Canadian Commons committee asks Indian origin MP's nannies to testify

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Ottawa (Canada), May 8 (ANI): A Tory-led immigration panel has said that it would like to hear the version of Filipino immigrants who were allegedly mistreated by Indian-origin Liberal Party MP Ruby Dhalla.

The Two caregivers, who have found employment elsewhere, have charged Dhalla with mistreating them while in the employ of the family. They have now been asked to appear before a Commons committee next week and testify.

"The immigration committee is going to be studying the topic of migrant workers," the Globe and Mail quoted Conservative MP David Tilson, the committee's chairman, as telling reporters Thursday afternoon.

"We'll certainly be inviting those particular nannies to come and talk about their experiences," Tilson added.

Dhalla, who has been in seclusion since the allegations of her family's former caregivers were made public, will also be asked to testify, Tilson said.

He also said that 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, might be called.

The maids claim that Dhalla and her family had hired them under the federal Live-in Caregiver program for foreign workers to care for the MP's mother. They say they were paid 250 Canadian dollars a week for 16-hours of household chores - from shining shoes to shovelling snow - and cleaning the family's chiropractic clinics.

One, Magdalene Gordo, 31, compared the job with slavery; the other, Richelyn Tongson, 37, said Dhalla withheld her passport for weeks. A third unnamed woman came forward with similar allegations in a Toronto newspaper yesterday.

Few of Dhalla's Liberal colleagues have jumped to her defence as the allegations dominated chatter in the corridors of Parliament.

The scandal threatens to knock some of the wind out of the sails of a party.

Dhalla did not talk to reporters yesterday, but released a statement saying she would ask the Commons Ethics Commissioner to investigate the allegations against her.

"I take these allegations very seriously, and believe that a transparent, third-party evaluation of the facts is required to clear my name. I have requested the Ethics Commissioner to commence a review to ensure that this matter is resolved in a fair and objective manner," she said in a release.

The office of Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson acknowledged that Dhalla's request had been received, but it was unclear what, if any, jurisdiction she had to look into the matter. (ANI)

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