Nine months after Trudeau visited India on a trip that was all show, all about securing Indian-Canadian, specifically Sikh-Canadian votes, there are two reports reminding us what a disaster the whole thing was.
One was released Monday by the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, a multi-party committee made up of MPs and Senators.
The report looked into the national security aspects of Trudeau’s trip including how a convicted terrorist was invited to multiple events.
The second is a newspaper report out of India detailing that Canada-India relations are at a standstill since the report.
Maybe because Trudeau dressed like a fool, “too Indian for an Indian” is how one Indian commentator put it.
The invitation of Jaspal Atwal was a big mistake
Trudeau already had frosty relations with India going into the visit and his performance didn’t help.
Concerns raised by the Indian government about Sikh extremism in Canada were brushed aside, evidenced by convicted terrorist Jaspal Atwal being invited to events in Mumbai and Delhi.
Atwal was convicted of attempted murder for a 1986 hit on a visiting Indian politician. The act was carried out in Canada in support of an independent Sikh homeland in India.
So how did he get invited to the events? As I wrote in the Toronto Sun, he asked.
Atwal put his name forward to Liberal MP Randeep Sarai. Sarai forwarded Atwal’s name to the prime minister’s office. The PMO told the High Commissioner in India to send out the invites, including to Atwal.
An RCMP officer noticed Atwal’s name a week before he arrived at any events but nothing came of that. The Mountie in British Columbia that noticed the name sent it to the local CSIS contact, who was on vacation and did nothing with it.
RCMP HQ in Ottawa was also told and did nothing.
The Liberals tried to bury their lack of foresight
When news broke of Atwal being at the event in Mumbai, Canadian and Indian journalists began asking questions and that is when Trudeau’s office really screwed up.
The PMO arranged a series of briefings and calls between Canadian journalists and Trudeau’s then National Security Advisor Daniel Jean.
Jean claimed that “rogue” elements of the Indian government set up Trudeau for embarrassment with Atwal’s appearance.
Except they had nothing to do with it.
The report looked at the accusations of foreign interference by the Indian government and found six findings of fact. All of them were redacted, leading opposition MPs to claim political cover-up by the Trudeau Liberals.
“The security report on Justin Trudeau’s disastrous trip to India was “released” today. Unfortunately the Trudeau Liberals got to it first and redacted most of the information. So much for transparency,” Andrew Scheer
The security report on Justin Trudeau’s disastrous trip to India was “released” today. Unfortunately the Trudeau Liberals got to it first and redacted most of the information. So much for transparency. pic.twitter.com/NzqK4VaasK
— Andrew Scheer (@AndrewScheer) December 3, 2018
In the House of Commons, the accusation was made.
“Is the PMO confusing Liberal security with national security?” New Democrat MP Guy Caron asked.
Trudeau maintains he simply accepted the advice of bureaucrats.
Canada-India relations at a virtual standstill
Well it was a bureaucrat that he used to sour the Canada-India relationship by implying the most populous democracy in the world wanted to embarrass Trudeau during a visit.
A report in the Hindustan Times published on Tuesday shows that meetings between Canadian and Indian officials have virtually stopped since Trudeau left the country in February.
A senior Indian official described the state of affairs as “standstill”, while another predicted the situation might not change for yet another year since Lok Sabha elections are due in India next year and just months later,
federal elections will be held in Canada in October 2019. An Indian official added on condition of anonymity: “It will be up to the new government to bring the relationship back on track.”
That is pretty damning stuff.
The paper goes on to note a number of high level meetings with ministers from both countries have been cancelled or delayed time and again.
The relationship is chilly.
That’s a far cry from 2015 when India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Canada, signed a trade agreement with the former Harper government and spoke glowingly of Canada.
Now cooperation between the two countries is grinding to a halt, India has increased tariffs on Canadian agricultural goods and the prospect of improving cooperation looks dim.
Justin Trudeau likes to say that “Canada is back” on the world stage. When it comes to India, the opposite is true.