Christian Paradis in trouble again

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Still gets to keep his job

Paradis\'s not in paradise these days

Some cabinet ministers have none of the luck.

Christian Paradis got nailed again, this time in a case of conflict of interest.

Parliament's Conflict of Interest Commissioner Mary Dawson decided that Paradis gave preferential treatment to his old friend Rahim Jaffer, a former Conservative MP turned unregistered lobbyist.

Jaffer came to see Paradis in 2009 hoping to sell a couple of million dollars' worth of solar panels to install on the roofs of government buildings across the country.

Paradis was Public Works minister back then, in charge of a lot of buying equipment for the federal government.

Jaffer is the same former Conservative MP who was arrested by police near Toronto in 2008 and charged with having cocaine in his jacket, and driving at 140 km. per hour while intoxicated, at double the legal alcohol limit

But Jaffer got off with a $ 500 fine and pleading guilty to "careless driving." No jail, nothing else. Police were told by lawyers that the drug possession and drinking charges wouldn't stick because they had not let Jaffer call a second lawyer when his first lawyer was unavailable when they questioned him.

Mary Dawson's investigation was more straightforward. After Jaffer came to see him, Paradis had ordered his office staff to tell department officials to arrange a meeting with Jaffer. That's a No-no under federal law.

Friends and former colleagues of ministers have to go through the same door as anybody else to see government officials.

The commissioner said in her ruling that Paradis should have told Jaffer to take his chances with officials by himself, like any other citizen who wants to sell million-dollar solar panels to the government.

As for punishment, well, that's a different thing.

Dawson said all that's needed is for her scolding of Paradis to be published in the newspapers, in hopes that he will learn the next time. Paradis, a lawyer, had pleaded he didn't know the law.

Harper says there is no need for Paradis to resign. He didn't know the law, says Harper.

Harper's long-time University of Calgary mentor, Professor Tom Flanagan, told CBC that if Paradis was not from Quebec, he would he would have been dismissed by Stephen Harper.

"But our strength is so low in Quebec we have different standards out there," said Flanagan.

It was not thoughtful on Flanagan's part to say Conservatives have different "standards" for Quebec, but then again, Flanagan is known for his outspokenness.



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