TORONTO - Pity poor Raj Grewal, on-again- off-again MP for Brampton East. He is a relatively young man. Athletic, without exuding “toxic masculinity”, and recently married.
Professionally, he is a trained and [still] practicing lawyer engaged in Real Estate development. He knows what he is doing. National Press and Media have become interested in him in recent months for the company he keeps and the skill with which he navigates invitees to State dinners without raising the suspicions of Protocol Officers or nosy Security officials.
On the socio-political side, he is extremely well connected.
He was employed by his good, long-time, friend and mentor Navdeep Bains, now Minister for Industry.
Mr. Bains, MP for Brampton Centre, was the Ontario Chair for the Liberal Party prior to the 2015 election.
In that capacity, he essentially admitted into the cadre of valid candidates those who were subsequently “green lit” (eligible) to seek a nomination. Their fathers are old friends and high-ranking officials in the World Sikh Organization.
But it is a competitive organization in a very complex community. It is easy to develop critical observations. Somehow, this promising young man developed an "addiction": he loves money.
The methods he used to acquire it turn out to be inconsistent with the expectations held of people aspiring to or holding public o.ce. Somehow, his dalliance with ethics and legality escaped the scrutiny of everyone.
It was, he says, a recent lapse brought on by a medical issue, a mental health issue. All the alarm bells went o£ when he sought counsel from the Prime Minister’s O.ce (PMO) on what to do next. “Got to go”, they said, leave caucus, seek medical help. Better still, resign, just in case any fallout spreads our way. He complied, initially. But it must be a hard pill to swallow.
On Saturday, he decided to fight back. Against whom is unclear.
Now he claims to have come to grips with his gambling addiction; has secured professional help; paid o£ his debts and reconsidered his hasty decision to resign. It’s all in a video submitted to the Globe and Mail.
Unfortunately, this incident smacks of the same botched communication strategy that the Board of Governors at St. Michael’s College School thought would be a winning ticket.
Or that former Minister, MP Tony Clement thought would alleviate his propensity for “selfies”.
This is not an issue that the Press, Media and Opposing Parties will set aside so easily. Friday, the Brampton Pointer made a connection to a three-way real estate deal that implicated an unproven Grewal-Bains interest.
The National Post appears to be pursuing this and other potentially compromising situations including connections with real estate development and sources of funds for these activities and anyone’s gambling vices. Everyone is careful to add that no charges have been laid and that nothing has been proven in court, as they dance around the obvious questions.
For example, what is the real amount of the gambling debt – one million, or $5.5 million, as sources close to the “investigations” allege? To whom are these debts owed? How have they been paid off? An MP receives an annual salary of approximately $160,000 – net at about $100,000.
Who would finance a gambler’s debt in the millions of dollars based on a tenuous annual income barely scraping the $100,000 mark? What would they ask in return?
How is it that a Senator in the Parliament of Canada can claim to have known about an RCMP investigation into the Grewal matter 18 months ago?
Whispers infer possible criminality and abuse of power. More intriguingly, while the PMO is reported a having said it only became aware last week, CTV News, suggests that it had been aware of potential ethical beaches for some time.
In its report on Saturday, the same CTV NEWS, referencing their insider in the PMO … “said the PMO only recently realized that the Mounties' questions might actually have been part of a broader investigation”.
There are a lot of good people in the Sikh community who do not regard this as a plus.