Friday, May 15, 2009

Ruby Dhalla’s nanny-gate: the plot thickens

The nanny-gate scandal took a couple of interesting turns yesterday when an advocate for caregivers contradicted a part of Ruby Dhalla’s recent testimony before a parliamentary committee, and a lawyer claimed one of the nannies made similar allegations of mistreatment against his client. We were also treated to photographs of the swanky apartment the Dhalla family offered as servant quarters.

Agatha Mason, the executive director of Intercede, a non-profit group that helps immigrant women in Toronto, gave testimony to a parliamentary committee that directly contradicts Ruby Dhalla’s contention that she had only passing contact with the nannies and was not directly involved with them.

Then at a news conference yesterday, lawyer Shawn Philbert, who represents a Toronto-area man who originally sponsored one of the caregivers, said that Magdalene Gordo (former Dhalla family live-in caregiver) made similar allegations of mistreatment against his client to the nanny agency that brought her to Canada. His claim, however, remains unsubstantiated since he offered no evidence of the complaint to the agency or documents of employment, saying the short notice of the news conference did not give him time to gather the papers.

Hmm, if I were Mr. Philbert’s client I’d be looking for a lawyer who had his act together better that this. I wonder why Mr. Philbert has not offered documented evidence that the alleged claim of mistreatment by Ms. Gordo is false. If her complaint is in fact true, what’s his point? How is his unsubstantiated allegation helpful? The only interest it serves is to try to discredit one of the caregivers—or perhaps, unintentionally, to highlight how widespread mistreatment of live-in caregivers has become.

Shame on him and on Ruby Dhalla and her lawyer for apparently condoning his act.

Curious that we have three caregivers and an advocate for immigrant women making certain claims that, if you believe Ruby Dhalla and her lawyer, are false. Why would they lie? What motivation do they have to smear Ms. Dhalla and her family? I certainly do not buy the theory that it is a political conspiracy—in fact, I find such a notion laughable.

Finally, Howard Levitt, a lawyer who represents Ms. Dhalla, released photographs showing the living quarters used by a nanny employed by the Dhalla family. Since there have been no allegations regarding the suitability of nanny accommodations at the Dhalla residence, why the photos? The photos of the servant’s quarters are irrelevant and are a rather pathetic attempt to sway the public’s perception of the environment within the Dhalla’s household.

Each day, the situation worsens for Ms. Dhalla, and her lawyer seems totally out of his depth.

© 2009 Russell G. Campbell


  1. We should thank Ruby for opening our eyes to the refugee scam-artists that all repeat the same pack of lies about abuse and ill treatment.

    We can have a new "Ruby's-Law" for refugees where the U.N. must document the abuse as proof since Ruby feeels that all non-Citizens are liars and will do anything to stay in canada.

    Thank you Ruby.

  2. This is such a murky mess. I wish the media would move on and cover issues that are ongoing rather than dwelling in the past. The ethics enquiry of former PM Mulroney is basically a standoff with two protagonists who stretch credibility. This Ruby Dhalla drama is basically a soap opera. If there was abuse - fix the situation and provide more resources to foreign workers or conversely prove the nannies have been manipulated by others. Neither politican will be vindicated. Even my aunt who is non-political is fascinated by the Mulroney story. I tell her its history from 20 years ago, but she loves the action!

  3. Anon, I don't get your reference to "refugees." Where do refugees fit in the Dhalla-nanny scandal? I don't think any of the nannies in question came to Canada as refugees.