Thursday, March 11, 2004

March 11, 2004: Grewal attempts to block competitor because of lack of citizenship

Candidate hopes to be Canadian by election day

Marisa Babic

A Coquitlam woman running against incumbent MP Gurmant Grewal for the Conservative nomination in the riding of Newton-North Delta is accusing Grewal of dirty politics by making an issue of the fact she isn't a Canadian citizen.

Anita Chetal said yesterday Grewal's camp is running a negative campaign and is trying to block her bid to capture the nomination. The nomination meeting was slated to take place tonight.

"It's definitely coming from my opponent's camp," Chetal told the Now.

Chetal says she's fighting for a seat in the Canadian Parliament to advance the cause of her constituents.

"He chose to block me. I did not choose to block him."

Chetal, who has lived in Canada for 27 years, said she is in the process of obtaining her citizenship and is confident she will have taken her oath by the time the federal election rolls around. Elections Canada stipulates candidates must be Canadian citizens.

Grewal admits he knew about Chetal's non-citizen status but says he didn't take issue with it.

"I was aware that she was not a citizen and I chose not to do anything about it, neither did I report it to the nomination committee nor did I mention it verbally or write a report to the headquarters," he said.

Grewal interprets the law to mean candidates should be Canadian when they file their nomination papers.