What a delight to see the versatile Gurmant Grewal (Franks passim, ad nauseam) lending his star power to Maxime Bernier‘s island of misfit tools, the Pipples Party of Canada.
The erstwhile Reform/Canadian Alliance/Conservative MP, last seen pretending to run for the leadership of the BC Liberals in 2017, was only too happy to embrace this latest vehicle for his ambitions, given the sorry state of his beloved Conservative Party.
“They became arrogant, the leadership became arrogant,” he told the Canadian Press.
Among the clearest signs of this rot, obviously, was the party’s rejection of Double-G’s candidacy in Cloverdale-Langley City for the 2015 running of the reptiles.
“They didn’t give me any reason,” Grewal whinged at the time to local fishwrap Surrey Now. “If they didn’t want me to run they should have told me two years ago. I have suffered so much for this party.”
And vice versa. Gurmant hilariously claimed President Steve himself had encouraged him to run again before party poobahs cut him off at the eleventh hour. If true, this would have been an unprecedented display of forgiveness and/or early-onset dementia on Harper’s part.
It had been Harper, after all, who announced Grewal’s sudden retirement in ’05, explaining that the principled team player had decided to fall on his shiv rather than let the Liberals go on about his anglings for Liberal patronage, tape-editing shenanigans, woofy fundraising, suspect immigration practices, etc, etc.
“Gurmant’s view was that the controversies that have surrounded him are likely to be raised in the campaign,” intoned Stevie. “I think he’s done what’s in the interests of the party.”
No doubt, since Harper himself had already dropped the hammer, informing Grewal he was toast and giving him the choice of exiting voluntarily or feet-first. Gurmant opted to pull the trigger himself.
As a true-blue loyal Tory, Gurmant ruled out the possibility of running as an independent, but his allegiances have always been negotiable.
His burning desire to serve the public first took him to the BC Liberals back in the 90s. Rebuffed, he took his act to the provincial Reformers, who gave Gurmant his first kick at the electoral can.
After pulling a grand total of 769 votes in the ’96 provincial election, he decided to repair his c.v. for the big leagues.
Resumé padding? Far from it. Instead of adding lines to his employment history, Grewal deleted a number of impressive achievements.
Notable among these, his years as an advisor to the late great Liberian dictator, General Samuel Doe, supremo of the, er, People’s Redemption Council. An autographed photo of the two pals still reputedly adorns Grewal’s rumpus room.
Fun-loving Sammy D, who seized power in 1980 with a few good friends and some machine guns, was the very model of a totalitarian leader in the go-go eighties. Propped up with hundreds of millions in U.S. foreign aid, he had a good ten-year run presiding over bloody executions, dabbling in black magic and waving to the peasants from his bulletproof Mercedes.
An aficionado of the beautiful game, Doe once threatened to throw the entire Liberian soccer team in prison if they lost their match with Gambia. Mercifully, they eked out a 0-0 draw.
Grewal surfaced in Liberia in 1982, just about the time Doe was rigging an election so he could declare himself president.
While modesty prevented Gurmant from mentioning this fascinating period of his life in his Reform party bio, the resumé he’d submitted to the B.C. Grits had gone into some detail.
While teaching at the prestigious University of Liberia, Grewal also wrote for the State-owned rag the New Liberian, and advised Doe on agriculture.
As supremo of the Liberia Trade Development Corporation, Grewal traded on his tight relationship with the dictator to score contracts with the government and diplomatic missions in Liberia.
The good times came to a screeching halt in 1990 when Doe was overthrown, tortured and executed. Grewal, then 34, soon appeared in B.C, and applied for Canadian citizenship, doubtless making full disclosure of his Liberian connections.
In Canada, Grewal sank his assets into a number of businesses including Surrey Carpet Centre (dec’d) and networked furiously. Billing himself as a lawyer in training, the tireless self-promoter told acquaintances he was “Honorary Vice Consul of Liberia in Canada,” er, awaiting accreditation.
These days, of course, Gurmant not only denies these remarkable achievements, but that he ever claimed them — much as the Conservatives now try to forget they ever heard of him. Their loss is assuredly Max’s gain.