Sunday, May 09, 2004

May 9, 2004: The Province "I wasn't fired"

'I wasn't fired,' says Marsden
The Province
Sunday, May 9, 2004
Byline: Ian Bailey
Source: The Province

Rachel Marsden, the central figure in a pair of stalking and harassment controversies, is rejecting media reports that she was fired from a job in the office of Conservative MP Gurmant Grewal.

"I have not been terminated from any position that I might have held with Mr. Grewal, and indeed have never been terminated from any job or position in my lifetime," Marsden said in an e-mail yesterday to The Province.

Marsden says she would like to help Grewal win the riding of Newton-North Delta in the coming election, expected within weeks.

"As a Canadian, I feel that it is my right to volunteer for any party or candidate that I believe would do a good job for my country," she writes.

Marsden is due in court next week to face harassment charges laid over allegations she was involved in directing unwanted e-mails and phone calls to Michael Morgan, a former radio personality with whom she had had a sexual relationship.

In 1996, Liam Donnelly, a swim coach at Simon Fraser University, was fired over Marsden's allegations that he raped her. Donnelly subsequently proved Marsden was stalking him.

Grewal said yesterday that Marsden has just wrapped up a six-month term writing press releases, newsletters and dealing with other jobs for him.

He said she was neither fired nor terminated, but that he simply ran out of work for her to do.

And Grewal said he would not rule out hiring her back.

"If she is not convicted, and I need to, I will hire her again depending on if I have the requirement for the same job," he said. "If I hired her in the past, why not again."

Grewal said Marsden had sent in her resume. He spoke to her lawyer about her legal troubles, and eventually decided to hire her.

He said she was a good employee with "good writing skills" and that he liked some articles she submitted to him as samples of her work. "She is a nice person, intelligent and has lots of energy," he said.

Grewal said his support for Marsden was linked to a larger principle.

"If some individual wants to be a productive member in our society, and nothing is proven against an individual, in my judgement, I think the person should be fairly treated," he said.

In her e-mail, Marsden noted she was never convicted of wrongdoing in the SFU matter -- "a traumatic incident I underwent in my teens" -- and that the Morgan case was before the courts. ibailey@png.canwest.com