Edmonton Sun (Alberta)
May 20, 2005 Friday
SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 42
HEADLINE: 'HE USED ME,' GREWAL FRIEND; GRIT SET UP DEFECTION MEETING FOR TORY MP
BYLINE: BY KATHLEEN HARRIS, SUN OTTAWA BUREAU
OTTAWA. The middleman who claims he was enlisted by Conservative MP Gurmant Grewal to facilitate his defection to the Liberals feels "used" by his friend.
Sudesh Kalia accused Grewal of making "false" statements about how senior Liberals courted him to cross the floor in exchange for plum cabinet and Senate positions for himself and his MP wife, Nina.
"He used me, and if he had planned that, he's not my friend then," Kalia, a B.C. businessman and longtime pal of Grewal, told Sun Media.
According to Kalia, Grewal called him out of the blue Sunday. Grewal said rumours about him being offered a Senate seat were false, but later indicated he'd be interested in joining the Grits if they met his terms. "He gave me demands," Kalia said. Kalia, a provincial and federal Liberal who is also a personal friend of Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh, offered to arrange a meeting with the minister. Grewal accepted and the pair met Monday, but Dosanjh vehemently denies making any offers.
Late Wednesday, Grewal released an eight-minute excerpt of a taped conversation with Tim Murphy, the PM's chief of staff. While Murphy makes no offers or promises of favours in exchange for abstaining on the budget, he implies there could be future discussions about appointments after the critical vote.
Yesterday, the Conservative party refused to immediately release the tapes in their entirety, including some conversation in Punjabi between Grewal and Dosanjh.
Chief spokesman Geoff Norquay said some of the audiotape will take time to be translated, and that he felt it important to get the most "useful" part out immediately.
Norquay insisted Grewal was approached by the Grits, not the other way around.
Grilled in and outside the House of Commons on the issue yesterday, the PM denied his staff or MPs were trying to buy votes.