Scandal forces Canadian immigration minister to quit

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Canada's Immigration Minister Judy Sgro resigned January 13 after allegedly offering to help an asylum seeker stay in Canada, Reuters reports.

Ms. Sgro was forced to quit after Toronto pizza shop owner Harjit Singh said in a sworn statement to Canada's Federal Court that the minister had offered to help him stay in Canada if he delivered pizza and garlic bread to her campaign office and provided workers for her campaign. Mr. Singh, whose shop is near the minister's constituency said he did this, but that Ms. Sgro reneged on her commitments to him after the deal became publicly known.

Canadian media outlets have reported that Ms. Sgro plans to fight the allegations. Mr. Singh is facing deportation from Canada for allegedly using someone else's passport.

The minister's reputation had already been tarnished by a previous scandal over allegations that she improperly helped a Romanian stripper who also worked on her election campaign to obtain a temporary residence permit. She is the first minister to resign since Prime Minister Paul Martin's Liberal government took office in December 2003.

These events are unlikely to have an impact on the processing of applications for immigration to Canada.