Ruby Dhalla's bad day
Talk about timing.
Ontario MP Ruby Dhalla resigned today as the Liberal shadow critic for youth and multiculturalism in order to, as she said, "focus attention on clearing my name."
The Mississauga MP is accused of having mistreated two live-in caregivers, both foreign workers who were hired to take care of her mother.
The Toronto Star reported the allegations from the two women who say their passports were seized and that they worked long hours and weren't always paid overtime. As well, the two said they were assigned additional tasks not related to personal care, such as washing vehicles.
None of these allegations against Dhalla have been proven in any kind of court or official record. But all three appeared in an altogether different kind of report today in Parliament.
The House of Commons standing committee on citizenship and immigration tabled its long-awaited report on temporary foreign workers and non-status workers.
The all-party group of MPs wrote how they heard numerous stories of employers "flouting provincial employment and other standards."
Under the heading "Employer Monitoring and Compliance," the MPs listed 14 common ways some people abuse their employees.
The list includes retaining "workers' passports, health cards and other documents" and requiring "workers to perform duties that are substantially different than those for which they were recruited."
Among the committee's many recommendations, it suggested that the federal government establish teams to perform unannounced spot checks of the working and housing conditions of temporary foreign workers, as well as a 1-800 tip line for workers to report possible infractions.
Reporters hoping to ask Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff for his thoughts on Dhalla or this report were left hanging today.
Ignatieff was unavailable following the weekly caucus meeting as well as after question period.
So was Maurizio Bevilacqua, the Liberal's immigration critic and vice-chair of the citizenship and immigration committee.
In the end, foreign affairs critic Bob Rae fielded questions from the media. He said Dhalla feels the allegations against her are untrue and added that Dhalla has the right to defend herself and should not be prejudged.
— Alison Crawford
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