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

Quebec wins ringette gold in overtime

End-to-end thriller played before more than 1,100 fans at Servus Arena

Alberta’s men and women speedskaters take silver in relay

Speedskaters credited hard training for Friday’s success

Photo radar unlikely to change in Red Deer

City participates in photo radar review

Trial into fatal Canada Day crash to continue

A trial into a fatal Canada Day 2016 crash failed to wrap… Continue reading

NEB gives Trans Mountain pipeline expansion its endorsement

CALGARY — The National Energy Board has endorsed an expansion of the… Continue reading

Fashion Fridays: Must-have wardrobe basics

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Local Sports: Tanner Butler: A gifted defenceman

RDC hockey Kings head coach Trevor Keeper had an idea of what… Continue reading

Stettler RCMP looking for hit-and-run driver

A white Dodge truck with a flat deck backed into a car… Continue reading

Seniors: Who owns your medical records?

Have you ever been asked to fill in authorization forms or pay… Continue reading

Ponoka man attacked by dogs issues plea to town council

Troubles with bylaw and handling of court case prompts presentation to council

‘Napalm Girl’ to discuss journey from hatred to forgiveness

Latest Herr Lecture to feature Kim Phuc Phan Thi at LMC

Rabbits saved from barn fire in Ponoka County

The Ponoka County East District Fire Department was called to a barn fire

Abel begins diving season on brink of record for most worlds medals

MONTREAL — Jennifer Abel could make history this summer in Gwangju, South… Continue reading

On eve of return to Toronto, former Raptors star DeRozan says he’s “moved on”

TORONTO — DeMar DeRozan has found closure. When the player once fondly… Continue reading

Most Read