Controversial Tory MLA Peter Sandhu a surprise guest on Alison Redford’s Punjab tour

Published: January 13, 2014

DEAN BENNETT
THE CANADIAN PRESS

EDMONTON — A controversial Edmonton member of the legislature has made a surprise guest appearance at Alberta Premier Alison Redford’s business trip in India.

Peter Sandhu

Alison Redford in Punjab (l) and Peter Sandhu (r). Handouts/Postmedia

Peter Sandhu was on hand Monday in the Punjab as Redford signed a deal to increase trade relations with the state government.

Redford’s spokesperson, Neala Barton, said Sandhu is not part of Redford’s group on the trip, which is costing taxpayers $120,200.

Barton said he flew over to India on his own and will not be reimbursed for any expenses.

“He basically said, ‘I’m going to be there anyway. Is it OK if I join you for this part of the mission?”‘ said Barton, who said his offer was accepted.

Sandhu’s spokesman, Felicia Dewar, said Sandhu flew to India on Jan. 5. He has family in the region and other commitments, but asked to help out at the signing, she said.

Sandhu spent much of 2013 outside Redford’s PC caucus while Ethics Commissioner Neil Wilkinson investigated him for breaching ethics rules.

In a report released last Oct. 17, Wilkinson determined Sandhu, who represents the riding of Edmonton-Manning, broke the rules when he failed to notify the legislature about six outstanding liens against him and his home building company. Wilkinson ruled that Sandhu should not be punished because he had been acting on the advice of his lawyer, who said the lawsuits were so close to being completed they didn’t need to be reported.

Sandhu was also investigated by Wilkinson for lobbying cabinet ministers and bureaucrats for changes to what Sandhu termed “vexatious” liens against his building company and against other builders.

Wilkinson noted that even government officials felt Sandhu was crossing the line from public advocacy to lobbying for personal benefit. However, Wilkinson noted that because Sandhu was lobbying for changes that would benefit others as well as himself, it did not constitute an ethics breach.

Redford’s caucus reinstated Sandhu on Dec. 10.

Barton said no snub was intended by not inviting Sandhu on the India trip.

She said the delegation had to work to keep costs down, which meant the line had to be drawn somewhere.

“You can’t take everybody every time you go.”

Redford is being accompanied on the trip by Human Services Minister Manmeet Bhullar and Naresh Bhardwaj, the associate minister responsible for persons with disabilities.

Redford has been in India since last Friday and already signed a similar trade pact with the Indian state of Meghalaya. Monday’s deal with the Punjab government involves agriculture and animal genetics and will establish a working group to expand trade ties on other projects.

Critics say the India trip is too lavish and borders on junketeering. They have criticized pictures posted by the premier’s office of Redford as a tourist snapping pictures at the Taj Mahal.

Redford will tour India for the rest of the week before heading to Switzerland for the World Economic Forum.

The province estimates more than $102 million worth of products and services are exported to India from Alberta each year.

16:32ET 13-01-14

[+]

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,



Readers Comments (0)

Comments are closed.

Featured

preserving-food-culture-india

Pink Chai Living: Preserving the food culture of India with traditional cooking

RAJ THANDHI VANCOUVER DESI This week I’m bringing back ‘ghar ka khana’ (homemade food). Let’s make cooking traditional foods cool again. For the last few…
Continue Reading »

peter

23-year-old Indian soccer player dies after goal celebration goes horribly wrong

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS NEW DELHI – The Mizoram Football Association says a 23-year-old Indian soccer player has died after injuring his spine while celebrating a…
Continue Reading »

nepal

Nepal end rescue operation on popular trekking route where 39 died in blizzards, avalanches

BINAJ GURUBACHARYA THE ASSOCIATED PRESS KATMANDU, Nepal – Nepal wrapped up rescue operations in its northern mountains Monday, saying all the hikers believed to have…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Today in History – Oct. 20

Advance THE CANADIAN PRESS Today in History for Oct. 20: On this date: In 1632, Sir Christopher Wren, British astronomer and architect, was born. He…
Continue Reading »

Nepal closes popular trekking route where 38 died in snowstorms after new climbers set out

By Binaj Gurubacharya THE ASSOCIATED PRESS KATMANDU, Nepal – Nepalese officials closed a section of a popular Himalayan trekking route Sunday after rescuers, overwhelmed with…
Continue Reading »

Today in History – Oct. 19

Advance THE CANADIAN PRESS Today in History for Oct. 19: On this date: In 1216, King John of England died after consuming what was described…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

MINOR ATACKED

False confession leads police to arrest new suspect in sexual assault of 9-year-old Surrey girl

FRANK LUBA VANCOUVER DESI A man who confessed to the sexual assault of a nine-year-old girl in Surrey has been released and a 28-year-old man…
Continue Reading »

Dilwali Fest

Diwali Fest kicks off with IndiGlam fashion-fusion show (w/ video)

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI It was a classic mother-daughter argument that propelled Surrey’s Raji Khaira into a career of fashion design. Khaira, 25, grew up…
Continue Reading »

Vancouver Desi

Canada Place caught the eye of man who builds models in chalk (w/gallery)

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI When Jagdeep Singh Bihal moved to Vancouver from India two years ago and did some sightseeing around the city,  it was…
Continue Reading »

SURREY-VANCOUVER-MUMBAI

Diwali organizer inspired by memories of Mumbai revelry

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI Vancouver’s Rohit Chokhani can still recall his childhood in Mumbai when Indian streets would light up with fireworks and life would…
Continue Reading »

SURREY-PIRATE RADIO

Surrey’s unlicensed Radio India to cease broadcasting in 120 days

PETER O’NEIL POSTMEDIA NEWS GATINEAU, Que. — One of B.C.’s “Pirate Radio” broadcasters boasted earlier this month of his powerful political connections, a vast public…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Priyanka Chopra

Gallery: 20 Bollywood celebrities in their best and worst avatars

VANCOUVER DESI Every Bollywood star has come under fire for their style choices at  some point in their careers. Here we’ve taken a quick look…
Continue Reading »

reality TV

Himesh Reshammiya to record songs with reality show ‘India’s Raw Star’ contestants

IANS Mumbai – Composer Himesh Reshammiya, who made an appearance on the reality TV show “India’s Raw Star” as a guest mentor, was so moved…
Continue Reading »

BOLLYWOOD

Bollywood role came without any effort: Jennifer Winget

SUBHASH K. JHA IANS  Mumbai – Like many of her peers from television, Jennifer Winget is ready to move to the big screen. However, unlike…
Continue Reading »