Nannygate: Indian Canadian MP wants to appear before House panel

May 12th, 2009 - 10:45 am ICT by IANS  

Toronto, May 12 (IANS) Indian-origin Canadian MP Ruby Dhalla, who is battling charges of exploitation by her three nannies, Monday sought permission from a parliamentary panel to appear before it even as her lawyer said “she is just the victim”.
The three Filipino nannies have publicly alleged that the family of the 35-year-old Sikh MP from the Indian-dominant Brampton-Springdale constituency here underpaid them and took away their passports.

The nannies have also alleged that Dhalla’s mother made them do non-nanny jobs like washing cars and cleaning shoes.

Since the nannies were reportedly employed illegally by the Dhalla household, the Canadian House of Commons Immigration Committee has asked two of them to appear before it in Ottawa Tuesday.

Now Dhalla has also sought permission to appear before the committee when the two nannies give their side of the story Tuesday.

But in an interesting twist, Dhalla’s lawyer, Howard Levitt, said that the Sikh woman MP wants to appear before the panel not to counter the nannies but explain that she has nothing to do with their allegations.

“She (Dhalla) is not the employer, she is not the sponsor (of the caregivers), she is not the person to whom care was given,” Levitt said.

On the contrary, the lawyer argued that “she is just the victim”.

In her first reaction to the allegations Friday, Dhalla had asked Canadians to give her time to clear her name even as her lawyer alleged a political conspiracy to destroy her career.

A Miss India-Canada runner-up in 1993, Dhalla has carefully cultivated political and media connections.

She is very close to Michael Ignatieff, the current leader of the opposition Liberal Party, and has been touted to become the first South Asian woman cabinet minister in Canada.

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