Buckets of Data

June 23, 2005

Grewal votes in house: receives standing ovation from Conservative MPs

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Conservative MP Gurmant Grewal (left) receives a standing ovation from fellow MP’s after voting on extending debate on C-48 in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa Thursday, June 23.(CP/Tom Hanson)

June 22, 2005

June 22, 2005: Ethics Commisioner clears Grewal on visa bonds controversy

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940 News

Ethics commissioner clears Gurmant Grewal in immigration case at 19:15 on June 22, 2005, EST.

OTTAWA (CP) – Gurmant Grewal’s only sin was having a bad idea. The Tory MP was cleared Wednesday of ethical wrongdoing for setting up a parallel immigration system in his B.C. constituency office. People came to his office and posted bonds of up to $100,000 in exchange for visitors’ visas for friends or family. At least 232 people signed written guarantees to make that payment if their loved ones lingered in Canada past the visa expiry date.

Parliament’s ethics commissioner slammed the scheme as a misguided error in judgment that may have appeared like a conflict of interest. But Bernard Shapiro defended Grewal’s character. He said the Tory MP had honest intentions, never planned to pocket any money, and in fact never collected a cent.

“There was no real conflict of interest,” said Shapiro’s report, released Wednesday. “No personal profit to Mr. Grewal was either intended or realized. . . . I believe that his actions were an error in judgment made in good faith.”

It was the latest piece of good news in recent days for Grewal after a brutal month that forced him to take a stress leave. He is embroiled in a separate scandal after he released tapes of secret negotiations with two senior Liberals and the tapes were found to be partly altered.

Transport Canada has cleared Grewal following an incident at Vancouver airport that originally caused him to take his stress leave. He tried using other passengers to ship the controversial tapes back to Ottawa. Grewal has remained out of the public eye since then, and did not respond to a request for an interview Wednesday.

But he said in a statement that he had always maintained his innocence since the immigration allegations first surfaced.

His riding president now says Grewal’s feeling well enough to return to work.

Immigration Minister Joe Volpe had asked the ethics commissioner and the RCMP to investigate the bond-posting scheme in April.

“I believe that the ethics commissioner’s report speaks for itself,” Grewal said in a statement.

“I am pleased that the ethics commissioner has looked into the matter and determined that the minister’s allegations were baseless.”

Grewal began his unusual practice in 2002, and has long lobbied for legislation that would allow Canadian residents to sponsor foreign visitors.

It was Grewal himself who revealed details of his scheme while promoting his own private member’s bill to change immigration rules.

Shapiro said that the practice – “however innocently intended” – did not fall within the federal government’s rules.

Volpe said he accepted Shapiro’s findings. “I left it with the ethics commissioner to come up with a decision for us,” he said in an interview. “He’s done it and I’m going to respect that.”

But he warned other MPs not to follow Grewal’s example. “These things have the tendency to give off the appearance of conflict that’s unhelpful to the parliamentary process.”

It was the second high-profile ruling in Shapiro’s brief tenure – and second in two days following months of silence from his office. The rookie commissioner faces a grilling before a parliamentary committee Thursday and the NDP is calling for his removal.

Critics jumped Shapiro’s report this week on ex-immigration minister Judy Sgro, a piece of work that cost $170,000, took seven months to complete, and offered no clear verdict on how the government should have handled a scandal involving residence permits.

June 21, 2005

June 21, 2005: Ethics report

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To download the Ethics’ Commissioner’s full report click here.

Here are scans of the most important pages:

GrewalEthics003
GrewalEthics004
GrewalEthics005
GrewalEthics006

June 21, 2005: Vancouver Province. Grewal ready to return

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Canadian Press NewsWire
June 21, 2005
SECTION: Pg. n/a

HEADLINE: MP Gurmant Grewal looking at returning to some political duties: official

VANCOUVER (CP) – Stressed-out Conservative MP Gurmant Grewal is feeling well enough to return to work after taking a leave from some of his political duties.

Jim Holt, president of Grewal’s riding association in the Vancouver-area riding of Newton-North Delta, said the MP wants to get back to Ottawa to work on constituency issues. “I’m pretty sure he’s going back to Ottawa to work,” Hold told the Vancouver Province on Tuesday. “He indicated he was feeling better and he’d like to get back.”

Holt based his suggestion on a chat with Grewal, who last month accused federal Liberals of trying to buy his and his wife’s parliamentary support with political jobs. Grewal taped conversations with federal Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh and Prime Minister Paul Martin’s chief of staff, Tim Murphy.

Holt said Grewal has seen a doctor, but declined further comment, saying “that’s a personal matter.”

Grewal has largely refused to comment on his situation since announcing earlier this month he was taking a stress leave from his parliamentary duties to deal with the controversy.

Geoff Norquay, a spokesman for Conservative Leader Stephen Harper, said from Ottawa that he wasn’t aware of any plans by Grewal to return to work.

(Vancouver Province)

June 20, 2005

June 20, 2005 Martin says Grewal Not Welcome As Liberal Candidate.. Harper Regrets Putting Wrong Tape On Website

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Paul Martin says he wouldn’t welcome Gurmant Grewal as a Liberal candidate
Canadian Press
June 20, 2005

Prime Minister Paul Martin and Conservative Leader Stephen Harper cross paths as they take turns at a live radio show in Ottawa, Monday. (CP/Fred Chartrand)
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OTTAWA (CP) – The Conservative MP who says he was offered a plum job with the Liberals if he crossed the floor would no longer be welcome in the party.

Prime Minister Paul Martin said Monday he doesn’t want Tory MP Gurmant Grewal in his caucus.

Martin told CKNW radio that Grewal could buy a membership in the Liberal party if he wanted to, but would be prevented from standing as a candidate.

“Well, someone can buy a membership,” he said, “but if your question is do we want him as a candidate, the answer is unequivocally no.”

Grewal came under scrutiny after he secretly taped discussions with the federal health minister and the prime minister’s top aide about his future.

Experts said the tapes had been altered.

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper said he doesn’t regret backing Grewal:

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with blowing the whistle and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with somebody trying to bribe you. What’s wrong is if you take the bribe, and he didn’t.”

Harper, who was interviewed immediately following Martin, did say it was regretful that “the incorrect tape was posted on our website.”

Grewal went on stress leave after the tape incident.

Told that Martin doesn’t want Grewal now, Harper replied: “After (Grewal) turned down their offers to join them – that’s kind of the old fable of the sour grapes, right?”

Harper sidestepped answering whether Grewal would be welcome to run again as a Conservative.

“In the end the various authorities will sort this out,” he said.

The RCMP is examining the tapes and Parliament’s ethic commissioner has also been asked to look into the affair.

© The Canadian Press 2005

June 17, 2005

June 17, 2005, NDP Calls For Resignation Of Ethics Commissioner

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Macleans:June 17, 2005 – 14:53

NDP to call for resignation of “incompetent” ethics commissioner

SUE BAILEY

OTTAWA (CP) – Parliament’s independent ethics watchdog is an incompetent “wet noodle” who should be replaced, critics say.

Bernard Shapiro, named ethics czar by the Liberals last year, has been asked in recent months to look into at least two cases of alleged conflict in the Liberal cabinet.

He has not released final reports in either case, and has been cast by the opposition as a bumbling foot-dragger.

Now, the NDP says Shapiro has declined to expand an inquiry into the controversial Grewal tapes affair to include the prime minister.

They have demanded an explanation, and MP Ed Broadbent says he will formally call for Shapiro’s resignation next week.

Conservative deputy leader Peter MacKay threw his weight behind the growing push to oust the commissioner.

“Mr. Shapiro seems to be demonstrating daily that he’s just as anemic as his predecessor,” MacKay said Friday outside the Commons.

“He’s a wet noodle on this issue,” he said of the ethics commissioner’s probe of secretly recorded discussions between Tory MP Gurmant Grewal and Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh and Tim Murphy, the prime minister’s top aide.

“And yes, I think (Shapiro) should resign. I think we should have someone there who’s competent, independent and prepared to hold to account government officials that were involved in what appears to be a vote-buying exercise in return for cabinet positions.”

No one from Shapiro’s office was immediately available.

But a spokesman for the prime minister brushed off calls for Shapiro’s dismissal.

“Mr. Shapiro is an officer of Parliament,” said Scott Reid. “If we were to excuse these officers every time they made a decision one politician or another disagreed with, we’d defeat the purpose of independent officers altogether.”

But disdain for Shapiro’s performance is not limited to opposition MPs.

Duff Conacher, spokesman for the public interest group Democracy Watch, is even more critical.

“I think it’s generous to say incompetence when it amounts to bias.”

The group plans to press Shapiro to step aside while his work over the last year is independently reviewed. If he refuses, Democracy Watch will ask a court to order such a probe by the end of July, Conacher said.

He has repeatedly assailed Shapiro for appointing Borden Ladner Gervais, a law firm with close Liberal ties, to investigate allegations that former Immigration Minister Judy Sgro was in conflicts of interest.

She resigned in January to clear her name. But Shapiro, citing various delays and legal snags, has still not released his final report.

Conacher says Shapiro has shown a disturbing tendency to protect public officials rather than investigate legitimate complaints of rule-breaking.

Shapiro has also been asked to probe the propriety of negotiations about Conservative MP Gurmant Grewal’s possible support for the Liberals in exchange for plum jobs for him and his Tory MP wife, Nina.

Grewal went on stress leave after his secret tapes became public. He made headlines again earlier this month when he was spotted at a Vancouver airport trying to get additional tapes delivered to Ottawa in a hurry.

The RCMP has cleared him of wrongdoing in the airport incident.

Cpl. Dave Williams says the Mounties never launched a full-scale investigation because Grewal had cleared airport security before his actions drew attention.

“It was a safety concern for the airline, but once everybody goes through security – and he was on the secure side – you can exchange packages as long as everybody knows what’s in the package.

“If we found out that it had come in from a non-secure method, we may have been involved,” Williams said from Richmond, B.C. “But we had no evidence to even suggest that.”

Transport Canada has also cleared Grewal in the airport incident. Air Canada is still conducting its own investigation.

Debate was raging at the time of the airport incident over the authenticity of the tapes. Several audio experts concluded that the recordings had been altered before being made public.

June 17th 2005, Grewal Cleared In Airport Incident

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Grewal cleared in airport incident

CANADIAN PRESS

OTTAWA — The Mounties and federal transportation regulators have dropped their investigations of Conservative MP Gurmant Grewal over an incident at Vancouver International Airport.

Grewal had tried on June 4 to get other passengers in a waiting area of the airport to carry a package for him to Ottawa.

But the RCMP say there was nothing criminal about the Newton-North Delta MP’s actions.

Transport Canada has also cleared Grewal of any wrongdoing.

In a letter to the MP, the agency’s manager of security operations says Grewal did not contravene the Aeronautics Act.

Grewal went on stress leave a few days after the incident, and gave up his parliamentary duties.

Air Canada is still conducting its own investigation.

June 16, 2005

June 16, 2005 “No Cabinet Job Was Promised” Re Belinda Stronach Crossing

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Thu, June 16, 2005

No cabinet job was promised
Before Stronach defected: Grit
By STEPHANIE RUBEC, SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER

OTTAWA — Belinda Stronach was handed a plum cabinet job only after deciding to join the Liberals, says a spokesman for the prime minister.

Scott Reid, the Paul Martin’s director of communications, says negotiations over Stronach’s responsibilities in a Liberal government weren’t launched until she had made up her mind to leave the Conservatives.

‘EXCEPTIONAL’

But Reid said former Ontario premier David Peterson didn’t have to exert too much pressure on Martin to secure a cabinet post.

“In Belinda Stronach’s case, her talents are exceptional and obvious,” Reid said of the millionaire auto-parts heiress.

“There was never any question that someone of her stature was going to enter cabinet.”

Reid outright dismissed complaints by the Conservatives that the Liberals lured Stronach over with a cabinet post.

“She made it clear that she was going to cross the floor,” he said. “She had made her decision that she could no longer tolerate a party led by Stephen Harper that was narrow and that was ungenerous.”

Conservative MP John Reynolds has complained to the Law Society of Upper Canada about Peterson’s role in negotiating Stronach’s cabinet post.

He asked the Law Society Monday to investigate whether Peterson broke the Criminal Code by negotiating the plum position.

“It’s a joke. The whole issue is a farce,” Reid said of the complaint.

June 15, 2005

June 15, 2005 Tory MP Reynolds Files Complaint Against Top Liberals In Grewal Matter

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Tory MP files complaints against three top Liberals

STEPHEN THORNE, CP 2005-06-15 02:52:41

OTTAWA — A Conservative MP has filed complaints with two law societies against three Liberals — former Ontario premier David Peterson, federal Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh and the prime minister’s chief of staff, Tim Murphy.

In separate letters of complaint written Monday, Tory John Reynolds says the three — all lawyers — offered Conservative MPs compensation in exchange for their support in key confidence votes on the Liberal minority government’s budget.

Reynolds alleges the actions of Peterson, Dosanjh and Murphy compromise the integrity of the legal profession.

He says they also could violate Section 119(1) of the Criminal Code, which prohibits people from offering members of Parliament “valuable consideration, office, place or employment” to influence their work in any way.

In letters to Ontario’s Law Society of Upper Canada, Reynolds says Peterson, Ontario Liberal premier from 1985 to 1990, and Murphy may have violated the Rules of Professional Conduct and Canada’s Criminal Code.

In a letter to the Law Society of British Columbia, he says Dosanjh may have violated the provisions of its Professional Conduct Handbook, as well as the Criminal Code.

Reynolds provides transcripts he claims indicate that Dosanjh and Murphy offered a cabinet position to Tory MP Gurmant Grewal or a “significant position” for Grewal’s wife, Nina, also a Tory MP, in exchange for their votes.

He also provides transcripts he says indicate that Peterson offered former Tory Belinda Stronach a cabinet position in exchange for joining the Liberals.

Stronach left the Conservatives last month to become human resources minister in Paul Martin’s government.

Stronach said yesterday she was considering her options when she ran into Peterson and his wife, Shelley, who had been “dear friends” for years.

She said she told Peterson of “serious concerns” she had with the coming vote and the direction the Conservative party was taking.

Asked if Peterson offered her a cabinet post, she said: “I’m in this for reasons of public service,” and Peterson was a “go-between.”

Spokesperson Lisa Riley said the Law Society of Upper Canada only comments if a disciplinary hearing is called.

Grewal recorded his conversations with Dosanjh and Murphy.

The prime minister says he authorized the talks, but no job offers were made in exchange for votes. The Bloc and NDP have asked the RCMP to look into Martin’s involvement.

Dosanjh says portions of the tapes were altered to erase parts of conversations, and to move other parts to suggest wrongdoing.

“Mr. Reynolds is obviously also in need of some stress leave,” said Dosanjh spokesperson Ken Polk.

June 14, 2005

June 14, 2005 CTV Reports MP Reynolds Files Complaints Against 3 Liberals

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MP Reynolds files complaints against 3 Liberals

var byString = “”; var sourceString = “Canadian Press”; if ((sourceString != “”) && (byString != “”)) { document.write(byString + “, “); } else { document.write(byString); } Canadian Press

OTTAWA — A Conservative MP has filed complaints with two law societies against three Liberals — former Ontario premier David Peterson, federal Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh and the prime minister’s chief of staff Tim Murphy.

In separate letters of complaint written Monday, Tory John Reynolds says the three — all lawyers — offered Conservative MPs compensation in exchange for their support in key confidence votes on the Liberal minority government’s budget.

Reynolds alleges the actions of Peterson, Dosanjh and Murphy compromise the integrity of the legal profession.

He says they also could violate Section 119(1) of the Criminal Code, which prohibits people from offering members of Parliament “valuable consideration, office, place or employment” to influence their work in any way.

In letters to Ontario’s Law Society of Upper Canada, Reynolds says Peterson, Ontario Liberal premier from 1985 to 1990, and Murphy may have violated the Rules of Professional Conduct and Canada’s Criminal Code.

In a letter to the Law Society of British Columbia, he says Dosanjh may have violated the provisions of its Professional Conduct Handbook, as well as the Criminal Code.

Reynolds provides transcripts he claims indicate that Dosanjh and Murphy offer a cabinet position to Tory MP Gurmant Grewal or a “significant position” for Grewal’s wife Nina, also a Tory MP, in exchange for their votes.

He also provides transcripts he says indicate that Peterson offered former Tory Belinda Stronach a cabinet position in exchange for crossing the floor to the Liberals.

Stronach left the Conservatives last month to become human resources minister in Paul Martin’s Liberal government.

Stronach said Tuesday she was considering her options when she ran into Peterson and his wife Shelley, who had been “dear friends” for years.

She said told Peterson of “serious concerns” she had with the coming vote and the direction the Conservative party was taking.

“I had to make a very, very tough decision which I agonized over and it was a question of fate and circumstance.”

Asked if Peterson offered her a cabinet post, she said: “I’m in this for reasons of public service,” and Peterson was a “go-between.”

Spokeswoman Lisa Riley said the Law Society of Upper Canada only comments if a disciplinary hearing is called.

Grewal recorded his conversations with Dosanjh and Murphy.

The prime minister says he authorized the talks, but no job offers were made in exchange for votes. The Bloc and NDP have asked the RCMP to look into Martin’s involvement.

Dosanjh says portions of the tapes were altered to erase parts of conversations, and to move other parts to suggest wrongdoing.

The conversations and a meeting with Dosanjh and Murphy took place on the eve of a confidence motion that threatened to defeat Martin’s government.

Grewal has said he recorded two to four hours of audio, but only 90 minutes were initially released publicly. RCMP have the recordings.

Parliament’s ethics commissioner is also investigating. A spokesman says the commissioner must decide whether to agree to an NDP request to include Martin in the probe.

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