Saturday, December 17, 2005

Nina Grewal can stand on her head!

The Globe and Mail has a profile of Nina that Grewal watchers will no doubt be interested in. On the whole she is portrayed positively. Nina asserts her independence from Gurmant--though one could hardly imagine her doing otherwise.

There are, of course, some surprises here. Apparently Nina can stand on her head! And she makes the rather odd promise to smack her opponents if they bring up Gurmant's antics (which she again denies knowing anything about). And even odder her saying there have been times when she's wanted to smack Gurmant himself.

Stranger and stranger. Anyway, here you go:
Grewal ready to run on her own

Saturday, December 17, 2005 Page A12

SURREY, B.C. -- It's Nina Grewal, like you've never seen her before. "I was quite a good athlete in school," says Ms. Grewal, sitting behind a large mahogany desk in her Surrey constituency office. "I played all sports. I could do cartwheels, handstands, you name it. Would you like to see?" Are you kidding? Of course I would. Ms. Grewal gets up, finds an open bit of carpet and, within seconds, is standing on her head. And talking at the same time.

"Is this a good handstand?" asks Ms. Grewal, the Conservative MP who is seeking re-election in the riding of Fleetwood-Port Kells. "What do you think, Gary? Can you believe this?" Ah, frankly, no. Nor can I believe the woman I've just spent an hour talking to is the same one constantly depicted in the media as the mindless, deferring puppet of her man, Gurmant, the other half of the first husband-and-wife team to sit in the House of Commons simultaneously.

Gurmant, of course, is the one who got caught up in a bizarre taping scandal last year, which ended up hurting him far more than the Liberals he said he was trying to entrap. When the tapes were later ruled to have been altered, it was Mr. Grewal who took the fall.

When he announced that he was not seeking re-election as the Conservative MP for Newton-North Delta because he didn't want to be a distraction to his party, it left many to wonder -- how would Nina survive in Ottawa without him?

"I will be just fine," she says, leaning forward on her desk. "It is too bad what happened to Gurmant. But as you know, whistle-blowers are always punished, never rewarded. So my husband had to pay the price because he blew the whistle and it's not easy blowing the whistle on the government."

For the record, Ms. Grewal says she didn't know her husband was going to tape conversations with a key Liberal strategist as well as Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh. When Gurmant later told Nina he had evidence of the Liberals trying to entice the couple with plum posts if they crossed the floor, she thought it would be bad news for the government.

Ms. Grewal is well aware that her opponents will try to use the taping scandal against her in this campaign. Particularly Liberal candidate Brenda Locke, a former B.C. cabinet minister, who has a lead over Ms. Grewal, according to recent polling. So, what will Nina do when Ms. Locke raises the matter?

"If she's going to bring it up she's going to be smacked," Ms. Grewal says. "She's going to be smacked. She's going to be smacked and well, I've got all sorts of things on her from her time in government [provincially] and I'll bring that up."

Smacked? Smacked? Well, we'll all want to be there for that.

There's little doubt Ms. Grewal would rather she not have this issue to deal with in a race as close as hers. There have been many times, I'm sure, when she's wanted to "smack" her husband for coming up with such a stupid idea in the first place.

"Of course there have been times," she says. "Of course. But what's gone is gone, Gary. Let's look at the future. You can't keep repenting what's happened in the past."

If my interview with Ms. Grewal is any indication, it would appear she is determined to remake the image many have of her as the dutiful wife who rarely utters a word unless it is first stamped for approval by her husband. As well, she intends to correct the perception that she's been a useless MP who never has a thing to say in the House.

"First," she says, "people have various ideas that Gurmant always walks in front of me, issuing this instruction to me and that instruction. They don't know that I'm my own person, my own independent person with my own independent thoughts, views and responsibilities. I don't want to be overshadowed by my husband. I'm not a person like that.

"And I also want you to know that in the one and a half years I was in Parliament I'm very proud of my record. Go to, and you'll see they rank the MPs based on how much they said and did in the House of Commons. I'm really proud to say that I'm ranked 114 out of 308 MPs. And I've spoken more than 25 cabinet ministers."

As is the case in most ridings, the campaign in Fleetwood-Port Kells is not yet in full swing. After Christmas is when you can expect tight races like this one to take on a different hue and tone. Given the potential material Liberals have to work with, things could get a little nasty.

When her husband decided not to run again, Ms. Grewal said she was sad, but not for a second did she consider not running herself. "Why should I?" she says. "Gurmant was an MP for a long time before I ran for politics. He was away in Ottawa while I was home. Now he can do what I was doing for awhile. I'm Nina Grewal. I'm my own person."

And one who will stand on her head for constituents.
Other notable news stories about Nina can be found here and here

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