No plot against Sikh woman MP: Canadian minister

May 11th, 2009 - 9:20 am ICT by IANS  

By Gurmukh Singh
Toronto, May 11 (IANS) Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney denied Sunday any political plot against Sikh woman MP Ruby Dhalla who has been accused of mistreatment by her three former nannies.

Thirty-five-year-old former beauty queen, Dhalla has been the MP for the opposition Liberal Party from the Punjabi-dominated constituency of Brampton-Springdale on the outskirts of Toronto since 2004. The three Filipino nannies have created a big political crisis for Canada’s first Sikh woman MP by publicly alleging that they were mistreated, overworked and underpaid while they were worked at Dhalla’s home.

They have also alleged that their passports were taken away and they were forced to do non-nanny jobs like cleaning shoes and washing cars. The three women were also illegally employed by Dhalla.

Without naming the ruling Conservative Party, Dhalla’s lawyer said Friday that there was a political conspiracy to destroy her career. However, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney scoffed at the conspiracy theory Sunday.

Kenney told a Canadian TV network: “I don’t know what conspiracy this would be. Between the Conservative party (his party), the NDP (the second opposition party), three Filipino nannies and the Toronto Star (which broke the story)?”

He said: “I think it undermines credibility when people start talking about conspiracies.” Denying that the government was trying to put the Sikh woman MP in the dock, Kenney said: “One never likes to see a colleague from any party facing a difficult personal situation.

“Frankly, I like Ms Dhalla and have gotten along quite well with her. And I think she does deserve the benefit of the doubt.” Dhalla is likely to appear before a parliamentary panel for allegedly hiring the nannies illegally.

(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at gurmukh.s@ians.in)

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