Gambling Problem Prompts MP’s Resignation in Canada
The recent resignation of Raj Grewal was attributed to personal and medical reasons. In reality, the Liberal MP resigned because of his serious gambling problems that were influencing his ability to function in the legislature. Experts are divided on whether or not his gambling problems will shine a light on the issues of problem gambling in Canada, or whether his problems will be covered up.
Grewal’s Political Rise
Raj Grewal is the son of a cab driver, Grewal attended Wilfred Laurier University on a scholarship. He also obtained a Master’s of Business Administration and a Law Degree. He specialized in corporate finance, business mergers, and acquisitions. Grewal decided to run for an MP position in Brampton East. Brampton East is the only district in Canada with a majority Asian population. Many members of the population in Brampton East are descended from Indian immigrants. Over 1/3 of the population is Sikh. Over 1/5 of the population is Hindu. The district has the youngest median age of any political district in Canada.
Grewal won his nomination to Parliament with over 52% of the vote.
Questions about Improprieties
Questions began to arise over Grewal’s business dealings with financial businesses early in his tenure as MP. He sent eyebrows rising over his many lines of credit with the Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto Dominion Bank, HSBC Canada, and the Bank of Nova Scotia. Many political watchers wondered why Grewal needed so many lines of credit. In addition, several of his business dealings were called into question, such as his employment income from ZGemi and Gahir and Associates while he was a Member of Parliament.
The Gambling Scandal
During his tenure in Parliament, Grewal was a member of the finance committee in the House of Commons. Ethics complaints began to filter in regarding Grewal’s business dealings with businesses in Asia as well as in Canada. The inquiries began after two MPs told the Ethics Commissioner they had concerns Grewal had a conflict of interest. Grewal invited a construction executive who was paying him consulting fees for legal services on a trip to India with the prime minister early in 2018. The ethics complaints triggered an investigation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, as well as the Peel Regional Police. The Office of the Ethics Commissioner has also begun an investigation.
The ethics investigation began to reveal that Grewal had racked up serious gambling debt at several casinos. According to Grewal’s own admission, he began to gamble at the Casino du Lac Leamy in Quebec in the early months of 2016. He stated that he believed he began gambling as a way to relieve the pressure of business and his MP duties. Grewal estimated that he lost millions of dollars playing high-limit blackjack. He stated that there were nights he won a lot of money, and there were nights he lost a lot of money, in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. When Grewal used up all of his credit, he began to borrow money from his family and friends to continue gambling.
In his resignation message, Grewal stated that he had paid off all of his personal loans from his family and friends. However, he has not stated whether he has repaid his substantial loans from banks. 544
Canadian gambling officials have stated that Grewal’s problem should be a reminder to Canadians to
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