Friday, February 03, 2006

Surrey Leader: Grewal says ethics report on taping was changed

From a local Surrey paper comes the story that Grewal saw earlier drafts of the Ethics Commissioner's report, that the first draft exonerated him, and that the second and third (final) drafts were changed to find him chiefly at fault and exonerate the Liberals.
Grewal says ethics report on taping was changed

By Dan Ferguson
Staff Reporter
Feb 01 2006

Former Newton-North Delta MP Gurmant Grewal says he received a threatening letter Friday from Parliament’s ethics commissioner after he claimed the commissioner’s report on his taping controversy had been altered to favour the Liberals.

“The letter says if I release the (draft) reports, that would be a violation of the House of Commons Code of Conduct and I would subject to disciplinary action,” Grewal said Tuesday.

“I’ve sent the letter to my lawyer for advice.”

Grewal said he is considering taking legal action over the report, claiming the first draft of the document exonerated him and laid blame at the foot of the Liberals, only to be altered through at least two subsequent versions until it was changed to find him at fault and the Liberals blameless.

He said he was “shocked and disgusted” by the final version of the report by commissioner Bernard Shapiro.

The report condemned Grewal’s decision to secretly tape talks with Liberal health minister Ujjal Dosanjh and Tim Murphy, the prime minister’s chief of staff, on the eve of a crucial May 19 budget vote.

The Conservatives said the recordings implicated the Liberals in an attempt to buy the votes of Grewal and his wife, MP Nina Grewal, just after Tory Belinda Stronach crossed the floor to join the Liberals.

Shapiro said the surreptitious taping was neither illegal nor a specific violation of MPs’ rules of conduct, but said the overall effect was to weaken the public’s confidence and trust in the integrity of the House of Commons and its members.

Shapiro did not review the tapes in making his ruling, something Grewal said turned the investigation into a review of the propriety of taping, not the contents of the tapes.

“It’s about the messenger, not the message.”

Grewal also complained about the witnesses interviewed by the commissioner, saying 10 of the 21 are “well-known Liberals” including his rival for Newton-North Delta, Sukh Dhaliwal.

The Grewal-Dosanjh inquiry report was ready for release on Jan. 20, but was withheld until after the election.

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