Trudeau Mum on Whether Ottawa Will Retaliate After India Suspends New Visas for Canadians

by EditorK

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would not say whether his government intends to retaliate after India announced it would stop issuing visas for Canadians.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, flanked daughter Ella-Grace, delivers his victory speech after general elections at the Fairmount Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal, Quebec, early on September 21, 2021. (Photo by ANDREJ IVANOV/AFP via Getty Images)

Noé Chartier
Updated: September 21, 2023

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would not say whether his government intends to retaliate after India announced it would stop issuing visas for Canadians.

“We call upon the government of India to work with us to take seriously these allegations and to allow justice to follow its course,” said Mr. Trudeau on Sept. 21 when asked if Ottawa would respond to New Delhi.

The prime minister, speaking from New York after attending the United Nations General Assembly, remained vague about details surrounding the allegations he made against India and on how he will proceed with the relationship.

“We’re not looking to provoke or cause problems,” said Mr. Trudeau, recognizing that India is a country of “growing importance and a country that we need to continue to work with.”

On Sept. 18 Mr. Trudeau rose in the House of Commons and said there are “credible allegations” that Indian government agents had a “potential link” to the killing of Sikh secessionist and Canadian citizen Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June.

Asked by reporters if he regrets making this declaration given the ensuing fallout, Mr. Trudeau repeated the allegations.

“We have a rigorous and independent justice system and robust processes that will follow their course,” he said.

The RCMP is currently investigating the death of Mr. Nijjar and has yet to press charges. Mr. Trudeau made the accusation without substantiation.

“We are committed to answering [questions] when we can; however, this remains an active investigation, and we need to respect that process,” the RCMP said in a statement to The Epoch Times.

The lack of details provided for the high-impact declaration, sending relations into a tailspin with the world’s largest democracy, has been criticized both at home and abroad. Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre has asked the prime minister to “come clean with all the facts” before taking a stance on how to deal with India.

India also said on Sept. 21 that Canada has shared “no specific information” on the allegations.

“We have conveyed this to the Canadians and made it clear to them that we are willing to look at any specific information that is provided to us,” said Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Arindam Bagchi in a press conference.

The Epoch Times contacted the Prime Minister’s Office for comment but didn’t hear back by publication time.

When asked by reporters whether he would share the evidence, Mr. Trudeau didn’t directly respond.

“Canada has a rigorous and independent justice system that we trust,” he said.

While India says it has halted the issuance of all visas for Canadians, Mr. Bagchi said Canada’s “inaction” relating to threats to Indian diplomatic missions has disrupted visa services.

New Delhi says it told Ottawa to reduce its number of diplomats in the country to bring it to “parity” saying Canadian numbers are too high. Global Affairs Canada, in turn, said it was reducing its presence due to security.

India has also expelled a Canadian diplomat in response to Ottawa kicking out the Indian head in Canada of the Research and Analysis Wing, India’s foreign intelligence service.


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