Rahim Jaffer sought secret info about Canadian satellite technology: court documents

Andy Radia
Politics Reporter
Canada Politics

The long running saga of the husband and wife duo of Helena Guergis and Rahim Jaffer has included allegations of prostitutes, cocaine, fraud and extortion.

It appears we can now add espionage to the list.

According to a court document filed Tuesday by private investigator Derrick Snowdy and obtained by PostMedia News, Jaffer may have used his position as a cabinet minister's spouse to obtain Canadian military secrets on behalf of the Chinese.

The claim states that in February 2010, the former MP went to China to meet with Hai Shiene Chen, a Chinese Canadian businessman involved with ties to state-owned technology companies.

According to email exchanges obtained by Snowdy, Chen and his Chinese associates had been anxious to befriend Jaffer and Guergis. During the trip, Snowdy writes, Jaffer "was hosted and socialized by Chen's associates representing state-owned technology companies."

On his return, Jaffer wrote to David Pierce, then the director of parliamentary affairs to then industry minister Tony Clement, with detailed questions about the Canadian government's "long-term space policy" regarding Radarsat Constellation, a high-technology earth-observation satellite being developed by MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates, with more than $500 million in federal funding.

In the email dated March 16, 2010, Jaffer, using an email address belonging to Guergis's MP account, wrote that he had "a few questions on behalf of some constituents who are friends of Helena and I."

He then asks in the email about the government's plans for the satellite program, including its sensitive "automatic identification system," a military system used to identify vessels in Canadian waters.

"I know these are very technical questions and I have pretty much copied and pasted their request directly to you," Jaffer wrote in the email to Pierce.

There is no evidence that Jaffer was given any information.

Snowdy submitted the claim as part of an Ontario court hearing to decide if Guergis' defamation lawsuit against him, Stephen Harper and others should proceed.

[ Related: Harper's lawyer calls Guergis lawsuit 'just plain bad' ]

Guergis was booted out of Cabinet in April of 2010 when Harper announced that his office had become aware of "serious allegations" regarding her conduct which he was forwarding to the RCMP and Ethics Commissioner.

Those unproven allegations were believed to be related to drug use, fraud, extortion and association with prostitutes.

Shortly after his wife's dismissal,   Jaffer lashed out at the Prime Minister and the Conservative Party, for mistreating his wife.

"We stood for democracy. We stood for freedom," he told a Commons committee  referring to the party he first joined and was elected to as an MP to Parliament in 1997. He was defeated in 2008.

"The way my wife has been treated by your party and your government doesn't represent anything that I have ever … worked for during the time I was an MP."

If these latest allegations are true, however, Jaffer shouldn't be pointing any fingers.

[ Related: Taxpayers to foot the bill for Harper's high-powered legal defence in Guergis case ]