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 center of political controversies and 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, he emigrated to Liberia, where he was a successful businessman and professor at university of Liberia.

In 1991, he emigrated to Canada. Within less than 6 years, he was elected as M.P. for the Reform Party of Canada in the federal riding of Surrey Central, in the 1997 federal election with 17,438 votes, Whereas, in 2000 federal election he won by getting 29,812 votes, 51.6% of the popular vote - a margin of 10,300 votes more than the Liberal candidate.

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 Bill (C-284)[edit]

Grewal had introduced a Bill C-284 to allow a bond to be posted to secure visitor's visa, his Bill passed the vote in the House and was referred to Immigration committee in March 2005. 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 voluntary statement given 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 immigration bonds, as they have been practiced in Australia and New Zealand, could work as a way to prevent spurious refugee claims and illegal immigration; and assist law abiding sponsors to secure visa for their loved ones to visit Canada without hassle. There is no evidence that any bond was actually signed (or any money exchanged for the bonds). On June 22, the ethics commissioner cleared him of any wrongdoing and stated that he 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), the Liberals initiated negotiations with Grewal asking him to vote with the Liberals and join the Liberal Party of Canada. 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, including Grewal's office. There were also 36 phone calls by the Liberals.

In these negotiations Grewal was offered inducements 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 voluntarily 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. He had released excerpts of nine minutes of a recording of conversations with Murphy and Dosanjh, 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.

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 and the Liberals alleged that portions of the tape 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] In mid-August, the RCMP announced that there would be no further criminal investigation into the tapes and their contents and Grewal was cleared of any wrongdoing.

On January 25, 2006, Shapiro released a heavily edited report from the draft reports and 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".[5][6]

Liberian connections[edit]

Prior to immigrating to Canada in 1991, Grewal lived in Liberia where he was a manager, successful businessman and Assistant Professor of Business Management at the University of Liberia. He wanted to help the suffering people and victims of the bloody civil war with medicines, food and clothes and intended to organize a charity to help in consultation with the office of the ambassador of Liberia. Grewal brothers had earlier written a letter advising the President of Liberia to launch a Green Revolution to grow more food that would help eliminate hunger, malnutrition and poverty. This advice generated some commotion, particularly by a reporter of the Province newspaper in 1995. The article construed that Grewal was an advisor to the military dictator, despite the Liberian Ambassador having issued a letter clarifying the issue. Grewal has denied any such connections to the former government of Liberia. [1] Grewal appealed to the international community to help Liberia and its people.

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.[7] 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.[8]

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,[9] totals,[10] and expenditures.[11]


References[edit]

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