India expelled one of Canada’s top diplomats Tuesday, ramping up a confrontation between the two countries over Canadian accusations that India may have been involved in the killing of a Sikh separatist leader in suburban Vancouver. India, which has dismissed the accusations as absurd, said the expulsion came amid “growing concern at the interference of Canadian diplomats in our internal matters and their involvement in anti-India activities," according to a statement from its Ministry of External Affairs. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appeared to try to calm the diplomatic clash Tuesday, telling reporters that Canada is “not looking to provoke or escalate." Canada expels Indian diplomat as it investigates Sikh activist's killing “We are simply laying out the facts as we understand them and we want to work with the government of India to lay everything clear and to ensure there are proper processes,” he said. "India and the government of India needs to take this matter with the utmost seriousness.” On Monday, Trudeau said there were “credible allegations” of Indian involvement in the slaying of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a 45-year-old Sikh leader who was killed by masked gunmen in June in Surrey, outside Vancouver. For years, India has said Nijjar, a Canadian citizen born in India, has links to terrorism, an allegation Nijjar denied. What to know about the Sikh movement at the center of the tensions between India and Canada A U.S. official said Trudeau was in contact with President Joe Biden's administration about Canada’s findings before raising them publicly. The official, who was not authorized to comment publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, said Trudeau’s willingness to speak out about the matter was taken by the White House as an indication of the Canadian leader's certainty about what had been found. Canada has yet to provide any evidence of Indian involvement, but if true it would mark a major shift for India, whose security and intelligence branches have long been significant players in South Asia, and are suspected in a number of killings in Pakistan. But arranging the killing of a Canadian citizen in Canada, home to nearly 2 million people of Indian descent, would be unprecedented. India, though, has accused Canada for years of giving free rein to Sikh separatists, including Nijjar. The dueling expulsions have escalated tensions between Canada and India. Trudeau had frosty encounters with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during this month's Group of 20 meeting in New Delhi, and a few days later Canada canceled a trade mission to India planned for the fall. India dismisses allegations of killing Sikh activist in Canada as 'absurd', expels senior Canadian diplomat Nijjar, a plumber, was also a leader in what remains of a once-strong movement to create an independent Sikh homeland, known as Khalistan. A bloody decadelong Sikh insurgency shook north India in the 1970s and 1980s, until it was crushed in a government crackdown in which thousands of people were killed, including prominent Sikh leaders. Violence spilled across years and continents. In 1984, former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was killed by two of her Sikh bodyguards after she ordered an army operation to flush out heavily armed Sikh separatists barricaded inside Sikhism’s holiest shrine. Her killing led to riots that left more than 2,000 Sikhs dead. The next year, an Air India jetliner flying from Toronto to New Delhi was destroyed by a bomb over the Irish coast, killing 329 people. Officials blamed Sikh separatists. The Khalistan movement has lost much of its political power but still has supporters in the Indian state of Punjab, as well as in the sizable overseas Sikh diaspora. While the active insurgency ended years ago, the Indian government has warned repeatedly that Sikh separatists were trying to make a comeback. Nijjar was wanted by Indian authorities, who had offered a reward for information leading to his arrest. At the time of his killing he was working with the group Sikhs For Justice, organizing an unofficial Sikh diaspora referendum on independence from India. Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a lawyer and spokesperson for Sikhs For Justice, has said Nijjar was warned by Canadian intelligence officials about being targeted for assassination by “mercenaries.” Nijjar had recently been meeting “once or twice a week” with Canadian Security Intelligence Service officers, including a day or two before the shooting, said his son Balraj Singh Nijjar. He said his father had received hundreds of threatening messages telling him to stop his advocacy for Sikh independence. The threats were always passed to authorities. “We weren’t worried about safety because we weren’t doing anything wrong," he said. “We were just using freedom of speech.” He said the family was relieved by Canada's actions. "From day 1 we kind of had this idea and knowledge that if anything would happen to him, the Indian government would be involved,” he said. “It was just a matter of time for when the truth would come out. It’s finally coming to the public eyes that the Indian government is involved in this.” On Monday, Trudeau told Parliament that Canadian security agencies were investigating “credible allegations of a potential link between agents of the government of India" and Nijjar's killing. “Any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty,” he said. India’s foreign ministry dismissed the allegation as “absurd” and accused Canada of harboring “terrorists and extremists.” “Such unsubstantiated allegations seek to shift the focus from Khalistani terrorists and extremists, who have been provided shelter in Canada and continue to threaten India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” it said in a statement Tuesday. India has long demanded that Canada take action against the Sikh independence movement, which is banned in India. Canada has a Sikh population of more than 770,000, about 2% of its population. In March, Modi's government summoned the Canadian high commissioner in New Delhi, the top diplomat in the country, to complain about Sikh independence protests in Canada. In 2020, India’s foreign ministry also summoned the top diplomat over Trudeau's comments about an agricultural protest movement associated with the state of Punjab, where many Sikhs live. Critics accuse Modi’s Hindu nationalist government of seeking to suppress dissent using sedition laws and other legal weapons. Some critics of his administration have been arrested, creating what Modi’s opponents say is a culture of intimidation. Trudeau said Monday he brought up Nijjar’s slaying with Modi last week at the G20 meeting in New Delhi, and told him any Indian government involvement would be unacceptable and he asked for cooperation in the investigation. Modi, for his part, expressed “strong concerns” over Canada’s handling of the Sikh independence movement at that meeting, India’s statement said. While in New Delhi, Trudeau skipped a dinner hosted by the Indian president, and local media reports said he was snubbed by Modi when he got a quick “pull aside” instead of a bilateral meeting. The statement called on Canada to work with India on what New Delhi said is a threat to the Indian diaspora, and accused the Sikh movement of “promoting secessionism and inciting violence” against Indian diplomats. Earlier this year, Sikh protesters pulled down the Indian flag at India’s high commission in London and smashed the building’s window after India arrested a popular Sikh preacher. Protesters also smashed windows at the Indian Consulate in San Francisco and skirmished with consulate workers. The British government, meanwhile, said Tuesday there were no plans to reinvestigate the death of a U.K-based Sikh activist in the wake of Canada’s claim India might have been behind the slaying of Nijjar. Avtar Singh Khanda, who played a prominent role in protests for an independent Sikh homeland, died in June in the English city of Birmingham after falling ill. Supporters alleged be might have been poisoned, but Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s spokesman, Max Blain, said police found nothing suspicious. The Trudeau government’s allegations are awkward for the U.K., which is a close ally of Canada in the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing alliance that also includes the U.S., Australia and New Zealand, and is also seeking a free trade deal with India. “These are serious allegations. It is right that the Canadian authorities should be looking into them,” Blain said, adding it would be inappropriate to comment further while the investigation is underway.
A Chinese spokesperson on Thursday accused Canada of acting in a “condescending manner” following a testy exchange between President Xi Jinping and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that underscores the depths to which the bilateral relationship has fallen. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning’s comments came after Xi chastised Trudeau at the G-20 summit on Wednesday over media reports on an earlier meeting during which Trudeau expressed concern about Chinese interference in Canada’s internal affairs. The apparently spontaneous exchange with a translator present was captured on video. Mao denied China had ever interfered in the internal affairs of other nations and said Canada was responsible for the downturn in ties. “Canada should take concrete actions to create conditions for the improvement of China-Canada relations,” she said at a daily briefing. The conversation was “quite normal and should not be interpreted as President Xi criticizing or blaming anyone.” Mao added that there had been a clear lack of respect from the Canadian side. “China has no problem at all with having a candid dialogue with other countries,” she said. “But we hope such a candid dialogue will be based on equal treatment and mutual respect, rather than criticizing the other in a condescending manner.” In his comments to Trudeau, Xi said, “Everything we discussed has been leaked to the paper; that’s not appropriate.” “And that’s not ... the way the conversation was conducted, if there is sincerity on your part,” Xi said, at which point Trudeau interrupted and stepped toward Xi. “In Canada, we believe in free and open and frank dialogue and that is what we will continue to have,” Trudeau said. “We will continue to look to work constructively together, but there will be things we will disagree on.” “Let’s create the conditions first,” Xi responded. The two shook hands after the brief encounter. Mao said nothing Xi said should be interpreted as a threat. “As you can see from the video, I think it is quite normal for the two heads of state to have a brief conversation during the G-20 summit. The two sides were just stating their respective positions,” she said. Trudeau first spoke with Xi at the G-20 last Tuesday. A senior Canadian government official said the two spoke about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, North Korea and climate change, and that Trudeau also raised “our serious concerns around interference activities in Canada.” The official spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter. Asked later at a news conference about the confrontation, Trudeau said, “not every conversation is always going to be easy, but it’s extremely important that we continue to stand up for the things that are important for Canadians.” Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly also said she discussed Chinese interference with her Chinese counterpart at the G-20. Joly remarked last week that China is an increasingly disruptive global power and warned businesses against deepening their ties, saying there were “geopolitical risks.” China-Canada ties nosedived after China jailed two Canadians shortly after Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies and the daughter of the company’s founder, on a U.S. extradition request in December 2018. They were sent back to Canada last year, the same day Meng returned to China after reaching a deal with U.S. authorities in her case, leading many to label China’s action “hostage politics.” Canada has banned wireless carriers from installing Huawei equipment in its high-speed 5G networks, joining allies in shunning the company that has close links with the ruling Communist Party and its military wing, the People’s Liberation Army. China has described the charges against Huawei and Meng as a politically motivated attempt to hold back China’s economic and technological development. More recently, Canadian police charged a Hydro-Québec employee on Monday with espionage for allegedly sending trade secrets to China. Read more: Biden says he and Xi have a “responsibility” to show US, China can “manage differences” Earlier this month, Canadian public broadcaster CBC closed its China bureau after applications to base a new reporter in Beijing were met with what it called “monthslong silence from Chinese officials.” The apparently unscripted remarks from Xi marked a rare display of public candor from the usually highly composed veteran politician. Known as an ardent nationalist who has vowed to always put China’s interests first, Xi recently had himself granted a third five-year term as leader of the ruling Communist Party, while packing top bodies with loyalists. In one earlier such incident during a visit to Mexico in 2009 while serving as vice president, China told Chinese students that, “There are a few foreigners, with full bellies, who have nothing better to do than try to point fingers at our country.” “China does not export revolution, hunger or poverty. Nor does China cause you headaches. Just what else do you want?,” Xi said in remarks caught on camera. Also read: Out of Covid bubble, Xi faces dramatically changed world at G-20
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau defended his decision to call an election during the pandemic in first debate of the campaign for this month’s election. Trudeau is facing a tough re-election battle against his Conservative Party rival, Erin O’Toole. The vote is Sept. 20. “Why did you trigger an election in the middle of a fourth wave?” O’Toole asked Trudeau at the French-language debate in Montreal. Also read: Trudeau announces additional fund for medical research on COVID-19 Trudeau said he needs a mandate from voters. “Almost 80 percent of Canadians have done the right thing, they got vaccinated, twice in fact,” said Trudeau, noting Canada is having a fourth wave because 20 percent are unvaccinated. “And because of them we have to stop democracy from working? No,” Trudeau said. He criticized O’Toole for not requiring his candidates to be vaccinated. O’Toole said he believes the country can find reasonable accommodations for those who are unvaccinated, like rapid testing and social distancing. Four provinces including Quebec and Ontario, Canada’s largest, are bringing in vaccine passports that require citizens to be vaccinated to enter places like restaurants and gyms. Also read: Trudeau says Canada won't retaliate for US mask export ban Trudeau called the election last month seeking to win the majority of seats in Parliament but polls show that is unlikely and that he might even lose power to O’Toole and the Conservative party. Trudeau had wanted to capitalize on the fact that Canada is now one of the most fully vaccinated countries in the world, but the country is now in a fourth wave driven by the delta variant. Daniel Beland, a politics professor at McGill University in Montreal, said Trudeau held his ground. “His combative performance might help stop the bleeding for the Liberals or, at least, reassure his base that he still has fire in his belly,” Beland said. The 49-year-old Trudeau, the son of the late Liberal Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, became the second youngest prime minister in Canadian history when he was first elected with a majority of seats in Parliament in 2015. He reasserted liberalism in 2015 after almost 10 years of Conservative Party government in Canada, but scandals combined with high expectations damaged his brand. His father served as prime minister from 1968 to 1984 with a short interruption and remains one of the few Canadian politicians known in other countries.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Thursday to allot additional 1.1 billion Canadian dollars (about 782 million U.S. dollars) for national medical research against the COVID-19.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday that the best way to resolve ongoing Indigenous blockades is dialogue with the protesters, as the country's cargo and passenger rail operators were forced to suspend all service Thursday amid the protests.
Ottawa, Oct 24 (Xinhua/UNB) -- Clear geographical and ideological divisions were starkly revealed in Canada following Monday's general election that left Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal Party shut out from representation in two western provinces and facing a resurgent nationalist faction in the eastern French-speaking province of Quebec.
Toronto, OCT 21 (AP/UNB) — Canadians are electing a new Parliament on Monday after a tight election campaign that has raised the threat of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau being knocked from power after one term.
Toronto, OCT 18 (AP/UNB) — Ian Bremmer remembers the first time he met Justin Trudeau, at the annual gathering of elites in the Swiss ski resort of Davos.
Toronto, Sep 20 (AP/UNB) — At a time when bigotry seems on the rise around the world and doors are being shut, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has become known as a champion of diversity. Now, amid his bid for re-election, that reputation is under attack in a furor triggered by a photo of him in brownface at a costume party two decades ago.