Call for probe against Indian Canadian MP over nanny abuse (Lead)

May 6th, 2009 - 4:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, May 6 (IANS) Indian-origin Canadian MP Ruby Dhalla, rated the world’s “third hottest” politician, is battling calls for a probe against her for having allegedly illtreated two nannies at her family home — just two months after she was embroiled in a controversy over her reported steamy scenes in a Bollywood movie.
Magdalene Gordo, 31, and Richelyn Tongson, 37, who were hired to take care of Dhalla’s mother, have publicly alleged that they were mistreated by the MP and her family.

The nannies claim that they were forced to work up to 16 hours a day, their passports were taken away and they were made to do non-nanny jobs like washing cars, shining shoes and cleaning the family-owned chiropractic clinic.

A former Miss India-Canada runner-up, 35-year-old Dhalla is a trained chiropractic practitioner.

Migrante, an alliance of organisations of caregivers in Canada, Tuesday demanded an investigation against Dhalla for her alleged illtreatment of the two nannies.

It said that the report of abuse “belies Dr. Dhalla’s claims to champion causes important to families and to raise awareness among women of ethnic communities”.

Dhalla’s actions violated “labour standards as well as the Immigration Act”, the caregivers’ body added.

Calling upon the attorney general of Ontario province to initiate action against Dhalla for her illtreatment of the nannies, Migrante said: “These actions of an elected representative who allegedly abused her position of power and status must be put into question.”

However, the three-time MP from the Indian-dominated constituency of Brampton-Springdale on the outskirts of Toronto has denied the allegations.

In a statement to the local media, Dhalla said she has “no knowledge of the details regarding the live-in caregivers for her family”.

The MP claimed she had “no involvement in the selection, interviewing, hiring, supervising, sponsoring or any financial transactions whatsoever with a live-in caregiver for my family”.

The nannies had made the complaint against Dhalla at a public meeting here two weeks ago. The meeting was called by two Ontario provincial ministers after allegations that their employers and placement agencies had colluded to keep them enslaved.

“The two nannies have also told us that they were mistreated at Ruby Dhalla’s home. It is very disturbing that an MP has mistreated her caregivers. We want the government order a thorough investigation…if Dhalla is found guilty she must be punished,” Migrante co-ordinator Marco Luciano told IANS.

“It is in Dhalla’s own interest to come clean on this matter. We are willing to sit with her and discuss the matter,” he said.

Of the more than 10,000 nannies admitted into Canada each year, more than 90 percent come from the Philippines.

In March, Dhalla had tried to stop distribution of DVDs of a locally produced Bollywood film “Kyon Kis Liye” in which she is shown in some steamy scenes with the film’s producer and co-star Charanjit Sihra.

Dhalla denied that she had ever done those scenes and alleged that her face was superimposed on them.

Considered a rising political star by the Canadian media, Dhalla has been rated as the

world’s “third hottest” woman politician by Maxim magazine.

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