Immigration Minister Judy Sgro resigned from her cabinet post on Friday, January 14. during a meeting with Prime Minister Paul Martin. She was replaced by Human Resources Minister Joe Volpe.
Ex-Minister Sgro resigned following allegations in a sworn affidavit deposited in Federal court by Toronto-area pizza shop owner named Harjit Singh. Mr. Singh alleged that he approached the Toronto MP last year to ask for help with his family’s immigration problems and had been promised assistance from her in exchange for support for her election campaign. Mr.Singh, who is facing deportation, alleged the ex-minister Sgro broke their deal when allegations of ethical misdoings in her office began to surface late last year.
Ex-Minister Sgro dismissed the allegation as outrageous fabrications. “I have come to the conclusion that I must step aside effective immediately from my position . . . due to persistent and false allegations,” she said in a written statement. Ex-minister Sgro denies ever talking to Singh.
Mr. Singh has failed four times to win approval to stay in Canada on compassionate grounds and has been ordered expelled more than once. Police in Brampton, Ontario charged Mr. Singh in 2000 with forgery and fraud, alleging he had travelled to India in 1995 on someone else’s passport and had been charged there while trying to illegally escort a child from the country. The Crown stayed the charges in June 2001 amid conflicting evidence along with several statements from family and friends who swore he had never left Canada. He is now due to be deported to India on Feb. 2.