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"Gurmant was first elected to the House of Commons in 1997. He was re-elected in 2000 and 2004. He stepped aside temporarily from active, electoral and partisan politics in October, 2005.
Gurmant held senior porfolios for the official opposition, including Deputy House Leader, Senior Critic for Foreign Affairs, CIDA, Canadians Abroad, Multiculturalism and Scrutiny of Regulations.
Presently, Gurmant is writing a book on politics and is involved in community activities. "
"Gurmant Grewal was born near Ludhiana in the Punjab, India. Both his parents were teachers and brought him, his younger brother and sister up in an environment rife with decent family values.
A defining moment of Gurmant’s life occurred when he was eight years old. While visiting India, United States Vice-President Hubert Humphrey inaugurated a local hospital. Gurmant and his younger brother welcomed and met with the Vice-President, who presented invitations to the Grewal brothers to visit the Vice-President’s Gallery in the US Senate Chamber. This event made Gurmant realize how a politician can change the lives of ordinary people.
Gurmant graduated from the Punjab Agricultural University with a Bachelor of Science (Hons) degree in Agriculture and received the university merit scholarship. Gurmant also earned a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. Gurmant has been actively involved in extra-curricular activities and was awarded two University Colours in sports. After his first management job at DCM Limited (then the 4th largest private company in India), he moved on to a British conglomerate with a senior management job as the Area Manager for Northern India.
Gurmant immigrated to Liberia in 1983. In Liberia, he worked as marketing manager and general manager with multinational companies. He, along with his wife and brother set up a business, dealing with pest control, marketing agricultural supplies and telecommunication products; the business flourished. Gurmant also taught as Assistant Professor of Business Management at the University of Liberia. With the outbreak of civil war in Liberia, the Grewal family was forced to flee the West African nation, arriving in Canada in 1991.
In Canada, Gurmant and his family settled in Surrey, British Columbia where he worked as a realtor and businessman. Gurmant also served as a Director of Surrey Metro Savings Credit Union, then the second largest credit union in Canada. Gurmant cared about his community and also served on numerous boards and community organizations.
After running unsuccessfully for MLA in 1996, he ran and won federal election as an MP in 1997, after less than six years of immigration to Canada - a record. He has been the first Sikh elected to the Official Opposition. With the election of Nina Grewal as an MP from the neighbouring constituency, the Grewals were the first married couple to consecutively serve in the House of Commons in Canada and in the Commonwealth.
Gurmant has been a hardworking, aggressive and solution-oriented politician. Gurmant introduced over 50 Bills and Motions; many had passed votes in the House. His Bill C-205 even received the Royal Ascent, a rare accomplishment for a private member's bill. Since 1997, out of 1946 private bills introduced by then, only 19 have been enacted into law. Grewal's legislation brought regulations made by government agencies under the purview of parliamentary scrutiny, plugging a black hole in regulatory accountability. Gurmant was well liked by not only his caucus colleagues but also MPs from across the aisle. It is a testament to the success of his private members bill.
He brought numerous issues to the floor of the House of Commons, which changed the direction of the governments in Ottawa. Some exclusive issues include, recognition of international credentials, elimination of head tax on immigrants, whistleblowers' protection, regulatory reforms, visitor visa bonds, Air India inquiry, redress of Komagata Maru tragedy, de-hyphenation of Canadians, emergency preparedness, taxes on taxes, prohibiting profiteering during emergencies, suppressing of financing for terrorism, respect of human rights, youth voting initiatives etc.
He travelled extensively around the world and has met with over three dozens of Heads of States. Foreign Affairs has been Gurmant's forte. As Chief Critic for Foreign Affairs, Gurmant led his party on many issues including spearheading International Criminal Court legislation. As the Chief Critic for Canadian International Development Agency, he raised the issues of accountability and effectiveness of CIDA projects. In 1998, while India and Pakistan conducted the nuclear tests, the Liberal government of the day broke diplomatic ties and imposed trade sanctions while both nuclear nations were on the verge of a war. He along with the Leader of the official Opposition, met with top politicians and government officials from both countries to comprehend with the regional dynamics. He continued to vigorously oppose and criticize the Liberal governments' move until the government realized its mistake and eased the sanctions.
Gurmant was appointed Deputy House Leader of the Official Opposition; he was the first minority MP to be an Officer of the House. He was a member of the Priority and Planning committee of the Official Opposition. Gurmant has been appointed Opposition Critic to half a dozen portfolios including multiculturalism, health and environment. He has been member of about a dozen Standing Committees of the House. Gurmant has been one of the only two Opposition members to Chair any parliamentary committees. He was Co-Chair of Standing Joint Committee (House and Senate) on Scrutiny of Regulations for seven terms. During his tenure, the committee presented more disallowance reports of faulty statutory instruments than ever. Gurmant was also a member of a dozen parliamentary associations and friendship groups and an office bearer of many of them. He represented Canada at many international events and has been a member of the official delegations of Governor General's State Visit, Prime Ministers and Speaker of the House of Commons. In addition, he was invited by the Foreign and International Trade Ministers to attend the APEC conference in Mexico, on behalf of Canada.
Gurmant has been a passionate and frequent participant in parliamentary debates. In some sessions, he delivered the most speeches out of all the MPs. Gurmant enjoyed writing his own speeches. He has been a very analytical, research oriented MP. He would routinely work in his parliamentary office up to 2 or 3 in the morning, sometimes even the security inspecting the offices would ask him to rest. After working about 20 hours a day, he would still be working out in the Confederation Bldg gym at 6 am.
Gurmant has been very approachable and accessible MP. His constituency of Surrey Central was the largest constituency in Canada in population. He had over 16,000 case files. He visited his constituency every weekend while the parliament was in session. Occasionally, he would also open his office for his constituents on the weekends. He would surpass other politicians in attending the number of events in his constituency and in the Lower Mainland. To maximise the time he would spend locally while the House was sitting, for over nine years every Sunday night he took red eye flight via Toronto to Ottawa, and after taking shower he will go straight go to work.
During the vote of the Nisga's treaty, Gurmant was the only MP to cast his vote for all the 471 amendments that took over 43 hours of record continuous voting in the world.
Gurmant has been a caring, dedicated and loyal Conservative who helped its legacy parties in nation-wide outreach, particularly during the 'old and tough' days in late 90s. Due to his successful outreach in the ethnic communities, Gurmant often became a target of his political opponents and endured their bias. In 2000 election, his political opponents sought the help of top Liberal brass to defeat him, despite two visits from the Liberal Prime Minister and a dozen senior cabinet ministers during the campaign; he won with a margin of over 10,000 votes against the Liberal 'star' candidate. Then, the Liberals attempted to lure him to join their cabinet but he could not be bought out. Finally, they tried a political assassination of his career with numerous allegations and investigations but Gurmant has been completely vindicated.
As Gurmant has many accomplishments to his credit, but he has not been aloof to political controversies, which basically originated as he blew the whistle on corruption within the Liberal government, after the Liberals tried to buy his vote prior to a non-confidence vote. The Liberals unleashed a barrage of investigations. They abused the power of the office and used every tool they had including their friendly media and bloggers to harass and intimidate Gurmant. Though he is an invincible fighter, but on October 25, 2005, Gurmant sacrificed his political career and announced to step aside only for the good of his party and his leader, until he was completely vindicated.
He has been completely vindicated from ALL the investigations that has proven what he has been saying all along - that he did not do anything wrong. Instead of proving that he was innocent, the investigations did not prove anything else but wasted four years of the pinnacle political career of the hardworking MP. In the last 5 years Gurmant has gathered substantive black and white evidence to support his claim; which he plans to write in his book and expose many hidden truths about our democracy. In retro respect, Gurmant had the courage not to do what was popular or politically smart, but was right and necessary under the circumstances. The hard working former MP is proud of his parliamentary record and is hopeful that one day, justice will be served!
Gurmant was called the "Iron Man" of Canadian Parliament.
THE "IRONMAN OF THE CANADIAN PARLIAMENT" :
On February 26, 2003 then the Opposition Leader Stephen Harper made the following statement in the House of Commons:
“Mr. Speaker, all of us in this Chamber work very hard but I want to mention, something special about our colleague, the member for Surrey Central.
He became an MP in five years and eight months after immigrating to Canada, 2,005 days, a record in Canadian history. Today, he has been an MP for exactly the same period.
During his two terms, in addition to serving his constituents well in the second most populous riding in the country, he has made a significant contribution to our Parliament. He not only actively participates in debates, he is in fact one of the most frequent speakers in the House.
He has introduced scores of motions and bills, among them recognizing foreign academic credentials, whistle blowers’ protection, dis-allowance procedure for regulations and eliminating GST on top of other taxes.
He has been our deputy House leader and four times elected co-chair of the Joint House and Senate Committee on Scrutiny of Regulations and, I should say, one of the only two opposition members to chair any committee.
He has broken the parliamentary record for consecutive voting attendance.
It is no wonder that we call him, on this special day, the “Ironman of the Canadian Parliament."
THE "GREWAL TAPES" :
In mid-May, the Liberal government risked losing a confidence vote on its 2005 budget (which was later decided in the government's favour only by the speaker, after a tie in the house).
The panicked Liberals approached Independent MP Chuck Cadman (former Conservative) and Conservative MPs Belinda Stronach, Inky Mark, Gurmant Grewal and others, with inducements to buy their votes to save the government in the confidence vote.
After meeting with Minister Ujjal Dosanjh and Prime Minister Paul Martin, Cadman did vote with the Liberals. Inky Mark held a press conference to report the offer made to him but refused to name the source and provide the evidence.
Only few days later between May 16-18th, during three meetings and several phone calls, Gurmant recorded the conversations with Ujjal Dosanjh and Tim Murphy, Chief of Staff of the Prime Minister and released all the original recordings to the RCMP. As he blew the whistle on this criminal practice, the Liberals attacked Gurmant with accusations, lies, smears and several investigations. Gurmant was eventually vindicated by the RCMP. He was also vindicated by the Ethics Commissioner, who had prepared draft reports four times, heavily edited each time in favour of the government. (The Ethics Commissioner had threatened Mr. Grewal not to release the draft reports to the media).
In the end, Gurmant did not change parties nor abstained nor voted with the Liberal government, but proved that the Liberals did talk to opposition MPs and offered inducements to buy or sway their votes to hold on to power.
While these discussions were going on, prominent Conservative MP Belinda Stronach defected to the Liberals on May 17th, just two days prior to the vote and instantly received a ministerial position in the government.
Previously, Gurmant had refused to join the Liberals. In 2003, he was offered a Cabinet post in the government; the Liberals then were high in the polls and were in majority government. Why would Gurmant contemplate in 2005 to join the Liberals when their ship was already and visibly sinking.
So, how Canadian with common sense must believe that 'No' attempts were made by the Liberal government of the day to buy opposition MP's votes to continue to remain in power! Isn't democracy like sausages - everyone likes it but no one want to see how it is made! Attacking or victimizing the whisle blower may serve politicians' purpose but not the cause of the people or the democracy's sake.
OFFICIAL OPPOSITION SHADOW CABINET ROLES, PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEES & OTHER MEMBERSHIPS :
• Deputy House Leader of the Official Opposition of Canada • Official Opposition Chief Critic for Foreign Affairs • Official Opposition Chief Critic for Multiculturalism • Official Opposition Chief Critic for Scrutiny of Regulations • Official Opposition Chief Critic for Canadian International Development • Official Opposition Foreign Affairs Critic for Canadians Abroad • Official Opposition Foreign Affairs Critic for Asia Pacific • Official Opposition Deputy Critic for Foreign Affairs • Official Opposition Deputy Critic on the Environment • Official Opposition Deputy Health Critic • Co-Chair (7 terms), Scrutiny of Regulations, Standing Joint Committee of the House & Senate • Member, Official Opposition Shadow Cabinet Priority & Planning Committee • Member, Liaison Committee of the House of Commons (7 terms) • Member, Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs • Member, Standing Committee on Public Accounts • Member, Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade • Member, Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development • Member, Standing Committee on Health • Member, Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage • Member, Standing Committee on Transport • Member, Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration • Member, Sub-Committee on Budgets of the Liaison Committee • Member, Sub-Committee on Organized Crime of the Standing Committee of Justice & Human Rights • Chairman, Treasurer & Founder, Canada-India Parliamentary Friendship Group • Vice President, Commonwealth Parliamentary Group • Vice Chair, Acting Chair & Founder, Canada-Pakistan Parliamentary Friendship Group • Vice Chair & Executive Committee Member, Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) • Vice Chair, Canada-ASEAN Parliamentary Friendship Group • Executive Committee Member, Friendship Group of Parliamentarians for UNESCO • Executive Committee Member, Inter-Parliamentary Forum of the Americas (FIPA) • Member, Parliamentary Confederation of the Americas (COPA) • Member, Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association • Member, Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group • Member, Canada-Taiwan Parliamentary Friendship Group • Member, Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU)
PARLIAMENTARY & OTHER RECORDS :
• With the 2004 election of his wife, Nina, the Grewals became the first married couple to serve
concurrently in the House of Commons. It is also a record in the Commonwealth.
• First Indo-Canadian and Sikh MP elected to Her Majesty’s Loyal Official Opposition of Canada and
the first Ethnic candidate for the Reform Party of Canada
• Elected in a record short time of 5 years and 8 months after immigrating to Canada • As Deputy House Leader, first non-Caucasian to be an officer of the House • Called “The Iron Man” of the Canadian Parliament • Named 2002 Leader of the Year by Radio India • Key note speaker at Harvard Business School • Key note speaker at Chandigarh Judicial Academy for Punjab & Haryana • Awarded the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for Outstanding Services to Canada • Only member of the Canadian Alliance to receive Royal Ascent for a Private Member’s bill (C-205), • Holds parliamentary record for attending the most consecutive votes – 471 over a 43-hour period • Frequently delivered more speeches than his colleagues in various sessions of the House of Commons • Introduced 50 Private Members’ bills and motions and some passed in the House "