Helena Guergis and Rahim Jaffer Story

The Helena Guergis and Rahim Jaffer scandal that broke out over a year ago had grabbed everyone’s attention, including my own. Then after a few months it was no longer top of mind and people had stopped talking about it, including myself. With this week’s launch by Guergis of an attack on the Harper government, the topic is back to the forefront and so are all the associated rumours and stories that never made it into the media. Even those that made it into the media were eventually withdrawn by the individuals that had originally provided the information.

So, as I’m reading the newspaper this week about how Helena Guergis has made herself the victim and the perfect poster child for women who struggle everywhere with false accusations that have destroyed their careers. Meanwhile, my mind goes back to the stories I heard from people that supposedly had a friend that was close to Jaffer or Guergis herself. Ofcourse, they’re just rumours right? But how can we be sure. A year is a long time for someone to tie up loose ends, shut a few mouths, etc. by persuading individuals to change their comments or recall of what happened.

As a result my curiousity is now up and I’ve decided to start gathering some information to try and figure out what the truth is about this situation. The way I see it, one of the most significant aspects of the scandal was that Guergis allowed Jaffer to conduct commercial business out of her office, which was unrelated to Guergis’ parliamentary work and in which she accompanied him to business meetings in respect to his commercial business. Wow, that to me sounds pretty serious.

Here is the information I’ve gathered so far:

According to Wikipedia, Guergis was born February 19, 1969. Her family has a history with local politics. Guergis attended Georgian College, where she completed an Ontario Real Estate program. After her graduation, she opened a bed and bath gift shop called “Final Touch” at the Rainbow Mall in Angus.
Links to webpages that provide information to this have either been securitized or removed.
1. Helena Guergis, statement at a meeting of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, 14 October 2004. – access denied by parliamentary security system [http://192.197.82.11/committee/CommitteePublication.aspx?SourceId=85960]
2. CBC Canada Votes 2006, Simcoe-Grey riding entry – page has been removed [http://www.cbc.ca/canadavotes/riding/192/]

On April 13, 2010 Guergis’ former chauffeur told The Globe and Mail that Guergis frequently let Jaffer use her government-issued car for personal use. – “Chauffeur claims Guergis frequently let husband use government car”. The Globe and Mail. 2010-04-13. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/chauffeur-claims-guergis-frequently-let-husband-use-government-car/article1532461.

April 18, 2010 Ignatieff links Guergis to organized crime. According to wikipedia.org, they refer to an article [Ignatieff links Guergis, organized crime The Canadian Press April 18, 2010] with the following link – http://www.thespec.com/News/BreakingNews/article/754232. However it seems that The Spectator has removed that article. How convenient that now that Ignatieff is supporting Guergis whereas before he was linking her to organized crime. What deal has been made to cover up this story and gain co-operation between Ignatieff and Guergis – perhaps a plot to attack the Conservative campaign just a couple of weeks before an election?

On May 20, 2010 Federal Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson fined Guergis for failing to report details of a $800,000 mortgage liability. Guergis had purchased the Ottawa house with her husband Rahim Jaffer in November 2009. Guergis reply was “I simply forgot and I accept responsibility for this oversight, I have already made arrangements to pay the fine — within the 30 days I was provided to do so.” – CBC News – Canada – Guergis fined $100 by ethics commissioner”. cbc.ca. 2010-05-20. http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2010/05/20/helena-guergis-mortgage.html. Retrieved 2010-06-02.

I’m beginning to see why Harper’s government no longer wanted her as part of their government.

If you have any information, comments or stories to share about these two individuals leave them below.

Links to articles and information about Helena Guergis and/or Jaffer and/or persons of interest:

May 27, 2010 – “Harper Told That Jaffer Misused Special Passport” – According to James Tavers of The Toronto Star, “Warnings that Rahim Jaffer was abusing a special passport issued to Canadians travelling on government business fuelled Stephen Harper’s doubts about the former Conservative caucus chair and his wife, Helena Guergis.” Tavers goes on “The warnings, coupled with misuse of Guergis’s cabinet office for backdoor lobbying, convinced the Prime Minister that Jaffer was falsely presenting himself as an insider.” – http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/814900–travers-harper-told-that-jaffer-misused-special-passport

September 21, 2010 – “Jaffer-Gillani relationship exposed in documents”. The Star article points out that
Documents show Rahim Jaffer and his business associates were actively seeking government money for a “green” project, contradicting the former MP’s assertions during Parliamentary testimony. In addition, The Star article points out that the documents add further evidence that the business dealings between Jaffer and Nazim Gillani were far more extensive than Jaffer had initially implied when he told MPs the two had no “synergy.”

November 10, 2010 – “Guergis asks, Are you voting for me?”. Guergis, who was kicked out of the Conservative Party this year, is again under criticism for mailing out taxpayer-funded material asking people if they plan to vote for her in the next election. http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/888409–guergis-asks-are-you-voting-for-me

December 15, 2010 – Guergis gives birth in Ottawa. http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/907438–helena-guergis-gives-birth-to-healthy-boy

More to follow…

Real Estate Indications Show Drop In Prices

Yesterday I wrote a blog about how I had seen the price of a condominium unit at 12 Yonge Street drop by 7.5% over the last two months.  This morning I read in the Globe and Mail’s Real Estate section that real estate prices have dropped much more than that in the first quarter of 2011 compared to 2010. 

According to real estate expert John Pasalis of Realosophy Realty Inc., “For example, Rosedale house values show a 42 per cent decline, Q1 2010 to Q1 2011…”  Wow, that is one of the most expensive neighbourhoods in Toronto with houses costing well into the millions.  Imagine owning a $1,ooo,ooo house and then seeing its price chopped to $580,000.  Maybe those homeowners can afford to loose a whopping $420,000 or maybe they have no choice.

Other examples of neighbourhood real estate price comparison between Q1 2010 and Q1 2011 show:
Humber Valley – down 36%
Allenby – down 23%
Bathurst Manor – down 17%
Chinatown – down 17%

As I said yesterday, if you’re thinking about selling your home sell it soon and if you need a place to live rent for now because it is 25% cheaper than ownership. In other words, home prices in Toronto are atleast 25% overvalued.

Real Estate Prices Dropping In Toronto

Despite what the headlines have been saying about Toronto prices staying firm, the evidence shows that prices for condominiums in the downtown core have already started a steep decline.

Two months ago a  two bedroom condominium (NO DEN) at 12 Yonge Street was selling for $450,000.  Today I saw a two bedroom PLUS DEN in the same building going for $435,000.  That is a drop of about $35,000 ($450,000-$435,000 plus $20,000 for the den)  in just 2 months.  This represents a drop in price of 7.5% ($35,000/$470,000).

Beware if you’re buying a condominium in Toronto, the bubble seems like it has begun to burst.  If you need to sell soon, sell now not later.  If you need a place to live, rent the condo because it is 25% cheaper than owning.

Now is a time to be smart not emotional about real estate.

PSI Seminars

I was surfing the internet when I came across a website with the explicit mandate of exposing a huge fraud that is destroying lives.  The owner of the website claims that PSI Seminars is a cult that is designed to pressure people into taking the expensive seminars that range into the thousands of dollars.

The webiste is www.psi-lies.com and the stories that are posted demonstrate just how relationships and lives have been destroyed.  One story in particular is about a woman who was persuaded to take the course by her close friend.  The short of it is that she came back from the seminar and 30 days later left her husband. A year later she’s maxed out her credit card paying for more and more courses on becoming more spiritual.  Meanwhile, she’s gone onto eharmony looking for a relationship. The man goes on to say that she’s put out feelers to see if he’s willing to get back together with her.

My advice to him is not to waste his time with such a week woman that she would destroy her life-long relationship so readily after returning from a week of brain-washing, programming or whatever you want to call it.  There are lots of good women out there, they actually out number the men. So say goodbye to this looser of an excuse for a woman and find yourself someone who is serious, reliable, local and able to commit.

Fossil Energy, Inc. Announces Successful Project Financing of $6M for Alberta Project Through Petro Lucre LLC

AUSTIN, Texas, March 29, 2011 /PRNewswire/ –Fossil Energy, Inc. is pleased to announce that it has secured $6,000,000 in project financing through Petro Lucre’s efforts to fund drilling operations in the Swan Hills, Alberta Canadaproject.

The prospect consists of two leases comprising a total of 640 acres. The prospect section is in an ideal up-dip location in close proximity to other wells drilled and produced by Shell Canada in the Caroline Swan Hills Field. Production data, and reservoir monitoring by Shell Canada further affirms the viability of this project. When Shell Canada unveiled the extent of its discovery at Caroline, it was the largest oil discovery in a decade or more.

“We have been very pleased with our association with Fossil Energy, Inc. due to their years of experience in the oil field as well as track record for successful projects, both reworks and new drilling opportunities. We look forward to continuing to work together to mutually develop these opportunities for our clients and contacts,” stated John Mink, General Manager of Petro Lucre LLC.

Petro Lucre LLC is a US-based oil industry consulting and vertically integrated investor relations firm that works with private and public oil & gas companies to meet their financing, merger, acquisition and development goals. Find out more information here: Corporate site: http://PetroLucre.com Investor site:http://TurnKeyOil.com.

Fossil Energy, Inc. CEO, Paul Grady said, “We began working with Petro Lucre LLC in 2010 due to their extensive investment resources and contact database. Petro Lucre LLC was highly recommended and has since provided consulting and introductions that have lead to successful transactions in the past as well as currently.”

Fossil Energy, Inc., is a privately-held oil and gas exploration, drilling and operating company from mature onshore U.S. oil fields with headquarters inLakewood, Colorado. The Company purchases mineral leases, explores, develops, produces, and sells crude oil and natural gas. Fossil Energy currently has operations in Wyoming, Nebraska and Kentucky.

This is not an offer to buy or sell securities. Oil investment carries with it very high risks. Do your own due diligence and consult with a licensed professional before making any investment decisions. The full disclaimer is available here:http://www.petrolucre.com/Disclaimer.html

Zhang Ling Accused of Using Other Authors’ Work

When Penguin Canada puts one of its planned 2011 blockbuster books on hold you know something is up.  At issue is ‘Gold Mountain Blues’, written by a Toronto resident that calls herself Zhang Ling.  Ling’s book has gathered major awards in China and is being translated into English for release into Canada and Britain.

Ling’s previous book, ‘Aftershock’ was made into a movie in 2010 and became the biggest box-office hit in Chinese history with box office receipts of over $100 million.

‘Gold Mountain Blues’, however has been a controversial subject on the internet where individuals claim that Ling has ‘appropriated’ some of the ideas, characters, plots and details of a number of Canadian Chinese writers.  Imagine that?…a Chinese person taking someone else’s ideas as their own and making money on them.  Hmmmm….why does that sound familiar?

With the Chinese government trying to move away from its history and reputation of being a nation of commercial thieves, this is yet another incident that doesn’t bode well for the international reputation of China or of Chinese immigrants.  Though there has been lots of stories in the business community about the unethical and often illegal actions of many Chinese business and political persons this time it reaches into actual creative works. 

Who doesn’t know of China’s reputation for taking product designs and then producing knock-offs, often even with the original designers label for their own, but at much inferior quality?  This time is a little different, if the accusation are correct then it would be an example of an author ‘borrowing’ from other’s works and claiming the creation for herself.

But what gives these accusations some credibility is that not only do the accusers include Chinese individuals, they also refer to specific works, “Disappearing Moon Cafe'” by Sky Lee and “The Concubine’s Children” by Denise Chong.  The allegations found on the internet are that, Gold Mountain Blues (written in Chineses) plagiarizes the works of well-known Chinese Canadian authors who write in English, including Denise Chong, Wayson Choy, Sky Lee and Paul Yee.

Ling denies the accusations.  The accusations have not yet been proved in a court of law and I’m not sure how you would measure how they would be proven in the court of public opinion.

Yet, “Changjiang” (identified as Robert Luo on his site) is the key blogger determined to bring this issue to light.  His allegation is that Zhang has been playing the margins: taking advantage of the fact that Canadian Chinese writers cannot read Chinese, and Chines readers and critics do not understand English.  A search for “Changjiang” on the internet displays a number of links, including http://www.microsofttranslator.com/bv.aspx?&lo=TB&from=zh-CHS&to=en&a=http%3A%2F%2Fblog.sina.com.cn%2Fs%2Fblog_6f1d3bbd0100ofu3.html%3Ftj%3D1

However, Jennifer Jay, a historian at the University of Alberta who is fluent in Chinese and who read an online version of ‘Gold Mountain Blues’ was careful in a recent interview to say that the book did make her feel “alarm.”  She was referring to the comparison to “Disappearing Moon Cafe’.”

If Zhang Ling is in fact a plagiarizer (another word for a thief) then harm will have been done to Penguin Canada in the form of the five figures they paid out, as well as to the talented and hard-working authors she took from.  However, the most damage would be to the reputation of the Chinese people at a time when they are supposedly trying to clean up their image.  As a Chinese Canadian I would not be happy with this situation, especially if the allegations are true.

What can and should be done to fix this?  How about a thorough investigation by a panel of 7 people able to read both English and Chinese.  If Ling is found guilty, then she should give all her proceeds to those she stole from.  As for the Chinese government doing anything about it…somehow I don’t see them doing anything about it.

Then again maybe this is all an orchestrated attempt at gaining publicity for Zhang’s book.  Some people do believe that all news is good news and that controversy would get her publicity she wouldn’t otherwise get.  Regardless of what is behind it, this is not a good thing for the Chinese reputation and something should be done to get to the bottom of it beyond Penguin putting the book on hold.  The question in my mind is if Penguin finds Zhang did plagiarize, will they just shelve the book, or ask for their money back, or will they sue Zhang for fraud and damages for claiming the work for herself?

Will Zhang Ling ever be fully and properly investigated and bywho, or is it ‘whom’?