Friday, July 15, 2005

National Post: Mann & Dhahan acknowledge link to Dosanjh, denies plotting against Grewal

There's another story in the National Post this morning about Sarup Mann, who is a memberat large of Dosanjh's riding association.

There are a few more details worth noting. First, he made two donations:
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 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.''
A bit of sloppy reporting here. Grewal has admitted that the donation of $1800 fell under the new rules and was a mistake (see here: 'In regards to the donation made to his wife's campaign, Grewal acknowledged a receipt should have been issued for the $1,800 cheque, and said the error was "simply an oversight on the part of a volunteer who was supposed to issue a receipt"'.

The other donor hosted a coffee-and-dessert party for Mr. Dosanjh during the last federal election, but insisted that he had no real connection to Dosanjh and the federal Liberals:
''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.''
Some conservatives have emphasized these donors' ties to the Liberals, including many Blogging Tories and MP John Reynolds:
''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.
I have already expressed my doubts about this--the fact that they wrote cheques to Grewal proves that they were not plotting against him. It also strikes me that this could blow up in the Conservatives' faces quite quickly--these are two of five complaints, and Grewal has acknowledged that there may be other cheques out there.
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.
This is an interesting point--apparently neither of them was involved in the leak. And another interesting point:
''Mr. Dosanjh wasn't even in the picture when he started dealing with him [Grewal],'' Mr. Mann said.
This is correct. Martin didn't introduce to Dosanjh as a star candidate in BC until April 1, 2004 (see here). (There has to be a joke in there somewhere, but I need my coffee.)