Thursday, June 09, 2005

Jun 9, 2005: Province Reports: Grewal Accused of Immigration Violations

MP accused of citizenship deal: Grewal allegedly bought carpet-store shares
The Province
Thursday, June 9, 2005
Camille Bains

Embattled Conservative MP Gurmant Grewal obtained his Canadian citizenship by pretending he was a business entrepreneur, alleges a man who said he participated in the scheme.

Gurwinder Dhillon said yesterday that Grewal was a carpet salesman at his company when the MP bought $50,000 in shares on April 15, 1993, but that Grewal sold them back the next day in what he said amounted to a phoney transaction. Dhillon said he wrote a cheque back to Grewal's lawyer.

Grewal came to Canada in 1991 from Liberia and hoped to become a Canadian citizen by establishing himself as an entrepreneur who would start up his own business, Dhillon said.

At that time, Citizenship and Immigration required prospective entrepreneurial immigrants to manage a business that would be set up within two years and provide employment opportunities.

The alleged deal with Dhillon would be aimed at satisfying those requirements.

Grewal wasn't available for comment after calls to his constituency and parliamentary offices, but Carolyn Stewart-Olsen, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper's press secretary, said there was nothing to the allegation.

"This is an old allegation and we're assured it has no basis in fact," Stewart-Olsen said in Ottawa.

Dhillon said he kept the alleged citizenship deal with Grewal to himself until last year, when Grewal's wife was nominated for the Tories. At the time, he said he felt he had to come forward and called mainstream media in Vancouver, but the story didn't gain attention.

The latest news involving Grewal had listeners clogging phone lines at Punjabi radio talk shows yesterday, with callers saying Grewal's political career is finished.

Harjinder Thind, host of an open-line talk show at Sher-e Punjab, said Dhillon called his program, further igniting an already hot topic.

"We had almost two hours of callers," Thind said. "Every caller, one after another, is upset."

Thind said 99 per cent of callers were against Grewal.

Callers were also critical of Dosanjh for appearing in the taped conversations to be making a deal with Grewal to join the Liberal Party before the crucial vote on the budget, Thind said.

But Grewal is getting the most criticism, he said.

"It's such a big thing that nobody's talking about anything else."