Gurmant Grewal

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Gurmant Singh Grewal, (born December 21, 1957 in Barundi, Punjab, India) is a Canadian politician and former Conservative Party of Canada Member of Parliament. Gurmant and his wife, Nina Grewal, were the first married couple to serve in the House of Commons of Canada at the same time. First elected to the Canadian House of Commons on June 2, 1997 for the riding of Surrey Central and re-elected there on November 27, 2000, he represented the riding of Newton—North Delta from 2004 until 2005. His wife represents Fleetwood—Port Kells.

In 2002, he was awarded the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for service to Canada.

In 2005, Grewal emerged at the centre of numerous political controversies that eventually gained significant national and some international attention. On November 29, 2005, Grewal announced that he would not be running in the 2006 federal election.[1]

In 2012, Grewal was awarded Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Political Science and Diplomacy (Honoris Causa) by the Caucasus University in Tbilisi, Georgia.

In 2012, Grewal was awarded the World Sikh Award in London, U.K. in the professional category. Grewal is the first Canadian and a politician to win this prestigious award.

Early life and career[edit]

Grewal was born in India, after earning BSc Honours and MBA and working as manager with reputed organisation, emigrated to Liberia as a young man, where he was a successful businessman and professor at university of Liberia.

In 1997, he was the Reform Party of Canada nominee in the federal riding of Surrey Central, and was elected in the 1997 federal election with 17,438 votes, or 35% of the popular vote.

Positions and memberships[edit]

  • Deputy House Leader of the Official Opposition of Canada
  • Official Opposition Chief Critic for Foreign Affairs
  • Official Opposition Chief Critic for Multiculturalism
  • Official Opposition Chief Critic for Scrutiny of Regulations
  • Official Opposition Chief Critic for Canadian International Development
  • Official Opposition Foreign Affairs Critic for Canadians Abroad
  • Official Opposition Foreign Affairs Critic for Asia Pacific
  • Official Opposition Deputy Critic for Foreign Affairs
  • Official Opposition Deputy Critic on the Environment
  • Official Opposition Deputy Health Critic
  • Co-Chair (7 terms), Scrutiny of Regulations, Standing Joint Committee of the House and Senate
  • Member, Official Opposition Shadow Cabinet Priority & Planning Committee
  • Member, Liaison Committee of the House of Commons (7 terms)
  • Member, Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs
  • Member, Standing Committee on Public Accounts
  • Member, Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade
  • Member, Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development
  • Member, Standing Committee on Health
  • Member, Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage
  • Member, Standing Committee on Transport
  • Member, Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration
  • Member, Sub-Committee on Budgets of the Liaison Committee
  • Member, Sub-Committee on Organized Crime of the Standing Committee of Justice & Human Rights
  • Chairman, Treasurer & Founder, Canada-India Parliamentary Friendship Group
  • Vice President, Commonwealth Parliamentary Group
  • Vice Chair, Acting Chair & Founder, Canada-Pakistan Parliamentary Friendship Group
  • Vice Chair & Executive Committee Member, Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA)
  • Vice Chair, Canada-ASEAN Parliamentary Friendship Group
  • Executive Committee Member, Friendship Group of Parliamentarians for UNESCO
  • Executive Committee Member, Inter-Parliamentary Forum of the America (FIPA)
  • Member, Parliamentary Confederation of the Americas (COPA)
  • Member, Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association
  • Member, Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group
  • Member, Canada-Taiwan Parliamentary Friendship Group
  • Member, Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU)

Parliamentary records[edit]

With the 2004 election of his wife, Nina Grewal, became first married couple to serve concurrently in the House of Commons. It is also a record in the Commonwealth.

  • First Indo-Canadian and Sikh MP elected to Her Majesty’s Loyal Official Opposition of Canada and the first Ethnic candidate of the Reform Party in Canada
  • Shortest period of time between immigrating to Canada and winning election to the House of Commons (5 years and 8 months)
  • As Deputy House Leader, first non-Caucasian to be an officer of the House
  • Called “The Iron Man” of the Canadian Parliament
  • Only member of the Canadian Alliance to receive Royal Assent for a Private Member’s bill (C-205),
  • Holds parliamentary record for attending the most consecutive votes – 471 over a 43-hour period
  • Frequently delivered more speeches than his colleagues during sessions of the House of Commons
  • Introduced 15 Private Members’ bills and 40 motions
  • Awarded the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for Outstanding Services to Canada
  • Named 2002 Leader of the Year by Radio India
  • Awarded Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science and Diplomacy (Honoris Causa) by Caucasus University, Tbilisi, Georgia in October 2012
  • World Sikh Award in London, U.K. in October 2012 and was named 28th amongst the 100 Most Powerful, Influential and Contemporary Sikhs in the World.

Immigration bond controversy[edit]

On April 6, 2005, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Joe Volpe, asked the parliamentary Ethics Commissioner and Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to investigate Grewal following his testimony to a parliamentary committee. In that testimony, Grewal had stated that he regularly asked those seeking his help in getting visitor visas for their relatives, if they would be willing to post bonds guaranteeing their return. Grewal contends that he was demonstrating that such immigration bonds could work as a way to prevent spurious refugee claims and illegal immigration. There is no evidence that any money was actually exchanged (or who would be paid should the bonds be called). On June 22, the ethics commissioner cleared him of these charges. He said the practice placed Grewal in an apparent conflict of interest, however, Grewal was making an honest mistake and never pocketed any money from the pledges.[2]

The "Grewal tapes"[edit]

In mid-May, at the time the Liberal government risked losing a confidence vote on its 2005 budget (which was later decided in the government's favour by the speaker, after a tie in the house), negotiations began between Grewal and the Liberals about the possibility of Grewal's changing political parties. With a Liberal go-between, Ujjal Dosanjh, Minister of Health, and Tim Murphy, the Chief of Staff of the Prime Minister met with Grewal, on three occasions May 16–18. There were also 36 phone calls by the Liberals.

In these negotiations Grewal was offered to change parties in exchange for a senate seat for his wife, a cabinet post for himself, and an apology from Volpe. In response, Murphy and Dosanjh made vague promises of future reward. While these negotiations were going on, prominent Conservative MP Belinda Stronach defected to the Liberals and did receive a ministerial position in the government. In the end, Grewal did not change parties.

Unbeknownst to his interlocutors, Grewal was recording the conversations, a fact that he revealed to the public on the evening of May 18, where Grewal publicly accused the Liberals of trying to buy his vote with offers of a cabinet or a diplomatic post for himself and a senate seat for his wife. The next day he claimed that he had made four hours of recording, and released nine minutes of a recording of a conversation with Murphy, in which Murphy suggests that he abstain from the coming confidence vote. New Democratic Party MP Yvon Godin referred them to Bernard Shapiro, Parliamentary Ethics Commissioner and to the RCMP.

Two weeks later, on May 31, Grewal handed over recordings to Shapiro and the RCMP. Simultaneously he released an hour and 15 minutes of recordings and transcripts to the public.[3]

Several news outlets almost immediately began pointing to portions of the tape that seemed to be edited, something that Grewal and the Conservatives denied. On June 2, 2005, the Conservatives issued a news release admitting that two short sections had been accidentally omitted.[4] They simultaneously released a new recording that was 15 minutes longer than the one issued on May 31; on June 5 a new transcript was released.

As this was happening, audio experts began identifying clear edits in the May 31 tapes. Whether there are also edits in the June 2 versions remains controversial.

Sometime in mid- to late June, Grewal handed more copies of the recordings over to the RCMP, though he subsequently explained that these were his own personal copies of already existing recordings.

In mid-August, the RCMP announced that there would be no further criminal investigation into the tapes and their contents.

On January 25, 2006, Shapiro released a report that was sharply critical of Grewal. Shapiro stated, "While it is not clear whether Mr. Grewal genuinely sought an inducement to change his vote or whether he just acted the part in an attempt to entrap Mr. Dosanjh, his actions were, in either case, extremely inappropriate."[5][6]

Package incident and stress leave[edit]

On June 6, Grewal announced that he was taking a "stress leave" from Parliament,[7] after Air Canada announced that he was under investigation for attempting to induce passengers on a flight from Vancouver to Ottawa, on which Grewal was not travelling, to carry a package on his behalf, which would have violated security regulations. On June 17, this investigation cleared Grewal.

Liberian connections[edit]

In light of the 2005 controversies, an interview given by Grewal to the Vancouver newspaper The Province in 1995 resurfaced. At the time, Grewal was seeking a Liberal Party nomination in the British Columbia provincial election. When reporter Don Hauka described Grewal as "politically inexperienced", Grewal phoned him to clarify his previous experience. Grewal himself claimed both verbally and in a résumé that he faxed to Hauka that he had been an advisor to dictator Samuel Doe during Liberia's Green Revolution. In 1995 Grewal also claimed to be "Honorary vice-consul of Liberia in Canada". Subsequently Grewal has denied all such connections to the former government of Liberia. [1] Grewal and his wife Nina moved from Liberia in 1991, and both their children were born there.

Election expenses[edit]

On July 11, 2005, CBC News reported that several people who donated to Grewal's campaign in 2004 claimed never to have received tax receipts for their donations, and that at Grewal's request several of these donations had been made to Grewal himself and not to his riding association or the Conservative party.[8] On June 3, 2009, following an RCMP investigation, it was determined that there wasn't sufficient evidence to ground any charges under the Criminal Code.[9]

Electoral results[edit]

Canadian federal election, 2004: Newton-North Delta
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Conservative Gurmant Grewal 13,529 32.81%
Liberal Sukh Dhaliwal 13,009 31.55%
New Democratic Nancy Clegg 12,037 29.19%
Green John Hague 2,555 6.19%
Communist Nazir Rizvi 98 0.23%
Total valid votes 41,444 100.00%
Total rejected ballots 184
Turnout 43,660
Canadian federal election, 2000: Surrey Central
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Alliance Gurmant Grewal 29,812 51.6% +17.8%
Liberal Peter Warkentin 19,513 33.8%
Progressive Conservative Dan Baxter 3,940 6.8%
New Democratic Dan Goy 3,211 5.6%
Green David Walters 1,175 2.0%
Communist Harjit Daudharia 114 0.2%
Total valid votes 57,765 99.7%
Total rejected ballots 196 0.3%
Turnout 57,961 59.5%

Note: Canadian Alliance vote is compared to Reform vote in 1997.

Canadian federal election, 1997: Surrey Central
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Reform Gurmant Grewal 17,461 34.67 n/a $32,008
Liberal Palbinder Shergill 14,595 28.98 n/a $65,570
New Democratic Charan Gill 7,064 14.02 n/a $58,025
Independent Mike Runte 4,596 9.12 n/a $25,401
Progressive Conservative Vincent Antonio 4,327 8.59 n/a $24,601
Christian Heritage Bill Stilwell 978 1.94 n/a $2,944
Canadian Action Philip McCormack 634 1.25 n/a $3,497
Green Imtiaz Popat 417 0.82 n/a 0
Natural Law Val Litwin 147 0.29 n/a 0
Independent Gaetan Myre 140 0.27 n/a $681
Total valid votes/Expense limit 50,359 100 n/a $66,100
Total rejected ballots 368 0.73
Turnout 50,727 61.62
Source: votes,[10] totals,[11] and expenditures.[12]


References[edit]

  1. ^ "Controversial MP Grewal not seeking Tory re-election". CBC News, November 30, 2005.
  2. ^ "Grewal cleared in immigration controversy". CBC News, June 22, 2005.
  3. ^ "Grewal releases secret tapes". CBC News, May 31, 2005.
  4. ^ "Tories blame tape-altering claims on technical glitch". CBC News, June 3, 2005.
  5. ^ "The Grewal-Dosanjh Inquiry". Office of the Ethics Commissioner, January 2006. Retrieved April 13, 2010. (pdf file)
  6. ^ "Dosanjh cleared of vote-buying allegation". CBC News, January 25, 2006.
  7. ^ "MP Grewal goes on stress leave". CBC News, June 7, 2005.
  8. ^ "Grewal's election expenses under scrutiny". CBC News, July 11, 2005.
  9. ^ "Former B.C. MP won't be charged over political donations". CBC News, June 3, 2009.
  10. ^ "Surrey Central, British Columbia (1996–2003)". History of Federal Ridings since 1867. Library of Parliament. Retrieved December 29, 2011. 
  11. ^ "36th and 37th General Elections: Official Voting Results: Poll-by-poll Results". Resource Centre: Reports. Elections Canada. 2000. Retrieved December 29, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Contributions and Election Expenses Reported by Candidates, by Electoral District". Contributions and Expenses. Elections Canada. 1997. Retrieved December 29, 2011.  Note: Requires navigation to Surrey Central under the British Columbia pull down menu.

External links[edit]