Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Go-between says Grewal initiated

Go-between says Tory MP approached Liberals
Last Updated Fri, 20 May 2005 07:00:48 EDT
CBC News
OTTAWA - The man who acted as a go-between for Conservative member of Parliament Gurmant Grewal and federal Liberals during recent talks about crossing the floor confirms a Liberal minister's claim that Grewal initiated the negotiations.

Conservative MP Gurmant Grewal leaves a news conference in Ottawa Wednesday May 18, 2005. (CP photo)
Sudesh Kalia has told CBC News that Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh told the truth when he said the Liberals did not approach Grewal about helping the Liberals by abstaining from a key budget vote.

If the Liberals lose the vote, Paul Martin's minority government will fall and the country will go to the polls, probably before the end of June.

Grewal told a news conference on Wednesday that the Liberals approached him to offer him a cabinet post and offer his wife Nina, who is also an MP from British Columbia, the prospect of either a diplomatic posting or a senate seat.

He also claimed to have secretly tape-recorded a conversation with Tim Murphy, Prime Minister Paul Martin's chief of staff, negotiating with Grewal about the terms of the deal.

Kalia, who says he is a friend of both Grewal and Dosanjh, told CBC reporter Eric Sorensen that Grewal definitely made the first approach.

He also said Grewal had been talking about crossing the floor to the Liberals for "a couple of years."

Asked for comment, Grewal disputed Kalia's account, telling Sorensen he has a tape recording of a conversation with Kalia that backs him up.

Earlier, Dosanjh had told reporters that Grewal came back several times when the Liberals rejected his demands for high-level postings as a reward for switching allegiances.

"I am actually offended that he wouldn't take no for an answer," said Dosanjh, who is also an MP from British Columbia.

Grewal is not the first Conservative MP to accuse the Liberals of trying to court him with promises of appointments as the budget vote neared.


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