A Tory supporter who used to collect donations for the Liberal party is expressing indignation at suggestions that he has done something wrong.
Etobicoke, Ont., resident Harbhajan Singh previously raised funds for a Liberal MP in Scarborough–Agincourt but now works with Conservative Parm Gill, the incumbent MP for Brampton North.
This week, a man from Brampton, Ont., Jagdish Singh (no relation) accused him of processing donations to the Gill camp without his authorization.
In response, Harbhajan Singh said he has been collecting donations for the Tory MP for some some time and was only following instructions from Gill's wife.
"I was approached by Mr. Parm Gill to raise funds for his election campaign in May 2015," he wrote in a statement forwarded by his lawyer.
"I am unaware of the election rules. Ms. Amarpal Gill was in charge of the campaign finances," he said.
Amarpal Gill is Parm Gill's wife and the financial agent for the riding of Brampton North. She is also a paid party staffer in charge of outreach.
"She said that I could give her the credit card details by phone so that is what I did. I gave her the credit card details and she processed the donation without requesting written authorization. She said a verbal authorization was enough."
Amarpal Gill did not respond to a request for comment from The Huffington Post Canada. The Conservative party also did not respond. Elections Canada was unable to comment on how credit card transactions should be made or managed.
Jagdish Singh told HuffPost he was "shocked" to discover his money had gone to the Conservative party rather than the Liberal party.
He had donated to Liberal Scarborough–Agincourt MP Jim Karygiannis for the past several years through Harbhajan Singh, he said, and thought he was donating to the Liberals again when called this spring.
'This is actually, I can say, stolen'
Singh described being livid after finding a charge from the Brampton North Conservative riding association on his Visa bill. When he called Gill's campaign for answers, they pointed him to Harbhajan Singh.
"I called to him and he made a story that we are giving donations before to Mr. James and he resigned now, and that's why we shift," Jagdish Singh said, referring to Karygiannis' resignation in April 2014.
"I never given authorization to Conservative party or Mr. Parm Gill office to take a card. This is totally wrong. And I don't like it…. This is actually, I can say, stolen."
In his statement Friday, Harbhajan Singh insisted he had asked Jagdish Singh for a donation to the Tory campaign. After receiving oral approval, he said that he gave Jagdish Singh's information to Amarpal Gill the first week of June.
"I was only made aware of the personal animosity between Mr. Gill and Mr. [Jagdish] Singh after Mr. Singh demanded his money back," Harbhajan Singh said in the statement.
He wrote that he had met Jagdish Singh in 2012. Later in his statement, however, Harbhajan Singh said Jagdish Singh had spoken to him in 2010 about bringing a nanny to Canada to take care of his son.
"He requested Parm Gill to get access to see Minister Jason Kenny [sic]. Parm Gill did not do so. The last thing Mr. Jagdish Singh told me was that he wanted to harm Parm Gill and wanted him to lose the election."
Gill wasn't an MP in 2010; he was not elected until 2011.
A warning for others
Jagdish Singh, who left for a visit to India on Wednesday, was unreachable for comment, but his friend, Ashok Sharma, pointed out the incongruencies in Harbhajan Singh's statement.
"The story doesn't seem to match," Sharma said. "One place he says that on the 15 May Jagdish agreed to donate to Parm Gill campaign. At another place, he says, he wanted him to lose. Why would he give him donation if he wanted him to lose, you know? It is very contradictory."
Jagdish Singh told HuffPost earlier this week that he was coming forward with his story because he wanted his money back and wanted to warn other potential donors that their credit cards might be used to donate to the Conservative party without their knowledge.
"According to my knowledge, [Harbhajan Singh] has more than 200 people like me who pay him for Liberals, and now maybe he don't tell to anybody [that he switched parties]," he said.
Gill's riding association had few donors during his first years in office. Last year, however, he declared $180,975 from 267 contributors, making Brampton North one of the richest in the country. Contributions from 2015 won't be reported until 2016.
Earlier this week, the Conservative party said it was reviewing donations that Singh had facilitated. It said Jagdish Singh's donation had been refunded.
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