Gurmant Singh Grewal (Punjabi: ਗੁਰਮੰਤ ਗਰੇਵਾਲ), (born December 21, 1957 in Barundi, Punjab, India) is an Indian Canadian politician and former Conservative Party of Canada Member of Parliament. Gurmant and his wife, Nina Grewal, were the first married couple to serve in the House of Commons of Canada at the same time. First elected to the Canadian House of Commons on June 2, 1997 for the riding of Surrey Central and re-elected there on November 27, 2000, he represented the riding of Newton—North Delta from 2004 until 2005. His wife represents Fleetwood—Port Kells.
In 2002, he was awarded the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for service to Canada. In 2003, then the Leader of the Opposition Stephen Harper Prime Minister of Canada called Grewal “the Ironman of Canadian Parliament”. In 2005, Grewal emerged at the center of political controversies and on November 29, 2005, Grewal announced that he would not be running in the 2006 federal election. In 2012, Grewal was awarded Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science and Diplomacy Honoris Causa degree by the Caucasus University in Georgia. Grewal was awrded the ‘World Sikh Award’ in 2012 at London, U.K. and he was listed 27th most influential Sikh in the world.
|Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Newton—North Delta
|Preceded by||New Riding|
|Succeeded by||Sukh Dhaliwal|
|Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Surrey Central
|Preceded by||New Riding|
|Succeeded by||Riding abolished|
|Born||December 21, 1957
Barundi, Punjab, India
Early life and career
At the age of 8 Grewal and his brother were invited to the Vice President’s Gallery United States Senate Chamber by Hubert Humphrey the Vice President of the United States. After earning BSc Honours and MBA and working as manager with reputed organisation in India, he emigrated to Liberia, prior to immigrating to Canada in 1991. In Liberia he was a manager, successful businessman and Assistant Professor of Business Management at the University of Liberia.
He wanted to help the suffering people and victims of the bloody civil war with medicines, food and clothes and intended to organize a charity to help in consultation with the office of the ambassador of Liberia. Grewal brothers had earlier written a letter advising the President of Liberia to launch a Green Revolution to grow more food that would help eliminate hunger, malnutrition and poverty. This advice generated some commotion, particularly by a reporter of the Province newspaper in 1995. The article construed that Grewal was an advisor to the military dictator, despite the Liberian Ambassador having issued a letter clarifying the issue. Grewal has denied any such connections to the former government of Liberia. Grewal appealed to the international community to help Liberia and its people.
In 1991, he emigrated to Canada. Within less than 6 years, he was elected as M.P. for the Reform Party of Canada in the federal riding of Surrey Central, in the 1997 federal election with 17,438 votes. In the 2000 federal election he won by getting 29,812 votes, 51.6% of the popular vote – a margin of 10,300 votes more than the Liberal candidate. However, in the 2004 federal election his margin of victory fell to 500 votes.
As a Member of Parliament sitting in the caucus of the Reform Party from 1997 to 2000, the Canadian Alliance from 2000 to 2003 and then for the Conservative Party of Canada from 2003 to 2006, Grewal held the positions of Deputy House Leader of the Official Opposition of Canada (1998-2000), Co-Chair of the Joint Standing Committee of the House and the Senate for Scrutiy of Regulations (1998-2005), Official Opposition Critic for Multiculturalism (2004), Official Opposition Critic for Scrutiny of Regulations (2001-2004), Official Opposition Critic for Canadians Abroad (2004), Official Opposition Critic for Asia Pacific (2001-2004) and Official Opposition Senior Critic for Foreign Affairs (1997-2004).
As a result of his wife, Nina Grewal, winning a seat in the 2004 federal election, the Grewals became the first married couple to serve concurrently in the Canadian House of Commons.
Immigration Bond Bill (C-284)
Grewal had introduced a Bill C-284 to allow a bond to be posted to secure visitor’s visa, his Bill passed the vote in the House and was referred to Immigration committee in March 2005. On April 6, 2005, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Joe Volpe, asked the parliamentary Ethics Commissioner and Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) to investigate Grewal following his voluntary statement given to a parliamentary committee. In that testimony, Grewal had stated that he regularly asked those seeking his help in getting visitor visas for their relatives, if they would be willing to post bonds guaranteeing their return. Grewal contends that immigration bonds, as they have been practiced in Australia and New Zealand, could work as a way to prevent spurious refugee claims and illegal immigration; and assist law-abiding sponsors to secure visa for their loved ones to visit Canada without hassle. There is no evidence that any bond was actually signed (or any money exchanged for the bonds). On June 22, the ethics commissioner cleared him of any wrongdoing and stated that he never pocketed any money from the pledges.
On July 11, 2005, CBC News reported that several people who donated to Grewal’s campaign in 2004 claimed never to have received tax receipts for their donations, and that at Grewal’s request several of these donations had been made to Grewal himself and not to his riding association or the Conservative party. On June 3, 2009, following an RCMP investigation, it was determined that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to ground any charges under the Criminal Code.
The “Grewal tapes”
In mid-May, at the time the Liberal government risked losing a confidence vote on its 2005 budget (which was later decided in the government’s favour by the speaker, after a tie in the house), the Liberals initiated negotiations with Grewal asking him to vote with the Liberals and join the Liberal Party of Canada. With a Liberal go-between, Ujjal Dosanjh, Minister of Health, and Tim Murphy, the Chief of Staff of the Prime Minister met with Grewal, on three occasions May 16–18, including Grewal’s office. There were also 36 phone calls by the Liberals.
In these negotiations Grewal was offered inducements to change parties in exchange for a senate seat for his wife, a cabinet post for himself, and an apology from Volpe. In response, Murphy and Dosanjh made vague promises of future reward. While these negotiations were going on, prominent Conservative MP Belinda Stronach defected to the Liberals and did receive a ministerial position in the government. In the end, Grewal did not change parties.
Unbeknownst to his interlocutors, Grewal was recording the conversations, a fact that he voluntarily revealed to the public on the evening of May 18, where Grewal publicly accused the Liberals of trying to buy his vote with offers of a cabinet or a diplomatic post for himself and a senate seat for his wife. He had released excerpts of nine minutes of a recording of conversations with Murphy and Dosanjh, in which Murphy suggests that he abstain from the coming confidence vote. New Democratic Party MP Yvon Godin referred them to Bernard Shapiro, Parliamentary Ethics Commissioner and to the RCMP.
On May 31, Grewal handed over recordings to Shapiro and the RCMP. Simultaneously he released an hour and 15 minutes of recordings and transcripts to the public.
Several news outlets and the Liberals alleged that portions of the tape seemed to be edited, something that the Conservatives denied. On June 2, 2005, the Conservatives issued a news release admitting that two short sections had been accidentally omitted. In mid-August, the RCMP announced that there would be no further criminal investigation into the tapes and their contents and Grewal was cleared of any wrongdoing.
On January 25, 2006, Shapiro released a heavily edited report from the draft reports and stated, “While it is not clear whether Mr. Grewal genuinely sought an inducement to change his vote or whether he just acted the part in an attempt to entrap Mr. Dosanjh, his actions were, in either case, extremely inappropriate”. The report also said that Grewal’s behaviour violated the spirit of the MPs’ Code of Conduct.
The Liberals claimed that it was Grewal who approached them seeking patronage appointments for himself and his wife in exchange for their votes.
Grewal did not run for re-election in 2006, saying he did not want the controversies surrounding his behaviour to be a distraction during the campaign.
Attempted political comeback
Grewal had planned to stand for the Conservatives in the new riding of Cloverdale—Langley City in the 2015 federal election, spending two years to sign up 1,500 party members in his pursuit of the nomination, but in November 2014 he was barred by the party from seeking the nomination. His son, Liv Grewal, was to run for the Conservatives in Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon after defeating four other candidates to win the nomination but was subsequently forced by the party to withdraw.
|Canadian federal election, 2004: Newton-North Delta|
|New Democratic||Nancy Clegg||12,037||29.19%|
|Total valid votes||41,444||100.00%|
|Total rejected ballots||184|
|Canadian federal election, 2000: Surrey Central|
|Progressive Conservative||Dan Baxter||3,940||6.8%|
|New Democratic||Dan Goy||3,211||5.6%|
|Total valid votes||57,765||99.7%|
|Total rejected ballots||196||0.3%|
Note: Canadian Alliance vote is compared to Reform vote in 1997.
Canadian federal election, 1997: Surrey Central
|New Democratic||Charan Gill||7,064||14.02||n/a||$58,025|
|Progressive Conservative||Vincent Antonio||4,327||8.59||n/a||$24,601|
|Christian Heritage||Bill Stilwell||978||1.94||n/a||$2,944|
|Canadian Action||Philip McCormack||634||1.25||n/a||$3,497|
|Natural Law||Val Litwin||147||0.29||n/a||0|
|Total valid votes/Expense limit||50,359||100||n/a||$66,100|
|Total rejected ballots||368||0.73|
|Source: votes, totals, and expenditures.|