National Post (National Edition)
FIVE THINGS ABOUT THE OLDEST WOMAN IN EUROPE
Gambling addict in `remission,' awaits trial
1 FIRST AND SECOND OLDEST
Sister André holds title as the oldest living European and second-oldest person in the world, according to Gerontology Research Group's “World Supercentenarian Rankings List.” Sister André was born Lucile Randon on Feb. 11, 1904,
in Alès, in southern France.
2 HER LIFE
She grew up in a nonreligious Protestant family and worked at a young age as a governess
in Marseille and a tutor in Paris, according to Le Parisien. She converted to Catholicism at 19, and at 25, she began working at a hospital. For 28 years she took care of elderly people and orphaned children. In 1944, she became a nun at
the age of 40. In 2009, she moved to a retirement home. When Sister André turned 115, Pope Francis sent her a personal letter and a blessed rosary, according to FAMVIN, a
religious news service.
3 SHE JUST SURVIVED COVID
In the weeks leading up to her 117th birthday, Sister André spent her days isolated in her room at the Sainte Catherine Labouré retirement home in Toulon. The nun was one of dozens at the home who tested positive for coronavirus. But on Tuesday, Sister André was declared recovered from the virus, a spokesman from her retirement home told Reuters. “We consider her to be cured.
She is very calm and she is looking forward to celebrating her 117th birthday on Thursday,” spokesman David Tavella
4 SHE WASN'T AFRAID
After her diagnosis with COVID-19 in mid-January, Sister André was asymptomatic. Blind and in a wheelchair, the retired nun who lived through
the 1918 flu pandemic and both world wars told France's BFM TV that she wasn't scared when she tested positive because she is not afraid to die. “She showed no fear of the illness, in fact she was more
worried about the other residents.” Tavella told Var-Matin newspaper.
5 TIME IN ISOLATION
While in isolation, Sister André spent most of her time praying, she told Le Parisien, and longing for the days when she could have meals with friends and go on walks in the garden. Tavella
told the newspaper that the nun is very sociable and enjoys listening to music. As for her 117th birthday on Thursday, Tavella told Reuters that Sister
André is “very calm” and “looking forward to celebrating.”“She's been very lucky,”
Former Liberal MP Raj Grewal is allowed to keep practising law while he awaits his criminal trial on allegations he defrauded more than $1 million to feed his frantic gambling addiction while in office.
The Law Society of Ontario postponed a disciplinary hearing against Grewal, agreeing to restrictions and monitoring of his activities as a lawyer until after his criminal charges of fraud and breach of trust are dealt with by the court.
Both the criminal charges and the professional disciplinary proceedings relate to Grewal's activities while he was the member of parliament for Ontario's Brampton East riding as well as a practising lawyer.
Nader Hasan, a lawyer representing Grewal, asked for the postponement at a conduct hearing by the Law Society Tribunal Wednesday. He told the tribunal his client was struggling with a gambling addiction when he was receiving large loans.
“The root of what gave rise to this constellation of facts was a gambling problem. Mr. Grewal, since 2018, has been confronting this issue head on and sought medical treatment for the gambling issue,” Hasan said.
“There has been an unbroken chain, since virtually the first quarter of 2019 through to now, that Mr. Grewal is doing very well and that to the extent there was a gambling issue that issue is in remission.”
He hasn't gambled at all since 2018, the tribunal was told.
Grewal was criminally charged by the RCMP in September 2020, with four counts of breach of trust and one count of fraud over $5,000.
Three breach of trust charges relate to the same loans under scrutiny by the Law Society of Ontario, as well as other loans that Grewal took from family and friends and subsequently repaid, the tribunal was told. The fourth breach of trust charge and the fraud charge relate to alleged financial dealings in Grewal's constituency office.
Hasan said the law society did not have to worry about a public backlash if it delayed addressing Grewal's responsibilities as a lawyer.
“None of the alleged victims here complained about Mr. Grewal. They were all made whole and none of them complained either to the police or to the law society,” Hasan said.
The law society ordered a disciplinary hearing into Grewal, alleging professional misconduct and conduct unbecoming of a lawyer.
The society alleges he used false pretences to obtain or borrow money from six people and a company from June 2016 to December 2017 in amounts ranging from $50,000 to $250,000 each.
Hasan said those weren't the only people Grewal was borrowing money from while frantically gambling.
“There were many, many lenders. Far more than seven,” he said. He disputed that any of them were related to Grewal's practice as a lawyer, however. While the law society has alleged one of the loans was from a corporation that was a client of Grewal's, Hasan said the loan was really from a friend who owned the company.
Grewal was not at the tribunal hearing, which was held online due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Tanus Rutherford, counsel for the law society, agreed to the adjournment.
While waiting for the disciplinary hearing, Grewal retains his law licence and ability to work as a lawyer — but with a status of “practice restricted.” He agreed to extensive financial restrictions, reporting and monitoring by the law society.
He entered into self-exclusion programs with gambling authorities in Ontario and Quebec, promised to not borrow money directly or indirectly from any client except in accordance with law society regulations, and to abstain from gambling, both in person and online.
Hasan said Grewal's criminal case is scheduled for eight weeks of hearings in October and November in Ottawa. He suggested the law society hearing could likely proceed before the end of the year.
Grewal started work as a lawyer in 2014. He became a rookie Liberal MP for the Ontario riding of Brampton East in 2015 and continued working as a lawyer parttime.
He quit the Liberal caucus on Nov. 22, 2018, citing “personal and medical reasons.” He later admitted he was seeking treatment for a gambling addiction after racking up millions of dollars in debts playing high-stakes blackjack.
He remained in the House of Commons as an independent MP but did not seek re-election in 2019.
Since leaving politics he returned to his law practice full-time.
Tribunal chair Frederika Rotter orally granted the postponement at the hearing. Written reasons for the decision will be issued later.
THERE WERE MANY, MANY LENDERS. FAR MORE THAN