Amid Raj Grewal gambling furor, Liberal organized crime deputy admits no ‘clear answer’ to questions
Questions continue to swirl around exactly what and when the Liberals knew about reports of an RCMP probe into the gambling activity of their colleague, Raj Grewal, but there is no “clear answer.”
In an interview with the West Block’s Mercedes Stephenson, the parliamentary secretary for organized crime said he couldn’t answer questions about where the millions used in gambling activities and debt racked up by Grewal came from and was learning about the furor from media reports.
“Unfortunately I don’t have a clear answer for you on that,” said Peter Schiefke.
‘I pretty much know as much on this as most Canadians. I’m hearing about this in the news, I’m learning about what he’s being accused of like many of my colleagues are. It wouldn’t be my place to comment on an ongoing investigation.”
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On Nov. 23, Grewal posted on Facebook that he had decided to resign due to “personal and medical reasons” that the Prime Minister’s Office later confirmed was a gambling problem.
Shortly after, reports began to emerge that the RCMP had been probing Grewal’s gambling for months, including tailing him during trips to a casino across the Ottawa River from Parliament Hill.
The Prime Minister’s Office acknowledged in a statement on Nov. 23 that officials were aware the RCMP had asked about why Grewal brought a construction company executive from his riding of Brampton East along for a problem-plagued visit to India earlier this year.
But they also raised questions about whether that is the only investigation going on.
“We are not aware of an investigation by the Peel Regional Police,” the PMO had offered without being asked about such an investigation.
Peel Regional Police have refused to comment.
In a statement on the night of Nov. 30, Grewal said all his debts were to family and friends, and that there was nothing “sinister” going on.
He has since been removed from the Liberal caucus.
WATCH: Grewal lied about gambling debts, senior Liberals say
Schiefke wouldn’t say whether he thought officials should have acted sooner but said he looks forward to seeing the results of the work being done by the RCMP.
However, Conservative immigration critic Michelle Rempel, who joined Schiefke for a panel discussion on the West Block, said she wants to see the government place a stronger emphasis on the need to get to the bottom of what happened.
“I looked at the comment that the prime minister made this week with regard to the entire situation and his remark was, ‘Well, I really hope Mr. Grewal gets the healing that he needs,” she paraphrased.
“I just find it curious that that was the response from the prime minister. I would’ve expected it to be, ‘I hope that Canadians get the answers that they need.'”
So far, Grewal continues to represent the riding of Brampton East because he has failed to follow the proper procedure for presenting his resignation.
WATCH BELOW: Questions linger over the departure of Liberal MP Raj Grewal
That means he continues to receive a salary of more than $170,000 from taxpayers.
No charges have been laid against Grewal.
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