Winner says he deserves medal despite charges
VANCOUVER - A British Columbia man who received a Queen's Diamond Jubilee medal from the federal NDP while facing firearms charges says he deserves the recognition for raising $10 million for charity through his family's radio station.
Maninder Gill says New Democrat MP Jinny Sims awarded him the medal at a banquet hall in Surrey two days ago when about 30 others were also recognized for their community service.
He says the charges he faces stem from a 2010 incident when he was attacked by what he called "Khalistani goons" for his stance against Sikh extremism stirred up by people vying for a separate Sikh state carved out of India's northern province of Punjab.
Gill says he was exiting a temple with his wife, niece and daughter when the incident occurred and that he acted in self-defence.
He says former premier Gordon Campbell also recognized him in 2009 for his efforts to raise money for local hospitals and the victims of earthquakes in Pakistan and Haiti.
Sims says in a statement that she was not aware of Gill's pending trial when she awarded him the medal and that she now recognizes the seriousness of the charges and apologizes to those who were offended.