What did Nina know, and when did she know it?
As I said in the previous post, I have been continuing my work on the FAQ (which has been nominated for a blogging award--you can vote for me here if you like). As part of the preparation on the entry on Nina, I've been reviewing the role that she's played in the story.
From the beginning of the Grewal affair, Nina denied that she knew anything about the negotiations or the taping. She told the Toronto Star on June 8 (I've archived the article here; cf. here): ""nobody approached me, I wasn't part of any negotiations."
The article goes on to report that when Nina was asked about passages in the transcripts like those above in which Gurmant is seen negotiating for both of them, she merely replied: "I have no comment."
Nor did Nina make much more comment than this for the two months in which her husband was so much in the news. It was not until the middle of July that she consented to an interview, and that not with the national media (whose requests for interviews she had consistently rebuffed), but with a local weekly paper, The Surrey Now:
Grewal said she wasn't at the meetings between her husband and the Liberals and had nothing to do with the tapes. "I didn't participate in the conversations," she said. "I wasn't there at all." In fact, she added, she was in Ottawa* at a training session when Gurmant met the Liberals in Vancouver*.(*I suspect that The Now has gotten this backwards: the Gurmant met the Liberals in Ottawa; Nina, I assume, was in Vancouver.) Nina also complained about the media's interest in her.
She's "particularly troubled" about a story that appeared in the Globe and Mail on June 11, headlined "Nina Grewal's degree in political silence." The story, she said, claimed "I'm just a silent person not talking on anything. Why would I, when I was not part of this controversy?The tapes give a slightly different picture, however. On the morning of May 17th, Grewal met Dosanjh and Murphy to discuss changing parties. He came alone, but the Liberals wanted both he and Nina to defect. Before Murphy arrived, Dosanjh and Grewal discussed the situation. Grewal has explained how valuable they would be to the Liberals (thanks to Raj, Sohn, and Kuldip for help with the Punjabi):
UD (5'33) Have you talked to Nina? (5'33) Have you talked to Nina?
haanji, dovein decided ta nahin haan, dwindling jihe haan. Depend karde, ki milda ki hai. Je ta quick changa haiga taa tahra tarhi ho jaye, je zyada hee ho jaaye taa baad vich haali karaange.
Yes. Both of us are not decided, we are kind of dwindling*. It depends on what we get. If we get something good quickly, then it can be done right away. But if it is too much (of waiting) then we’ll do it later.
(*sic. Apparently Grewal means dawdling.) Here, Gurmant is asked point blank whether he'd talked to Nina. He says "yes" (haanji).
It may well be, of course, that it was Gurmant who was lying to Dosanjh rather than Nina who was lying to the press. But what does it say about Nina's independence if Grewal could begin negotiations about something so important without consulting her?