont., in his wife’s southern Ontario riding of Simcoe-Grey when his vehicle was pulled over.

This is not Mr. Jaffer’s first brush with scandal. In 2001 his executive assistant resigned shortly after he impersonated Mr. Jaffer in a national radio interview. The assistant, Matthew Johnson, maintained that Mr. Jaffer had no knowledge of the hoax.

After several months in the political woodshed, Mr. Jaffer was re-elected in 2006 and named Conservative caucus chairman by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

He was a fun-loving, gregarious MP popular on the Ottawa party scene before romance blossomed with Ms. Guergis. They were married last Oct. 15 – one day after the federal election.

Mr. Jaffer took his defeat at the hands of NDP rival Linda Duncan hard. Hers is the only seat in Tory-blue Alberta not held by the federal Conservatives.

He has recently worked for Green Power Generation Corporation, which helps bring alternative energy technologies to market.

With a report from The Canadian Press

Kate Hammer: Globe and Mail

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