“Out to screw us”: Butts blames Indian PM for Trudeau’s disastrous trip
An excerpt from John Ivison’s new book “Trudeau: The Education of a Prime Minister” includes comments by Gerald Butts effectively blaming Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for Trudeau’s disastrous trip to the country.
Butts, who has returned to the Liberal fold as the prime minister’s right-hand man after resigning amid the SNC-Lavalin scandal, is quoted by Ivison as saying Modi was “out to screw” the Canadian delegation.
“We walked into a buzzsaw — (Narendra) Modi and his government were out to screw us and were throwing tacks under our tires to help Canadian conservatives, who did a good job of embarrassing us,” said Butts.
The trip, which was a public relations nightmare for the government directly impacted Liberal poll numbers and sent them in a head-on competition with the Conservatives.
Butts’ comments are reminiscent of an early briefing on the trip organized by the Prime Minister’s Office in which a government official suggested that the invitation of a convicted Khalistani attempted murderer was orchestrated by rogue elements within the Indian government.
Those claims were called a “conspiracy theory” by the opposition and were eventually debunked by an investigation into the invitation.
“Will the prime minister tell the house whether or not anyone in his office arranged organized or participated in the media briefing that provided to reporters that included the allegation that the government of India was somehow involved in his embarrassing blunder,” asked Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer.
Despite the fact that Liberal MP Randeep Sarai claimed responsibility for putting Atwal on the invitation list, Trudeau corroborated the allegation that the Indian government had a hand in the affair by suggesting that it was “true”.
“Our professional non-partisan service does high-quality work, and when one of our top diplomats and security officials says something to Canadians it’s because they know it to be true,” Trudeau said about the allegations.
The false claims even furthered the divide between the Trudeau and his counterpart Modi who snubbed him over the affair. The Indian government came out and said the accusations that they had a hand in the invitation were “baseless and unacceptable”.
An eventual investigation found that holes in the vetting procedure for the events had let Atwal slip through the cracks.
In fact, it seems that every element which led to negative publicity for the prime minister was at the hand of the Liberals themselves and not the Indian government.
The excess of the photographs of Trudeau in India garb and the decision to fly out celebrity chef Vikram Vij, which led to much public condemnation, were all part of the over $1.5 million in taxpayer dollars the Liberals dedicated to the tour.