Queen's medal given to B.C. man facing charges
Maninder Gill given Diamond Jubilee medal while charged in shooting of man
A B.C. man who received a Queen's Diamond Jubilee medal from the federal NDP while facing firearms charges says he deserves the recognition for raising $10 million for charity through his family's radio station.
Maninder Gill says New Democrat MP Jinny Sims awarded him the medal at a banquet hall in Surrey two days ago when about 30 others were also recognized for their community service.
"I don't have any criminal record and you know, I've done lots of good work for [the] South Asian community and mainstream community," Gill told CBC News.
Gill said the charges he faces stem from a 2010 incident when he was attacked by what he called "Khalistani goons." He said his stance against Sikh extremism stirred up some who desire a separate Sikh state carved out of India's northern province of Punjab.
Gill said he was exiting a temple with his wife, niece and daughter when the incident occurred and that he shot a man in self-defence.
"They came and attacked on me — and I don't want to say much because the case is in the courts — and I will be proved in the court I am innocent," he said.
He said former premier Gordon Campbell also recognized him in 2009 for his efforts to raise money for local hospitals and the victims of earthquakes in Pakistan and Haiti.
Sims said in a statement that she was not aware of Gill's pending trial when she awarded him the medal and that she now recognizes the seriousness of the charges and apologizes to those who were offended.
She also said that, in any case, he must be presumed innocent and she would not comment any further until the matter is dealt with in the courts.
With files from the CBC's Chad Pawson