Nijjar killing: Justin Trudeau criticises previous Canada govt for ‘cosy’ India ties — ’A question one needs to ask...’

  • The suggestion that we haven't and we won't do everything we can to defend Canadian rules and values and defend Canadians from foreign interference is simply misplaced, says PM Trudeau.

Written By Saurav Mukherjee
Updated11 Apr 2024
Canada PM Justin Trudeau. (File)
Canada PM Justin Trudeau. (File)(Bloomberg)

Against the backdrop of the India-Canada row over the killing of Khalistani extremist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Colombia, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asserted that his government stood up for its citizens, and was firm on protecting Canadians.

Testifying in Ottawa at a federal inquiry into foreign interference in Canada, Trudeau accused the previous Conservative government in his country of being 'cosy' with the current Indian government, news agency ANI reported.

Nijjar, a Canadian citizen, was shot dead outside a Sikh temple on June 18 in Surrey, a Vancouver suburb with a large Sikh population, three years after India had designated him as a terrorist.

At the inquiry headed by Quebec judge Marie-Josee Hogue, Trudeau also claimed that China tried to meddle in the last two Canadian elections, although the results were not impacted.

ALSO READ: Canada: Indian-origin builder Buta Singh Gill among 2 shot dead in targeted attack in Edmonton

In 2023, PM Trudeau set up the commission after pressure from opposition legislators who were unhappy about media reports on China's possible role in the elections.

What did Justin Trudeau say?

1) On foreign interference in the 2019 elections: "In a public setting, I can't speak to redactions made for national security. But, I will say that the principle that anyone who comes to Canada from anywhere in the world has all the rights of a Canadian to be free from extortion, coercion, and interference from a country that they left behind and how we have stood up for Canadians, including in the very serious case that I brought forward to Parliament of the killing of (Hardeep Singh) Nijjar, demonstrates our government's commitment to defending the rights and freedoms of Canadians."

2) He further said, as quoted by the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail: "And the suggestion that we haven't and we won't do everything we can to defend Canadian rules and values and defend Canadians from foreign interference is simply misplaced."

3) "Our government has always stood up to defend minorities in Canada and the rights of minorities to speak out even if it irritates their home countries overseas," the Canadian PM said.

4) On appropriate steps taken to expose foreign interference, he said, "I think that's certainly a question one needs to ask of the previous conservative government that was known for its very cosy relationship with the current Indian government. Whereas our government has always stood up to defend minorities in Canada and the rights of minorities to speak out, even if it irritates their home countries overseas."

5) Earlier in February, during an interview with the Commission of Inquiry, Justin Trudeau had called foreign interference extremely damaging to the confidence of the people of Canada in the democratic process. On Wednesday, he expressed his frustration that intelligence leaked to the media had been “sensationalized” and taken out of context, Canada-based CTV News reported.

With agency inputs. 

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