July 15, 2005: Grewal donor acknowledges ties to Dosanjh
Grewal donor who wants tax receipt acknowledges ties to Dosanjh
Beleaguered MP under investigation over '04 campaign
CanWest News Service
Friday, July 15, 2005
VANCOUVER - The Vancouver businessman who is demanding a tax receipt for money he gave Conservative MP Gurmant Grewal two years ago says he is a member at large of Liberal Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh's riding association.
Sarup Mann insisted that has nothing to do with his now public demands that Mr. Grewal provide him with tax receipts for a $600 donation he made to Mr. Grewal in 2003 and a $1,800 donation he made to Mr. Grewal's wife, Nina, in 2004.
Mr. Grewal is currently being investigated by the RCMP for donations made to his 2004 re-election campaign.
Mr. Grewal has said the donations were made before new election financing rules came into force and called this latest controversy the work of a smear campaign by the Liberal party, which Mr. Mann denies.
''We've been trying to get a tax receipt from him since February of 2003, and Mr. Dosanjh wasn't even in the picture then,'' Mr. Mann said in a phone interview.
''The fact that I'm a Liberal and a member of the riding association doesn't mean I don't support other people as well.''
Mr. Mann's admission follows one from Barj Dhahan, who is also demanding a tax receipt for a $600 donation he made to Mr. Grewal in 2003, that Mr. Dhahan and his wife hosted a coffee-and-dessert party for Mr. Dosanjh during the last federal election.
Mr. Dhahan admitted that again yesterday, but said he is not a member of any federal party, including the Liberal party. He became a member of the B.C. Liberal Party, he said, when he understood that former Vancouver mayoral candidate Jennifer Clarke would be the Liberals' candidate in Vancouver-Langara.
Instead, Carole Taylor ran for the Liberals in that riding and is now B.C.'s Finance Minister.
''I'm not a Reform or Canadian Alliance,'' Mr. Dhahan said. ''I'm not a Liberal or an NDPer. The matter is very simple. All we want is for tax receipts to be given for the donations we made.''
He said he hosted the party for friends and neighbours in Mr. Dosanjh's Vancouver South riding simply as a way for them to get to know the now-Health Minister.
''People who came, they're not Liberals,'' he said. ''We went through our list of friends and people we know who live in that riding, and invited them. That's all we did.''
But B.C. Conservative MP John Reynolds says it sounds suspicious to him.
''It seems to me rather strange that these gentlemen, one who is a member of [Mr. Dosanjh's] riding association and the other who had a coffee party for Mr. Dosanjh, would all of a sudden come out with these accusations,'' Mr. Reynolds said.
The circumstances of all three donations -- none of which was reported to Elections Canada -- are now being investigated by the RCMP.
Mr. Grewal said in an earlier interview that he was not able to issue receipts for cheques made out to him personally because ''I do not have a charitable organization for Gurmant Grewal.'' He added Mr. Mann and Mr. Dhahan should have known that.
Both Mr. Mann and Mr. Dhahan reiterated yesterday that if it weren't for the fact that news of their donations was leaked to the media, the matter never would have been made public.
They also denied any involvement in a Liberal party plot to discredit Mr. Grewal.
''Mr. Dosanjh wasn't even in the picture when he started dealing with him [Grewal],'' Mr. Mann said.
''I have stated from the first day that there's no plot,'' Mr. Dhahan said. ''I'm not involved in a plot. I asked for a receipt. I was promised a receipt and it never came.''