Buckets of Data

February 21, 2004

Feb 21 2004: Surrey Now: LTE About Grewals Hedging Bets

Filed under: Uncategorized — bucketsdata @ 8:42 pm

Electorate will get wise to sign-ups someday
Surrey Now
Saturday, February 21, 2004
Page: 9
Section: Letters
Byline: Mike Runte
Source: Surrey Now

The Editor,

Re: “Grewals ‘hedging bets,’ Polak charges,” the Now, Feb. 18.

Dear Mary Polak, welcome to Surrey. It would appear that Mr. and Mrs. Grewal are engaging in political manoeuvering that is similar to the 1997 federal election. During the nomination process for the federal Reform party, Gurmant Grewal showed up at the Reform office with hundreds of signatures of new members. The Reform party turned a blind eye and due to that, Lorna Dysart, one of the candidates, withdrew from the process.

I guess I still believed in the democratic way of doing things and I stayed in the race. Well, the nomination night arrived in due course and it was pure comedy. Grewal handily won the nomination.

Now Chuck Cadman is confronting this method of election strategy with Jasbir Cheema. Grewal says Mary Polak’s complaining is “sour grapes.” He said the same thing in ’97 when I complained. Well, Mr. Grewal, sour grapes make good wine and wine, like the electorate of Surrey, will get better and stronger with time.

Mike Runte

Feb. 2004: Grewal writes to The Now against C-250

Filed under: Uncategorized — bucketsdata @ 4:11 pm

Surrey MP only reflecting views of his constituents

The Editor,

Re: “MP accused of fear-mongering,” the Now, Feb. 19.

Charges of “fear-mongering” and “whipping up hysteria,” levelled against me by NDP MP Svend Robinson in your newspaper are completely out of line.

Mr. Robinson argues, rather weakly, that Bill C-250, which seeks to criminalize criticism of homosexual conduct, would never be used to suppress freedom of speech and freedom of religion because the Criminal Code requires the consent of the appropriate provincial attorney general in order to commence prosecution.

Apparently Mr. Robinson fails to appreciate how the law will be used if amended by his proposed bill. While it is true, criminal proceedings require the consent of an attorney general, no such consent is required for civil lawsuits or injunctions. And that is the route that will be taken by some activists, already on record claiming the Christian religion foments hatred of homosexuals.

In light of current jurisprudence, where religious faith seems to be permitted within the walls of a church, but is banned from the public forum, I must remain skeptical, despite Mr. Robinson’s assurances.

Need I remind Mr. Robinson that the views I’ve expressed are those of the vast majority of my constituents? His accusations are therefore less against me than the people of Surrey Central, and, for that matter, the people of Canada who have voiced their strong opposition to C-250.

MP Gurmant Grewal
Surrey Central

February 19, 2004

Feb 19 2004: Daily Observer Reports: Mr. & Mrs.Grewal Seek Nominations In Neighboring Ridings

Filed under: Uncategorized — bucketsdata @ 8:41 pm

Tory MP, wife seek nominations in neighbouring ridings
The Daily Observer (Pembroke)
Thursday, February 19, 2004
Page: 12
Section: News
Dateline: SURREY, B.C.
Source: Canadian Press

SURREY, B.C. (CP) — A Conservative MP and his wife will both seek their party’s nomination in neighbouring ridings.

Gurmant Grewal and his wife Nina were accused of hedging their bets over the weekend when they both signed up for two suburban Surrey ridings, with the plan of each picking a riding once they had a better idea of membership numbers.

The MP said Tuesday he had decided to seek the Conservative nomination in the Newton-North Delta riding and his wife will make a bid for the Fleetwood-Port Kells riding.

Their previous plan outraged Mary Polak, who had planned to seek the Conservative nomination in the new riding of Fleetwood-Port Kells.

“I’ve withdrawn,” Polak said Tuesday. “There have been so many irregularities from the founding meeting of this riding that this is just the cherry on top.”

Gurmant Grewal said the couple’s decision to hedge their bets was in response to a “a technical glitch” caused by a huge number of new memberships pouring into the national office.

“We had no choice except to file the membership forms in both ridings to keep our options open,” he said. “We have no intention of running in two ridings simultaneously. It was simply a technicality.”

Also Appeared in (Vancouver Province)

Grewals ‘hedging bets,’ Polak charges

Ted Colley

Surrey school trustee Mary Polak pulled her bid for the Conservative nomination in Fleetwood-Port Kells yesterday.

Polak said she quit the race because Surrey-Central Conservative MP Gurmant Grewal and his wife Nina had both filed nomination papers in that riding and in Newton-North Delta, a move she called undemocratic.

“I’m done. This is just crazy,” Polak said.

“They’re hedging their bets, waiting to see where they have the best chance to win. The end of this book has been written.”

Several hours later, Grewal announced he will run in Newton-North Delta and Nina in Fleetwood-Port Kells.

Grewal said they filed in both ridings because the party’s national office was unable to supply membership lists before the filing deadline for nominations. He said so many new memberships were coming in, the party couldn’t process them quickly enough. Grewal said the lists only became available late Tuesday morning.

“We never intended to run in more than one riding. We just needed that information before making a decision,” he said.

That, said Polak, proves her point.

“They wanted to see where they could win instead of just filing in one riding and running a clean campaign,” she said.

Grewal denied that and said Polak’s charges were nothing but sour grapes.

“Mary Polak is simply finding an excuse because she didn’t work hard. Of a total of about 1,100 members in that riding, Mary Polak had less than 100. That’s why she quit, nothing else.”

Polak called that nonsense, saying there’s no way Grewal could know how many members she signed up.

“There’s nowhere on there that says who signed up who. Gurmant’s just trying to put a big happy face on all of this.”

The two ridings were created when Surrey-Central was split. The Conservatives’ Newton-North Delta nomination meeting will be held Feb. 28 and Fleetwood-Port Kells on Feb. 29.

Surrey-North MP Chuck Cadman also faces a serious challenge for his riding’s nomination after his new rival Jasbir Cheema, a former TV news anchor for Channel M, reportedly signed up close to 1,500 members to the riding association, which currently has only about 268.

“It comes down to a numbers game, which is unfortunate because I don’t believe that’s how the process was initially designed to work,” said Cadman, 56.

First elected to Parliament in 1997, Cadman said he only recently learned of several large membership sign-ups in Surrey submitted just before his party’s deadline earlier this month. Cadman said the membership problem cuts across political lines since other provincial and federal parties have had the same situation.

“Unfortunately it looks like it comes down to who can sign up the most members,” said Cadman. “I can stand up in front of a room full of 1,500 or 2,000 people right now and if somebody else signed up 1,500 of them I can talk about policy until I’m blue in the face and it won’t make any difference.”

Cheema, who doesn’t live in Surrey-North, is a friend of Grewal, who said he advised Cheema not to run against Cadman.

– with files from Sterling News Service

February 17, 2004

Feb. 2004: Grewal defends his and Nina’s recent nominations

Filed under: Uncategorized — bucketsdata @ 12:30 pm

Republished in June 2005 at http://www.voiceonline.com/voice/050611/headline3.php:

On joining politics:

When I moved from Africa, I was doing business and when I migrated to Canada, I wanted to be in business. I was doing pretty well there and (my wife) Narinder was watching what was happening in this country. In Africa, we saw people dying and being raped, all kinds of things. It was a bloody civil war and we lost all our business in Liberia. I lost about US$420,000 worth of inventory alone and I went to that country with only $18, worked very hard, and I had a monopoly in the country in three businesses. I am simply referring to this because it impacted our thinking and mental situation altogether. When we were in Canada, my wife wanted to go into politics. I wanted to go into business. So my father, who doesn’t interfere much, said that our kids were young and we should take care of the kids first. Once they are on the wrong track, it would be difficult for them to make a U-turn. We took his advice. So we postponed the idea of going into politics for some time. Then after a little while, my wife said that why don’t you go join politics. I thought about it and I agreed and I jumped into politics. I was elected and stayed in Ottawa Monday through Friday, working very hard, raising very important issues, never being afraid to raise an issue and did a lot better than many average M.P.s. But being an ethnic minority, my recognition will be half that of a white M.P. or Caucasian M.P., even if I work twice as hard as a Caucasian M.P., not because of my party situation but that is the overall perception, the way we live in this country.

The mainstream media (is biased). Now they have been talking about the whistle-blower legislation (to protect government workers for revealing government wrongdoing) for three days. No one will mention that it was Gurmant Grewal who introduced whistle-blower legislation four years ago. It was debated in the House and the Liberals voted against it. And many other things they will not mention because it involves me. If it was a white man, they would have probably mentioned it 20 times by now.

On wife’s political involvement:

So I was an M.P. and Nina (wife Narinder) was quite involved in the party. She was member of the party. She has been a member of the party ever since I became involved in politics in 1995-96. She has been a board member ever since. She contributed in fundraising for the party. She contributed in distributing the literature and going from door to door. She has been spending time on the phone, talking to people and having them come during the campaign to vote and attending the party policy formulation conventions, our national conventions, party’s caucus and all kinds of AGMs and everything.

People even call her at home to tell her their immigration cases because I was in Ottawa. She would then tell me and then communicate my response to them because in our community, people call home. In ‘gora’ communities they will only go to the M.P. after making an appointment. But they just walk into my house. I have been getting calls even at 5 a.m. Can you believe that? Or 12:30 at night for some problem. And I never felt bad. I didn’t tell people, “Why are you calling at this time?” I always pick up the phone and answer.

So she has been quite familiar with the policies and everything and watching and then knowing and she has been representing me in the constituency for the last four years, Monday through Friday, when I have been in Ottawa. I used to send my wife to schools or to various events in the community. For example, Remembrance Day ceremony is held at three different places. I can only be at one place. So I send my wife or my staff to the other places – people appreciate that. At one time she was in Ottawa. You know she was in touch with Preston Manning, Stockwell Day, Deborah Grey, Stephen Harper and everyone. Some time ago she was in Ottawa and she was talking to some people and Stephen Harper knew she wanted to run at one time. People started to encourage her to run. Two months ago the board of Newton- North Delta asked me if Nina wanted to run. I said, ‘No, she will not run. You go ahead and look for a star candidate. Once you find a star candidate, it’s fine. But if you don’t find one, let Nina know. She will probably think twice about it.”

I thought that people would think that husband and were probably running together for money or power. But that was not our idea.

On prospects in ridings:

The Newton- North Delta riding is a little difficult for Conservative Party to win as compared to Fleetwood-Port Kells. John Cummins who represented the Delta component of the riding went to Richmond to run even though he lives in North Delta. I represented the largest riding in Canada in population – Surrey-Central – and it is split in almost two. Eighty-seven (87) per cent of Fleetwood-Port Kells is comprised of the Surrey Central federal riding and 53 per cent of Newton-North Delta is comprised of Surrey Central.

So both the boards were twisting my arm to run in their respective riding. They thought that I was an excellent M.P., hardworking. I did not make any announcement. So after two months when I said that Nina will not run, they started twisting my arm to run in Newton-North Delta. Now if I was a selfish politician like John Cummins or anyone else, I would have gone to Fleetwood-Port Kells where my chances of winning are more and I would run there and that would be the end of the story. But that was never my intention.

But then the Newton-North Delta board said we can’t find any credible candidate who is so popular, will work hard and is familiar with the party policy and we want you to run here. So I said, “OK I will take the risk,” because Newton-North Delta is a comparatively difficult riding to win.

(Grewal explained that if he lost the election, his elder son would have to give up the idea of joining Harvard Business School because in that case, Grewal would have to go into business to make ends meet and it would take time to start making money).

Now if I represented both these ridings (carved out of Surrey Central) very well, people are supporting me. At the same time, Nina wanted to run. She’s an individual in her own right. She was born in Japan, educated at Convent of Jesus and Mary school in Shimla (India), which is one of the best private schools in India. Husband and wife can be doctors, they can be engineers, they can be lawyers, they can be anyone.

On the process and Mary Polack:

Now I intended to run in Newton-North Delta and my wife wanted to run in Fleetwood-Port Kells. Our leadership in the party knew about. That and they had no objections. In fact they encouraged her to run and both the boards were feeling very comfortable.

To win a nomination, you sign up members. Every party gives a certain time that is the cut-off date for signing members and then after that there is a cut-off date for submitting your papers for nomination.

In our party, 21 days prior to the cut-off date for nomination is the deadline for submitting membership forms. Fourteen (14) days prior to the nomination date is the cut-off for submitting the application forms of the candidate. They give you one week. What is the purpose of the one week? The purpose is that after you submit membership, the party will tell you the total count. Then you assess and re-assess your situation with respect to your opponent. If you think that you have reasonable chances, then you submit your application form and run in that riding. So that’s what everyone wanted to do. Our party is overwhelmed with membership because of simultaneous nominations going out in the country and the party leadership contest is going on at the same time. During that one week I called the national office many times. They would not tell me the numbers. Now I had no idea if Mary Polack who had all the slate of SET behind her would sign up 2,000 members or 300 members or 5,000 members. I had no idea. Similarly in Newton-North Delta, I had no idea how many members Tony Bhullar or others (Brad Tepper, Rick Tone, Anita Chetal and Joginder).

Hypothetically, if Mary Polack has signed 5,000 members then we would have lesser chances of winning and I would forget about Nina and run in Fleetwood-Port Kells. That would be the end of the story. But if they have signed much fewer members, and we thought that we could win, we would have been filing our nomination papers. We would take advantage of the one-week gap between these two cut-off dates.

Since the party was unable to provide us the numbers, one hour before the cut-off date I called them again. It was suggested by my friends and my advisors that I sign up in both the ridings and that as soon as the party would give us the membership numbers, one of us could then withdraw from that riding. At the same time we would inform the nomination chair about our intentions.

I went to the nomination chair, to whom you give the applications forms, and told him that I intended to run in Newton-North Delta and Nina intended to run in Fleetwood-Port Kells, but it was subject to the membership numbers. We worked very hard for sometime and signed up quite a large number of members, about 900 in each riding.

It was a similar story during the party for leadership when Preston Manning was running, and then Stephen Harper. I had done it a few times, signing up almost the same numbers.

The nomination chair told me that I was not violating any rules and that he understood my reasons. It was simply a technicality

I had been following up with the party for the last three or four days since then about the membership numbers, but they were not able to confirm them. Then day before yesterday (Monday) they gave us approximate numbers and said they would confirm them the next day. Then yesterday (Tuesday), at ten to one in the afternoon, Ottawa time, the party called me and told me the numbers, and I made my decision at one o’clock and told all my friends in the media, because I was interviewed by the radio.

In the meantime, from the previous numbers which were told a day before, which were preliminary, Mary Pollack had decided to withdraw. I signed about 900 members. Nina singed about 900 members, close to that or 1,000. Mary Pollack signed between 50 to 75 only. Now the numbers were not in her favour and naturally she had no chance to win. She has a sour-grapes attitude and she withdrew. Maybe another candidate who has signed fewer members will also withdraw. I worked hard, I signed more members. Right from the beginning I had never an intention to run in two ridings simultaneously, but due to the technicality we had to do that, we were forced to do that.

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