Liberal MP Raj Grewal resigned over gambling addiction and significant debts: PMO (update)

FOLLOWING intense speculation as to why Brampton East MP Raj Grewal suddenly announced his resignation earlier this week, the Prime Minister’s Office announced on Friday that Grewal resigned from the Liberal caucus and as MP because of a gambling addiction and substantial debts.

“Earlier this week, Mr. Grewal told us that he is undergoing serious personal challenges, and that he is receiving treatment from a health professional related to a gambling problem that led him to incur significant personal debts. Based on these circumstances, we agreed that his decision to resign as Member of Parliament for Brampton East was the right one. We hope he receives the support he needs,” the PMO announced.

Earlier in the day, a report in iPolitics said that the chief government whip had told Liberal MPs not to publicly discuss the resignation.

The report said that an internal memo was sent to the MPs by chief government whip Mark Holland. It read: “I would ask that you please refrain from speculating or commenting publicly about Raj’s announcement. You can also refer any media questions to my office.” The Liberal Party’s website for Grewal has also been removed.

Grewal announced his resignation on Facebook on Thursday: “Yesterday, I informed the Chief Government Whip that I will be resigning my seat as Member of Parliament for Brampton East due to personal and medical reasons.

“To the people of Brampton East, serving as your MP has been the greatest privilege of my life. This has been a decision I’ve struggled with for some time now and one I made with great difficulty and real sadness. But I feel I need this time to focus on my health and family.

“I am grateful for your unwavering support over the past three years. Brampton East is and will always be a special part of my life. I will continue to work for this community and am hopeful I will have the opportunity to serve you again.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote on Twitter: “I learned that Raj Grewal is facing serious personal challenges, and today he announced he is stepping down as Member of Parliament for Brampton East. While it may have been a difficult decision, it was the right one. I hope he receives the support he needs.”

Grewal had already been re-nominated by his party as a candidate in next year’s federal election.

There had also been speculation that Grewal’s resignation might have to do something with the Ethics Commissioner’s inquiry under the Conflict of Interest into Grewal’s invitation to Yusuf Yenilmez, who heads the Brampton construction company, Zgemi Inc. and who was paying Grewal for legal advice, to a reception that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended during his India visit last February.

The VOICE reported last May that in a letter to NDP MP Charlie Angus, the Ethics Commissioner said he decided to launch an inquiry into Grewal after he “carefully considered” written submissions from the Brampton East MP and other documents his office had gathered.

Angus told a newspaper that he still wants the Ethics Commissioner’s findings to be made public.