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.”

Just Posted

Two people die in Hwy 11 crash

RCMP continue to investigate

Bank of Canada deputy governor Timothy Lane says Canadian economy resilient

OTTAWA — The Canadian economy remains resilient despite the global uncertainty caused… Continue reading

The Second Cup agrees to buy Ottawa chain Bridgehead Coffee for $9.5 million

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — The Second Cup Ltd. says it has agreed to… Continue reading

Telus to buy German call centre firm Competence Call Center for $1.3 billion

VANCOUVER — Telus Corp. is buying a German call centre company through… Continue reading

High court to decide if it will hear Alberta man’s appeal in seniors slayings

OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada is to release a decision… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Tuesday The Central Alberta Council on Aging will hold its Christmas General… Continue reading

Much anticipated Star Wars-based ride debuts at Disney World

ORLANDO, Fla. — The resistance is rising. “Rise of the Resistance,” the… Continue reading

Alex Trebek among special 2020 Canadian Academy award recipients

TORONTO — Alex Trebek, David Suzuki, Tina Keeper and Daniel Levy will… Continue reading

Ennis records three points to help lift Senators over Oilers

Senators 5 Oilers 2 EDMONTON — Tyler Ennis had a goal and… Continue reading

Alberta Finance Minister voted MLA of the year in poll of political peers

EDMONTON — Finance Minister Travis Toews come on down, you’ve been voted… Continue reading

Quebec police seek potential victims of former cop, coach accused of sex crimes

LONGUEUIL, Que. — A former Montreal police officer and minor hockey coach… Continue reading

Quebec chief justice postpones speech to Jewish law society over Bill 21 concerns

MONTREAL — Quebec’s chief justice, who is hearing a case seeking a… Continue reading

Inuit sharing ancient knowledge of ice, sea and land with social media app Siku

HALIFAX — A social media app geared towards the outdoor lives of… Continue reading

Most Read