Sunday, May 22, 2005

CTV interview with Grewal May 22

Link to the right: Renu Bakshi speaks with Gurmant Grewal 3:41

(Video starts with Grewal's hand on a small ghetto'-blaster. He hits play and voices are heard. In front of the video are three or four cassettes.)

Renu Bakshi: Grewal insists he did it as a good Samaritan. That he secretly recorded conversations so, in his words, Canadians could know the truth

Grewal: I wanted Canadians to know how low this government can sink making the offers to Members of Parliament to buy out their vote.

Renu Bakshi: The Conservative MP claims the Liberals offered him goodies to change his vote before the crucial budget vote and that the Prime Minister's chief of staff was in on it.

Grewal: He made two offers: diplomatic as well as the ambass..., uh, senate position for my wife. Even a cabinet position.

Renu Bakshi: Grewal said he had no intention of accepting the offer, but he strung them on to expose what he calls vote buying. He says he secretly taped nearly every conversation, including a face-to-face with health minister Ujjal Dosanjh.

Grewal: He ordered pizza and we talked for about two hours. And thereafter he says, ok, that he has spoken to the prime minister.

Renu Bakshi: How many minutes of tape in total do you have?

Grewal: I didn't count, but it would be maybe two-and-a-half hours or three hours; including the telephone conversation, four hours.

Renu Bakshi: Part of Grewal's inventory is a conversation with the middle man, who set up the meeting with the Liberals. On Thursday, Sadesh Kalia told CTV News that Grewal initiated it.

Kalia: He said yeah, if you can talke to someone I'm interested.

(Reporter standing over tape machine which is playing part of tape of Kalia.)

Renu Bakshi: Today Grewal played a Punjabi conversation that may tell a different story. (Video of ghetto-blaster with three cassettes in front of it.) On tape the middle-man says if the government doesn't come through with the deal, he'll publicly say the government started the talks.

Grewal: This will be enough for anyone to know that in a real sense the Liberals are making offers. The proof is in the pudding.

Renu Bakshi: But is it enough? The public has heard only a few minutes of tape. Nearly four hours of conversation is being controlled not by Grewal but by the Conservative Party's communication department. And Grewal says they are not ready to release.

Grewal: I didn't make that decision. The decision was made by the communication department. I think these answers should be given by them, not by me.

Renu Bakshi to Grewal: That's fair that you've said that, but maybe you should understand that you're the one wearing this.

Grewal: (nodding) uh huh.

Renu Bakshito Grewal: And the communications department is not.

Renu Bakshi: Grewal says that a lot of the recordings are unclear, but he's confident that the few minutes that are made public are enough to prove the Liberals are corrupt, and he hopes that it is enough forthe RCMP to launch an investigation.

Grewal: The issue is not who approached who--despite that they approached me--the issue is that the Liberal government of Paul Martin which is making the offers, they are negotiating, and then they are offering the rewards, put it on the tape, in lieu of my abstention and my wife's abstention from this important vote in the house.

Renu Bakshi (Live to camera): Again, this certainly is not the whole story four hours of tapes have not been released. And the question of who initiated the meeting is key despite what Grewal says. No doubt it will be something that the RCMP would consider if this issue is investigated. I asked Grewal whether he told the middle-man to protect him by saying the government started the process, whether he actually had a deal with the middle-man himself, he said he'll only speak to what's on the tape, and of course that's only to tapes that we have heard, and we haven't heard all the calls. Today that middle man said in a written statement that he wants Grewal to put more context to this issue by releasing more of the tapes. He still insists that it was Grewal who initiated the meeting. As for Ujjal Dosanjh, though he did return our calls, he said he has no comment at this time. And in terms of the RCMP investigation, leaders of the NDP and Bloc Quebecois are also calling for one, and even though Grewal says his party is backing him no other conservative, including the leader, has spoken up.