File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS                                Liberal MP Raj Grewal rises in the House of Commons in Ottawa. The House of Commons ethics committee has voted down a motion from opposition members to hear from the Privy Council clerk about who knew what and when concerning MP Raj Grewal’s gambling habit.

File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS Liberal MP Raj Grewal rises in the House of Commons in Ottawa. The House of Commons ethics committee has voted down a motion from opposition members to hear from the Privy Council clerk about who knew what and when concerning MP Raj Grewal’s gambling habit.

Opposition presses for answers on MP Raj Grewal’s gambling activities

OTTAWA — The House of Commons ethics committee has voted down a motion from opposition members to hear from the Privy Council clerk about who knew what and when concerning MP Raj Grewal’s gambling habit.

The move by the Liberal-dominated committee prompted Conservative MP Peter Kent to suggest government members were trying to hide something related to their former caucus colleague.

Grewal is considering his future in politics as he takes a leave to deal with what he calls a compulsive gambling problem that caused him to rack up millions of dollars in debt.

The MP for the Toronto-area riding of Brampton East says he has fully repaid his debts and is now rethinking a hasty decision to resign from the House, though he is no longer a member of the Liberal caucus.

A source with knowledge of events has told The Canadian Press that the RCMP began looking into Grewal’s casino gambling based on reports of unusually large financial transactions.

Word of Grewal’s gambling debts also surfaced in a much broader police probe into other people suspected of money laundering and terrorist financing, the source said.

In a statement posted late last Friday on his Facebook page, Grewal said he began visiting the Casino du Lac Leamy in Gatineau, Que., in early 2016, running up personal debt in the millions of dollars playing high-stakes blackjack. He started to borrow money from family and friends to continue to gamble.

He said everyone has been paid back and each loan and repayment is transparent and traceable.

Joel Etienne, a lawyer for Grewal, said in an email this week that the money owing was subsequently repaid by family members.

However, Grewal has not responded to requests for an interview and opposition MPs want to know more about his financial dealings.

New Democrat MP Charlie Angus told the ethics committee Thursday that an MP who owes millions of dollars from gambling is a security risk. The mention of Grewal’s debts in the context of a wider investigation into money laundering is “deeply concerning,” Angus said.

Grewal was a member of the Commons finance committee, so the Privy Council should have been made aware, he added.

There should be protocols to ensure the prime minister knows of such risks, making it an important issue to study at committee, Angus said.

Kent said there are serious questions concerning details of what the Prime Minister’s Office was told as well as about the source of funds used to repay Grewal’s loans.

Opposition members had initially called for a briefing with the Privy Council clerk— the top federal bureaucrat — as well as officials from the Prime Minister’s Office. The motion was narrowed to propose testimony solely from the PCO clerk, but still failed to pass.

“What are the Liberals hiding from Canadians?” Kent later asked during question period in the House.

Liberal House leader Bardish Chagger accused the Conservatives of ”trying to politicize committees of this House.”

Grewal

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A man wearing shorts uses trekking poles as he walks through the snow at Burnaby Mountain Park in Burnaby, B.C., on Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021. Canadians are “Angry Birds” when it comes to climate action, indicates a survey the United Nations calls the largest ever taken on the issue. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
UN survey uses Angry Birds to reveal Canadian, global opinions on climate policies

Canada seventh out of 50 countries when it comes to concern about the environment

James Scott, 19, pauses while picking through the remains of his home, which was destroyed by a tornado, on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Fultondale, Ala. Scott, who survived with his mother and sister, had never lived anywhere else and isn’t sure where he will wind up after the storm. (AP Photo/Jay Reeves)
Killer winter tornado stuns storm-savvy Alabama town

30 injured, entire families trapped in shattered homes

A photo illustration made December 14, 2012 in Montreal shows a computer in chains. Security experts warn about “ransomware,” where computers or mobile phones are locked down by cyber thieves. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Cyber cops in 9 nations team up to disrupt dangerous malware

Malicious software was delivered in infected email attachments containing Word documents

Vehicles are seen in a parking lot at the General Motors Oshawa Assembly Plant in Oshawa, Ont., on June 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin
GM, Navistar team up to build hydrogen powered heavy trucks

GM has been researching hydrogen fuel cells for 50 years

Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Minister Carla Qualtrough responds to a question during a news conference Thursday August 20, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Easing rules for parental benefits created inequities among parents, documents say

Documents obtained under the Access to Information Act

File - In this Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018 file photo, survivors of the Nazi death camp Auschwitz arrive for a commemoration ceremony on International Holocaust Remembrance Day at the International Monument to the Victims of Fascism inside Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oswiecim, Poland. The commemorations for the victims of the Holocaust at the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, marking the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau on Jan. 27, 1945, will be mostly online this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski, file)
Auschwitz survivors mark anniversary online amid pandemic

Memorial site closed to visitors because of the pandemic

FIFA set a new target to finalizing North American host cities for the 2026 World Cup. (File photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
FIFA sets late-2021 target date to pick 2026 World Cup host cities

23 candidate cities likely need to be cut to 16

Hockey Alberta’s logo. (Photo courtesy Hockey Alberta Facebook)
Hockey Alberta sets deadline on decision for 2020-21 minor hockey season

Sustainability of league play for remainder of season under review

Well-known Rocky Mountain retreat Jasper Park Lodge has been booked out from the end of February until the end of April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lauren Krugel
Famous hotel in Alberta mountains reserved for nine weeks for private booking

Hotel could be a filming site according to online speculation

”Letterkenny” has signed a number of new merchandising deals, including one with collectible figurine creator Funko. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Bell Media, Amanda Matlovich
‘Letterkenny’ inks multiple licensing deals with merchandise companies

Expand on merchandise sold through show’s website

Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen, left, makes a save on Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk during second period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Mitch Marner scores game winner for Maple Leafs in 4-3 win over Flames

Mitch Marner scores game winner for Maple Leafs in 4-3 win over Flames

FILE - In this Oct. 25, 2007, file photo, Boston Red Sox's Curt Schilling pitches against the Colorado Rockies in Game 2 of the baseball World Series at Fenway Park in Boston. Like many baseball writers, C. Trent Rosecrans viewed the Hall of Fame vote as a labor of love. The results of the 2021 vote will be announced Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, and Rosecrans was not alone in finding the task particularly agonizing this time around. With Schilling's candidacy now front and center — and Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens still on the ballot as well — voters have had to consider how much a player’s off-field behavior should affect his Hall of Fame chances. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)
Baseball Hall gets no new members; Schilling 16 votes shy

Baseball Hall gets no new members; Schilling 16 votes shy

Prince Edward Island’s Birt is bubble-bound but first wants provincial title

Prince Edward Island’s Birt is bubble-bound but first wants provincial title

Most Read