OTTAWA—The federal ethics commissioner is formally investigating whether a Liberal MP from Brampton broke Parliament’s conflict of interest code by inviting a construction executive who pays him for legal services to events with Canadian officials during the prime minister’s trip to India earlier this year.
Commissioner Mario Dion said he decided to launch an inquiry into Raj Grewal after he “carefully considered” written submissions from the Brampton East MP and other documents gathered by his office, according to a letter sent Thursday to the NDP’s Charlie Angus.
Angus was one of two opposition MPs who flagged concerns about Grewal’s conduct to the commissioner in March, after the Star and other media reported that Grewal invited Zgemi Inc. chief executive Yusuf Yenilmez to events with Justin Trudeau and other high ranking government officials during the prime minister’s India trip in February.
According to his disclosure with the ethics commissioner, Grewal receives “employment income” from Zgemi, a construction firm based in Brampton. Outside his salary as an MP, he also receives income from Gahir and Associates, a law firm in Brampton.
Dion’s response to Angus, which was obtained Thursday by the Star, said he is launching an inquiry under a section of the conflict of interest code that mandates an investigation if the commissioner has “reasonable grounds” to believe a member of the House of Commons broke the rules.
In a statement Thursday, Grewal said his “business relationship” with Yenilmez was cleared by the ethics commissioner. “I understand that the commissioner would like more information and as I have done in the past, I will be co-operating fully with the commissioner’s office,” the statement said.
When first approached by the Star in March, Grewal said he did not facilitate Yenilmez’s access to the official events in India, but the Prime Minister’s Office later confirmed that Grewal had invited him.
In his original request for Dion to launch an investigation, Angus expressed concern that Grewal’s invitation to Yenilmez broke two sections of Parliament’s conflict of interest code that prohibit MPs from using their position to further their own private interests or to “improperly further another person’s interests.”
With files from Bruce Campion-Smith