Wednesday, June 08, 2005

June 8, 2005 Times Colonist Reports: More On Airport Follies, And Mystery Package of Tapes

New tale of tape dogs stressed Grewal
Times Colonist (Victoria)
Wednesday, June 8, 2005
Page: A2
Section: News
Byline: Ian Bailey
Dateline: VANCOUVER
Document URL: http://proquest.umi.com.catalogue.library.brocku.ca/pqdlink?did=463053402&sld=1&Fnt=2&clientId=23615&PQT=308&VName=POD

Source: CanWest News Service

VANCOUVER -- Conservative MP Gurmant Grewal was trying to get Vancouver airport passengers to take a package of tapes to Ottawa during an incident that is now the subject of at least two investigations, according to a union official.

Efforts by the Newton-North Delta MP to pass the package on to other passengers last Saturday have prompted probes this week by both Air Canada and Transport Canada, just as Grewal announced he was taking a stress leave from his parliamentary responsibilities.

Grewal had already been under scrutiny for recording meetings with senior federal Liberals about him switching parties. Grewal has denied he ever intended to go through with the defection, suggesting he had engineered a sting on the Liberals.

Christine Hayvice, communications co-ordinator for the Canadian Auto Workers union representing airline workers, said Tuesday one of their members observed Grewal's conversation with another staffer. "She saw inside the package that he had tapes," said Hayvice, declining to name the witness.

Hayvice said she was not sure how many tapes there were. "I don't think the content (of the package) is the issue. The issue is nothing should go on a flight without the passenger travelling as well. No personal baggage or anything."

Grewal was spotted in a waiting area at the Vancouver airport last Saturday, asking passengers to take a package to Ottawa on his behalf. Security regulations say passengers must be on the plane carrying their luggage.

Grewal eventually booked himself on a flight so he could enter a waiting area and make the request to other passengers. One of them eventually took his package.

The MP has denied he did anything wrong. He could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

B.C.'s federal Liberals suggested Tuesday Grewal's troubles could boost their chances of winning his riding in an election expected within a year.

Grewal only won the riding by 520 votes in last year's election over Liberal Sukh Dhaliwal, who has been nominated to run again.