Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The Sordid Grewal Affair and the Bile in My Mouth

***haaack thooowey***

That's how I feel today. The Grewal Affair is a disgusting spectacle of almost comic proportions. Yes, it would almost be funny if you couldn't actually hear the hearts of the Canadian voter hardening over this. Disgust and disillusion hang in the air like an August smog bubble over Toronto.

That our national government is once again wasting our time with this petty, childish behaviour is an insult to Canadians who want things to get done. Why are we once again digging into a crisis?

First and foremost, I am angry over the behaviour of the CPC in general and of Gurmant Grewal, the instigator of this nonsense. Mr. Grewal has a questionable past. Most notably, he has claimed to be a victim of the BC Liberal Party back in 1995, who he says tricked him into stepping aside for another candidate. He later claimed that Sandy Powar of the BC Liberals, tried to bribe him with a cabinet post in a Gordon Campbell government. Mr. Grewal further claimed to have a tape of the conversation (which never materialized).

Sound familiar?

He later claimed that he "recommended to and then helped the president of Liberia to launch Green Revolution in the country" and that the Liberian government "asked me if I would like to be vice-consul or honorary consul and they were considering it, but it never happened..." During his time in BC, it was reported that he was actually an advisor to Samuel Doe, the vicious Liberian dictator.

In 2002, he claims that Prime Minister Jean Chretien, through an unidentified Liberal MP, offered him a cabinet position if he crossed the floor.

Sound familiar?

He also had ultra-right-wing(nut) barbie Rachel Marsden working in his office last year, under an assumed name. He had knowingly hired her against the express wishes of Stephen Harper. Marsden used his office e-mail to recruit people to his campaign, which is illegal. Grewal denies he knew that a person he was asked not to hire and working for him under an assumed name was doing this. Besides, she was told to stop.

But wait, he was also involved in a controversy surrounding getting visitors visas in exchange for cash last year. Although he claims that the $50 K "bonds" were refundable, given his background, it is hard to believe nothing else may have gone on. As wonderdog, puts it, I wonder what was said in those "bond" conversations. He is currently under investigation for this by both the ethics commissioner and the RCMP, at the behest of Immigration Minister Joe Volpe.

I find it clear from all of these shenanigans that Mr. Grewal is, how shall it put this, less than believable and most certainly less than trustworthy. A sordid past like this should simply disqualify him from holding any office.

Which leads me to the CPC. How can a party that has trumpeted for 8 weeks that they are the alternative to "Liberal corruption" have such a person within their ranks and make any attempt to give him credibility? After dropping the original 8-minute dud on May 19, we waited 11 days for more inconclusive nothing. And we still don't have all of the tapes! And what we do have is of questionable authenticity and quality. What was the CPC doing over those 11 days? Why don't we have ALL of the audio available?

Any thought that the CPC would take the moral high road and not have a "hidden agenda" on anything are out the door. The CPC and its leadership under Stephen Harper have proven yet again that they are no better than the Liberals they slam so often. As you see in the links above, its not like Mr. Harper didn't know about Mr. Grewal's reputation and actions. And the CPC continues to play partisan games with this in a effort to embarrass the Liberals instead of getting to work, revealing they are just as opportunistic as those they condemn.

And the Liberals. Well, we expect this from them, don't we? I am a little disgusted that they would even enter a dance with the likes of Mr. Grewal, but I am not surprised. Let me put on my best Captain Renault voice, and paraphrase:

"I am shocked! Shocked to discover that a minoity government backed against the wall and fighting for its survival would try to use any kind of wheeling and dealing to try to survive! Shocked, I tell you!"

This whole thing simply stinks. It is perhaps one of the lowest moments in Canadian political history. I will not be surprised if we have turned a whole generation off of politics because of this. I would expect a voter turnout in the mid 40% range next time.

I would also expect more protest votes for the Greens and the NDP, but not as much as there should be. People will just give up. And thanks to this, Quebec will never look to a federalist party again, and I don't blame them. The Liberals will steal from them and the Conservatives will try any sleazy trick in the book to get them. And the NDP is essentially the Bloc without the separatist agenda so why change?

Thank you Stephen Harper and Gurmant Grewal for spiraling our country and politics to a new low. Trust me, you will never get elected in Ontario after this.

My only hope is that the voters see that the NDP is actually trying to get something useful done - even if you don't agree with WHAT they are trying to get done, at least they are trying to do something besides embarrass their political foes (trust me, they are holding their noses while they do it). Hopefully this will have them look at the platform and dispel the myths and accept the NDP as a real alternative to both the CPC and the Libs. I hope they do the same thing to the Green Party as well. I think we need to rid Ottawa of BOTH the Liberals and the Conservatives.

A little advice to Stephen Harper:

Look honest not shifty. Release ALL the tapes, unedited and untranslated, to the public (and to the Mounties) and let the chips fall where they may. Right now the only thing that can help you guys is to unceremoniously dump Mr. Grewal from the party and come clean. Honesty now may help a great deal when the election comes.

Of course, I don't expect him to follow that advice. That would make sense.

Update:

Well, I guess I was right - Harper is defending Grewal and trying to use this incident to yet again embarass the Libs. What is most interesting is that they are now claiming that Grewal has handed over all the tapes. so where is the other 2 hours and 45 minutes? This thing stinks to high heaven and I personally don't believe this is it (if it is the CPC has made a crisis out of "maybe" and "wink-wink-nudge-nudge" - idiots).

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