A ruthless slave driver or victim of a smear campaign?
A parliamentary committee heard radically different characterizations yesterday of Liberal MP Ruby Dhalla amid allegations she mistreated two caregivers hired to look after her mother and flaunted labour laws.
The sobbing women cast Dhalla as a hard-hearted taskmaster who forced them to turn over their passports and made them work long hours at menial chores.
But Dhalla promptly fired back, depicting herself as the victim of a smear campaign and insinuating the women may have been coached by Conservatives in exchange for guarantees of permanent residency.
The women both said it was Dhalla — not her brother, as she has claimed — who interviewed them, hired them and supervised much of their work beginning in February 2008.
The emotional testimony flew in the face of Dhalla’s statements that she had nothing to do with the women’s employment and was rarely at the Mississauga house when they worked.
Armed with a stack of documents, the Liberal MP vehemently denied the more sensational charges and cited several discrepancies in the women’s testimony.