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Former MP Jaffer faces charges of cocaine possession, drunk driving

Former Conservative MP Rahim Jaffer, once a precocious rising political star, has been charged with drunk driving and cocaine possession.

Mr. Jaffer, 37, was stopped by Caledon OPP last week, early Friday morning, in the village of Palgrave, Ont., about 60 kilometres north of Toronto. An officer allegedly clocked Mr. Jaffer's grey Ford Escape travelling 43 kilometres per hour over the speed limit and noticed his breath smelled of alcohol.

Police said Mr. Jaffer's blood alcohol measured above the legal limit and he was arrested.

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"When we arrested him, we handcuffed and searched him and that's when we located the cocaine on his person," said Sargeant Mike Garant of the Caledon OPP.

Less than a year ago, Mr. Jaffer was unseated by the NDP's Linda Duncan in a narrow defeat that spoiled a forecasted Tory sweep in Alberta. Mr. Jaffer, who first won the seat in 1997 at the age of 25, was so confident that he gave a victory speech to supporters before learning that he had lost.

Days before the vote, Mr. Jaffer's campaign approved radio ads chiding NDP Leader Jack Layton for comments years earlier that Mr. Jaffer cast as broad support for marijuana use. The spots 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."

This is not Mr. Jaffer's first brush with scandal.

In 2001, his executive assistant resigned soon after it was discovered he'd impersonated Mr. Jaffer in a national radio interview. The assistant maintained that Mr. Jaffer had no knowledge of the hoax.

Mr. Jaffer, who is married to Simcoe Grey Tory MP Helena Guergis, had hoped to regain his seat, but left politics this spring after he was effectively shut out of the nomination process in his riding.

Ms. Guergis made a short statement last night.

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"I take this very seriously," she said in an e-mail.

"I love my husband. I will wait for further information before I make any comment."

Mr. Jaffer did not reply to an e-mail yesterday. Mr. Jaffer's licence has been suspended for 90 days and he is scheduled to appear in Orangeville criminal court on Oct. 19.

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About the Author
Education reporter

Kate Hammer started her journalism career in New York, chasing crime and breaking news for The New York Times. She came to the Globe and Mail in 2008 to do much of the same and ended up investigating allegations of animal cruelty and mismanagement at the Toronto Humane Society. More

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