Accuser admits he lied, former Canadian immigration minister cleared of wrongdoing

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May 11, 2005

Judy Sgro

The Canadian parliament's Ethics Commission said former immigration minister, Judy Sgro, did nothing wrong and her staff had put her into a conflict of interest. Harjit Singh, the pizza shop owner who signed an affidavit accusing her of offering help for him to stay in Canada in exchange for pizza deliveries and help on her election campaign, admitted he lied. The controversies forced Ms. Sgro to resign from her post in January.

Ms. Sgro read a letter from Mr. Singh in the House of Commons Tuesday. "Reputations should not be tarnished by unsubstantiated allegations and innuendo solely for partisan politics,” she added.

After a 17-year fight to stay in Canada, Mr. Singh was deported to India in February. In his letter he said: "I now admit that I did not have a meeting with Judy Sgro. Further, at no time, did Judy Sgro request any campaign assistance from me nor did she help me with my immigration problems. I am providing this apology and retraction voluntarily and of my own free will."

In a press conference, Ms. Sgro also discussed the confidential letter she'd received from ethics commissioner Bernard Shapiro. In his letter informing her of the commission's decision Mr. Shapiro wrote "It appears that you have acted appropriately but that your staff did not.” The report on the incident from the commission is not actually finished, according to the commissioner, but he said Ms. Sgro was free to release the letter.