Canadian Indian origin MP cites political conspiracy behind nanny scandal

May 9th, 2009 - 1:10 pm ICT by ANI  

Ottawa/Toronto (Canada), May 9 (ANI): Canada’s Indian-origin Liberal MP Ruby Dhall on Friday described herself as a victim of a political conspiracy over allegations that she mistreated two Filipino caregivers.

“Who’s really behind them and who orchestrated or assisted or enabled these former employees of her brother to suddenly come forward one year after the last of them worked providing care for her mother?” the Globe and Mail quoter her lawyer, Howard Levitt, as saking.

Dhalla told reporters that her brother, Neil Dhalla, hired both the caregivers and that she understands the trials of immigrants, having been raised by an immigrant mother.

“Anyone who has ever entered our home has always been treated with love, with care, with compassion and respect,” Dhalla said at her constituency office in Brampton.

“As such, the allegations that have been brought forward against myself have come as a big shock and have been devastating to both myself and my family, friends and supporters,” she added.

She asked Canadians to “hold judgment and give my family the privacy as we go through this due process.”

Levitt said that receipts and other documents, which he held up at the conference, show not only that the allegations are false, but also that his client had nothing to do with the employment of the caregivers.

“I’m not going to permit Ruby Dhalla to deal with her brother’s issue or potentially her mother’s issue. … It’s not her issue. She was not the employer,” she said.

He called the claim that the caregivers cleaned the family’s chiropractic clinics “absolute nonsense,” and showed documents from contract cleaners who did the task daily.

“It’s easy to make allegations. … But again, the allegations are absolute nonsense,” he said.

The allegations first emerged on April 25 at a public meeting and then in a Toronto newspaper earlier this week. Two caregivers claimed they were forced to work in Dhalla’s family home, and were paid 250 dollars a week for 16-hour days of household chores.

Magdalene Gordo, 31, compared the job with slavery; Richelyn Tongson, 37, said Ms. Dhalla withheld her passport for weeks.

Dhalla stepped down from her post as the Liberal Party’s youth and multiculturalism critic this week, and a third worker came forward with similar allegations.

The executive director of Intercede, a Toronto-based agency that helps domestic workers, said she spoke with Dhalla about a year ago, after Tongson complained to them that her passport was being illegally withheld.

Agatha Mason said she called Dhalla and told her to return the caregiver’s passport or she would involve the police.

Mason said the conversation with Dhalla stood out in her mind because its tone was so unpleasant and because she was kept waiting on hold for some time.

Dhalla’s dramatic appearance comes a day after a Conservative MP announced that the two caregivers who allege they were mistreated will be called to testify before a Commons committee next week as other federal parties seize the chance to prolong Liberal woes.

Dhalla will also be asked to testify. And Ontario provincial Labour Minister Peter Fonseca and Education Minister Kathleen Wynne, who failed to act on the allegations they first heard at a meeting in Toronto on April 25, may be called. (ANI)

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