Rahim Nizar Jaffer (Urdu: رحيم جعفر; born December 15, 1971) is a former Canadian politician and a former Member of Parliament. He served in the Canadian House of Commons from 1997 to 2008, representing the Alberta riding of Edmonton—Strathcona as a member of the Conservative Party. He was the first Muslim elected to the Canadian Parliament. Jaffer became embroiled in a national controversy in 2010 after he appeared to receive special treatment, "a break," from the justice system after being charged with drunk driving and possession of cocaine.
|Member of the Canadian Parliament
|Preceded by||Hugh Hanrahan|
|Succeeded by||Linda Duncan|
|Born||Rahim Nizar Jaffer
December 15, 1971
|Political party||Conservative (2003-present)|
Canadian Alliance (2000-2003)
|Children||Zavier Rahim Nizarali Guergis Jaffer|
|Residence||Edmonton, Alberta, Canada|
Jaffer was born to an Ismaili Muslim family in Kampala, Uganda. When he was a young child, he and his family emigrated to Canada to escape further persecution in Uganda after the government of Idi Amin confiscated their business and their home. They settled in Edmonton.
Jaffer completed a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Ottawa in Political Science and Economics. He took his degree in the French language. He also served as a legislative assistant in the House of Commons. After completing his degree he returned to Edmonton, where he operated a successful coffee shop in the heart of the Old Strathcona district.
Jaffer was elected to the House of Commons as the Member of Parliament for Edmonton-Strathcona on June 2, 1997, at the age of 25. He won the seat as a member of the Reform Party of Canada (later the Canadian Alliance, which later merged with the Progressive Conservatives to form the Conservative Party).
In 2001, Matthew Johnston, an aide to Jaffer, impersonated him during a radio interview that Jaffer was himself unable to attend. Jaffer subsequently apologized for the stunt in the House of Commons, and was suspended from his caucus position for several months.
In the 2006 election, Jaffer was re-elected to serve a fourth term as the Member of Parliament for Edmonton—Strathcona. On February 8, 2006, he was named chair of the Conservative caucus by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Jaffer lost his seat in the 2008 election after he was defeated by New Democrat Linda Duncan. Jaffer was initially reluctant to concede defeat, but finally did so on October 16 after the results were officially validated by the riding returning officer. Jaffer was the only Alberta Conservative MP to lose his seat in the 2008 election.
In 2009, Jaffer expressed interest in re-seeking the Conservative nomination for Edmonton-Strathcona. However, he declined to do so after it was claimed that he was shut out of nomination process.
Jaffer and Guergis became engaged in October 2007. Reportedly at the initiative of Guergis, the couple decided on the morning after the election to scrap their planned wedding date and to get married immediately. Their wedding was presided over by Ian McClelland, a former Member of Parliament and a licensed marriage commissioner, later that same day at McClelland's home. The marriage was witnessed by the couple's parliamentary colleague James Rajotte, and by one of Jaffer's cousins. In December 2010, the couple had a baby boy, whom they named Zavier Rahim Nizarali Guergis Jaffer.
Arrest and convictionEdit
On September 11, 2009, Jaffer was stopped late at night by the Ontario Provincial Police, while he was traveling at a rate of 93 km/h in a 50 km/h zone, on Regional Road 50 in town of Palgrave, Ontario, located close to his wife's riding. The OPP officer noticed a smell of alcohol, on Jaffer's breath, and after administering a breathalyzer test, found him to be over the Ontario legal blood-alcohol limit of .08. Jaffer's driver's licence was suspended for 90 days, and he was charged with drunk driving and possession of an undisclosed quantity of cocaine. The location of the cocaine is a source of contention between police and Jaffer. The arresting officer stated that the drugs were found in Jaffer's pants pocket, whereas Jaffer's defense team claimed that the cocaine was in his suit jacket. Earlier in the evening, he had met in Toronto with Nazim Gillani, an entrepreneur and businessman. Gillani claimed he was a banker for the Hells Angels.
Jaffer was initially scheduled to appear in court in Orangeville, Ontario on October 19, 2009. During the 2008 election, Jaffer's campaign approved radio ads accusing NDP leader Jack Layton of being soft on marijuana use. The ads said, in part, "Edmontonians understand how difficult it is to make sure our children make the right choices, especially on serious issues like drug use. The Conservative Party supports drug-free schools and getting tough with drug dealers who sell illegal drugs to children. Don't let our schools go up in smoke. On Oct. 14, vote Conservative." On Tuesday, March 9, 2010, Jaffer pleaded guilty to one charge of careless driving and was sentenced to a fine of $500. The cocaine possession and drunk driving charges were withdrawn. Justice Doug Maund told Jaffer "I’m sure you can recognize a break when you see one." The light sentence and the dropping of the more serious charges triggered outrage across Canada, as well as more extensive investigation of events leading up to the incident prompting the arrest, which led to allegations Jaffer met with several escorts.
|Canadian federal election, 1997: Edmonton—Strathcona|
|New Democratic||Jean McBean||7,251||14.53||+9.48||$42,936|
|Progressive Conservative||Edo Nyland||3,614||7.24||−4.05||$10,183|
|Natural Law||Maury Shapka||153||0.30||−0.29|
|Canadian Action||J. Alex Ford||92||0.18||–||$845|
|Total valid votes||49,890||100.00|
|Total rejected ballots||101||0.20|
|Canadian federal election, 2000: Edmonton—Strathcona|
|New Democratic||Hélène Narayana||8,256||14.78||+0.25||$25,883|
|Progressive Conservative||Gregory Toogood||5,047||9.03||+1.79||$4,252|
|Canadian Action||Kesa Rose Semenchuk||299||0.53||+0.35||$1,485|
|Total valid votes||55,859||100.00|
|Canadian federal election, 2004: Edmonton—Strathcona|
|New Democratic||Malcolm Azania||11,535||23.80||+9.02||$46,100|
|Total valid votes||48,449||100.00|
|Total rejected ballots||150||0.31|
|Canadian federal election, 2006: Edmonton—Strathcona|
|New Democratic||Linda Duncan||17,153||32.51||+8.71||$53,478|
|Progressive Canadian||Michael Fedeyko||582||1.10||–||$0.0|
|Total valid votes||52,770||100.00|
|Total rejected ballots||148||0.28||−0.03|
|Canadian federal election, 2008: Edmonton—Strathcona|
|New Democratic||Linda Duncan||20,103||42.58||+10.07||$71,669|
|Total valid votes/Expense limit||47,209||99.79||$82,492|
|Total rejected ballots||99||0.21||−0.07|
- "Special treatment? Jaffer's drunk driving charges dropped". CBC News. March 10, 2010. Retrieved 2015-05-30.
- "Jaffer to apologize to House of Commons". CBC News. March 19, 2001. Retrieved 2015-05-30.
- "Jaffer concedes race, ties the knot". CBC News. October 16, 2008. Retrieved 2015-05-30.
- "Jaffer shut out of nomination process in Edmonton riding". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 7 May 2009. Retrieved 14 November 2011.
- "Strathcona race just what's needed to inspire maverick-style debate". Edmonton Journal. October 4, 2008. Archived from the original on August 20, 2015. Retrieved 2015-05-30.
- Darcy Henton,"MP lost seat, gained bride in 24 hours"[permanent dead link], Canwest News Service, as carried in the National Post, October 17, 2008.
- "Guergis, Jaffer welcome baby boy". CBC News. Retrieved 28 April 2014.
- Donovan, Kevin (April 8, 2010). "The story behind Ex-MP Rahim Jaffer's drunk-driving arrest - thestar.com". Toronto: www.thestar.com. Retrieved 2010-04-08.
- "Jaffer facing drunk driving, cocaine charges", The Toronto Star, September 16, 2009.
- Hammer, Kate (September 16, 2009). "Ex-MP Jaffer facing drug, DUI charges". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. Retrieved 2015-05-30.
- Donovan, Kevin (April 10, 2010). "Financier boasted of his ties to bikers - thestar.com". Toronto: www.thestar.com. Retrieved 2010-04-10.
- "Former MP Jaffer faces charges of cocaine possession, drunk driving", Globe and Mail, September 17, 2009
- "Rahim Jaffer pleads guilty to careless driving charge". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. Retrieved 2015-05-30.
- McLean, Jesse (March 9, 2010). "Drug, drunk driving charges dropped against former Tory MP - thestar.com". Toronto: www.thestar.com. Retrieved 2010-03-09.
- Taber, Jane (March 9, 2010). "Tories bristle when asked to explain Rahim Jaffer's 'slap on the wrist' - The Globe and Mail". Toronto: theglobeandmail.com. Retrieved 2010-03-09.
- "CTV Edmonton - Jaffer court case sparks outrage across Canada - CTV News". edmonton.ctv.ca. Retrieved 2010-03-31.
- Donovan, Kevin (April 8, 2010). "Toronto Star - The story behind Ex-MP Rahim Jaffer's drunk-driving arrest". www.thestar.com. Retrieved 2010-04-08.
- Rahim Jaffer (archived version of http://www.rahimjaffer.com retrieved on Jun 12, 2008)
- Rahim Jaffer – Parliament of Canada biography
|Chair, Government Caucus in the Parliament of Canada
|Chair, Conservative Caucus in the Parliament of Canada