Sunday, August 07, 2005

Calls for Grewal's ouster increasing in the Conservative caucus

In this morning's news is a story coming out of India about Grewal. Most Indian news services have tended to write stories that seem derived purely from Canadian stories. This one, however, claims to have spoken to sources 'in the party caucus'. (One might reasonably guess that Deepak Obhrai, who hinted darkly here that the Conservative caucus would deal with the Grewal issue, might be one of them.)

Pressure mounting to expel Indo-Canadian MP
Toronto | August 07, 2005 10:42:12 AM IST

Pressure seems to be mounting on Conservative party leader Stephen Harper to show the door to beleaguered Indo-Canadian MP Gurmant Grewal. Although Harper hasn't made up his mind just as yet, sources in the party caucus revealed to the South Asian Observer that the number of party members seeking the ouster of Grewal has increased manifold.

Grewal faced severe criticism when he implicated his own party leader in the infamous Tapegate - the surreptitious recording of conversations between him and senior Liberals.

In an interview with a British Colombia newspaper, Grewal first said Harper had approved his efforts to tape conversations with Tim Murphy, the prime minister's chief of staff, and Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh. Grewal however later said he had informed Harper what he was doing but "no approval was sought or given".

Some political observers feel that Grewal has now become a burden for Harper, whose popularity has been on the slide. Experts feel that while Harper should be talking taxes, healthcare and education, he has been forced to discuss the details of Tapegate. He has even defended Grewal by suggesting Murphy should have known that all conversations are on record.

Of course there are some tricky optics at work as well. All political parties want to be seen as ethnically inclusive. They also want to welcome and support MPs from across the country.

Grewal has already been sent on stress leave, an apparent bid to get him out of the limelight, at least for the time being.

Some party leaders feel that it's high time for Harper to take a decision as the episode has already damaged the party's image. Some have suggested that Harper should refuse to sign Grewal's nomination paper for the next election. Grewal represents Fleetwood-Port Kells, British Columbia.
-- (IANS)


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