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Business News/ News / World/  Canada's Sikhs grateful to Justin Trudeau, report claims
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Canada's Sikhs grateful to Justin Trudeau, report claims

Canadian Sikhs grateful to Trudeau for standing up to India over Khalistani terrorist murder, risking severe backlash.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (REUTERS)Premium
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (REUTERS)

Canadian Sikhs are grateful to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for giving voice to their fears and standing up to India at the risk of severe backlash pertaining to the murder of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a report by Reuters news agency has claimed.

The supporters of Trudeau are major proponents of the Khalistan movement too.

"There's a lot of fear," said Sentokh Singh, who was among the small group who protested in front of the Indian High Commission (embassy) in Ottawa this week. "That's why we are here today."

Also read: ‘Majboori thi’: EAM Jaishankar on suspending visa for Canada amid diplomatic row over Nijjar killing


Canada is home to about 770,000 Sikhs, the highest population outside India's Punjab. The government of India has for decades expressed its displeasure with some community members' outspoken support for Khalistan.

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Sikhs punch above their weight in Canadian politics. They have 15 members in the House of Commons, more than 4% of the seats, mostly from key battlegrounds in national elections, while comprising only about 2% of the Canadian population.

Also read: Nijjar killing row: ‘Canada has climate of violence for…’, says Jaishankar

Furthermore, one member is Jagmeet Singh, leader of the opposition New Democrats, a left-leaning party that is supporting Trudeau's minority government.

Fen Hampson, professor of international affairs at Carleton University in Ottawa told Reuters that, "In political terms, this is a no-brainer: You got to get out ahead of the story and you got to express outrage".

Also read: PM Trudeau was in 'drug-induced stupor' during G20 Summit dinner, alleges former diplomat. Canada responds…

Canada says Sikhs have a right to peaceful protest and there has been no evidence of violence, terrorist activity, or wrongdoing.

Mukhbir Singh, a member of the Ottawa Sikh Society, said Canadian Sikhs' views on Khalistan vary and everyone should be able to express their own opinion. He said Trudeau is sticking up for Canadian democratic values.

Suk Dhaliwal, a Sikh Liberal member of parliament for Surrey, told Reuters he is not a Khalistan separatist, but a Canadian, and Canadians have a right to protest peacefully. He said his constituents have suspected since June the involvement of the Indian government in the murder.

Also read: Amid Nijjar killing row, Justin Trudeau says ‘Canada is serious about stronger ties with India but…’

"The community feels a bit relieved now that at least there is someone who has shown leadership to bring this message forward," Dhaliwal said.

Meanwhile, Trudeau is trailing badly in opinion polls. A recent poll by Ipsos found that 40% of Canadians want to see opposition leader Pierre Poilievre, a Conservative, as the Prime Minister, while 30% vote for Justin Trudeau.

If polls are taken now, the Conservatives will win a majority government, deposing the Trudeau-led Liberal minority government. Elections in Canada are scheduled for the autumn of 2025.

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Updated: 01 Oct 2023, 08:02 AM IST
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