NEW BROWN HORSE: “Ironman” Gurmant Grewal Returns From Political Exile To Seek BC Liberal Leadership

SURREY – A new “Brown Horse” has emerged after former Liberal MP Herb Dhaliwal backed out on his plans to seek the BC Liberal leadership which is currently underway with six candidates.

Former Conservative MP Gurmant Grewal, aka the “Ironman of Federal Politics”, has returned from political exile to seek the leadership of the BC Liberal Party.

Grewal said that he will be joining the race to succeed Christy Clark this week, who was forced out as leader after falling one seat short of a majority government.

Grewal, an MP from 1997 until 2006, will fit right in with centre and right of centre BC Liberals, which has many federal Liberals and Conservatives.

“I believe there is a need for my services. I took some time. I studied. I learned when I was in politics, but also when I was not in politics,” Grewal  told the Globe and Mail newspaper.

Much has been made of Grewal controversial 2005 taping of turncoat Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh and regarding mishandling of campaign donations but Grewal was cleared by the B.C. Criminal Justice Branch, which ruled out charges in the matter.

But Grewal said many politicians make mistakes but it’s important to learn from them which he has done over the last decade sitting on the sidelines and writing a book.

“I have more to contribute rather than worrying about any controversy. Controversies do happen in politics. Sometimes they are good. I have not done anything wrong.”

But Grewal has paid a steep price for his attempt to be a whistle-blower on then Chretien government’s bid to lure him to their party as when he tried to run for the nomination of Conservative riding of Cloverdale-Langley City, the national candidate-selection committee for the Party disallowed his candidacy without giving any explanation.

It did the same thing to his son Liv Grewal, who won the Tory nomination in the new riding of Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon but forced to drop out by the party. That riding was eventually won by Liberals’ Jatinder Sidhu.

“When you work hard in politics, there are things that come up,” Grewal said. “As far as some allegations are concerned, when you are a whistle-blower and you have the courage to blow the whistle against corruption in the government, against the prime minister of the country, then naturally there is a political vendetta.”

Mr. Grewal said he is now intent on moving forward. Mr. Grewal was an MP as a member of the Reform, Canadian Alliance and Conservative parties. His career in federal politics included serving as deputy opposition House leader and a senior critic for foreign affairs.

Grewal, whose career in federal politics included serving as deputy opposition House leader and a senior critic for foreign affairs, told the Globe and Mail newspaper that, as opposition leader, former Prime Minister Stephen Harper referred to him as the “Ironman of our caucus” in a signed photo heralding Grewal’s hard work.

When Grewal’s wife, Nina, was elected, they became the first married couple to serve, at the same time, in the House of Commons.

Grewal decided to shift his focus to provincial politics because he says he wants to help build his own home province and that the BC Liberals have lost touch with the grassroots and fallen short in offering bold new policy.

“That’s why they lost the election,” Grewal said. “We need to go back to people’s hearts, listen to them carefully, understand what the issues are and move on with them.”

He told the Globe he is hoping to talk about trade, economic development by encouraging business activity in rural B.C., as well as cutting regulations and reducing taxes.

“I have to work hard. I have to deliver, to come up with a vision and new ideas. I am sure I am going to be a vibrant contributor to the debate and make a difference in the race, and win.”

Grewal said he plans to enter the race next week, and participate in the next party debate with the existing candidates which includes former provincial cabinet minister Mike de Jong, Andrew Wilkinson and Todd Stone, as well as MLAs Sam Sullivan and Michael Lee, and former Surrey mayor Dianne Watts.

The deadline for candidates to enter is Dec. 29. Party members are to choose a new leader in early February.

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