NEWS RELEASE · 2nd March 2012
BC Conservative Party
February 28, 2012 - Vancouver - Media reports today reveal that Jaspal Singh Atwal was on the guest list to attend Budget Speech in the legislature chamber last week.
"Premier Clark must answer questions about how this convicted gunman came to be invited by her Office to the budget," said John Cummins, Leader of British Columbia's Conservatives. "The Premier's Office says they do not vet names on the list, but even a simple google search would have sufficed. The first two results on google for Mr. Atwal's name are a story about ICBC suing him for luxury car thefts, and the controversy when a former Liberal MP tried to get Mr. Atwal a visa to visit India, despite Mr. Atwal having been convicted of the attempted murder of an Indian government official."
Mr. Atwal was convicted of the 1986 attempted murder of Malkiat Singh Sidhu, and admitted to pulling the trigger. Mr. Atwal was charged, but acquitted, of the beating of Former Premier Ujjal Dosanjh in 1985. In 2007 he was sued by ICBC for involvement in an auto-theft scam, and was ordered to pay ICBC by a BC Supreme Court judge.
"The Premier's office says that Mr. Atwal's name was provided by another guest, who was that guest? Why are they trying to blame it on the Speaker's Office when the name was provided by the Premier's own office? Why was the name not checked? Mr. Atwal has a high profile, having been involved in multiple well publicized criminal proceedings, many of them connected to politics. Claiming it was a last minute change is not an excuse for inviting a would-be murder to the legislature."
Then Tairiq Ghuman was fired
MORE QUESTIONS FOR PREMIER CLARK ABOUT JASPAL SINGH ATWAL
March 1, 2012 - Vancouver - The resignation of Tariq Ghuman as a director of the BC Liberal Party over the invitation of convicted attempted murderer Jaspal Singh Atwal to attend the budget as a guest of the Premier raises even more questions than it answers.
"Why was a Liberal party official issuing invitations on behalf of the Premier's Office? "asked John Cummins, Leader of British Columbia's Conservatives. "What other party officials were given a blank cheque to issue invitations on behalf of the government? The budget speech was a government event, but the guest list seems to be controlled by the Liberal party - this is proof of the highly-partisan nature of Premier Clark's government."
"What was the relationship between Mr. Ghuman and Mr. Atwal? Why did Mr. Ghuman think it was appropriate to invited someone with Mr. Atwal's criminal record? It has been revealed that Mr. Atwal joined the BC Liberal party during the 2011 Leadership race - whom did he support? Was he active in the campaigns of any of the leadership candidates? The Premier must clear the air and answer these questions."