Talk about karma. Talk about just deserts. Indians can feel justifiably happy at what is happening with Canada’s Justin Trudeau—the gentleman one of whose claims to fame in India was dancing on stage in a Bollywood attire during an embassy party in New Delhi. His other claim to fame, rather “infame”, was his support for the farmers’ protests that hounded Delhi-NCR for over a year. Some of the comments he made were: “Canada will always stand up for the right of peaceful protest and human rights”; “Canada will always stand up for the right of peaceful protest anywhere around the world. We are pleased to see moves towards de-escalation and dialogue.” And this when the protests were anything but peaceful, as the violence unleashed by the protesters in the national capital and the desecration of a national monument on Republic Day showed. Trudeau was single-handedly responsible for the deterioration in India-Canada relations by unnecessarily poking his nose into the internal matters of a sovereign nation and then reiterating his stand—and all because of his own domestic compulsions of wooing a sizeable number of Sikh voters ahead of elections.
He returned to power, but again as a minority government, which automatically put a question mark on the extent of public support that he enjoyed. And this lack of support is now manifest, with a large section of people—the protest has extended from being confined to Sikh truckers—making their unhappiness with his vaccine mandate, as well as his government, apparent, by peacefully protesting against him.
Sitting in India, where vaccination coverage is humongous, primarily because of the push coming from a strong government, it may not be possible to understand how intense some of these anti-vaccine movements can be in the West. Obviously, it is strong enough to stall an even otherwise fragile government, to send the Prime Minister into hiding, and for the national capital to declare emergency and mull calling in the military. In a strong speech in Parliament, Trudeau said this week, “Individuals are trying to blockade our economy, our democracy and our fellow citizens’ daily lives, it has to stop.” This is exactly what the Indian government was saying all through the farm protests, that the protesters did not have the right to disrupt people’s lives and livelihoods, that they were allowed to protest but at a designated place. Instead, the protesters made the matter international with the help of their ecosystem abroad, mostly in Canada, and were egged on by cheerleaders of different hues, with Justin Trudeau and his colleagues being in the forefront. But now that he is himself facing similar protests, he is refusing to have even a dialogue with the protesters. Contrast this with the innumerable rounds of talks that the Centre held with the farm protesters in India and the willingness it showed to discuss the three farm laws clause by clause and introduce amendments. It is a different matter that the protesters were adamant that they would not consider anything short of a repeal of the farm laws. Talks broke down only after the mayhem unleashed by many of these protesters on 26 January 2021. In fact, even on that fateful day, the government did not use excessive force. It was the police that sustained the maximum injuries, not the people who were running amok in Delhi. Looking at Trudeau’s response to the crisis in Canada it is obvious that he lacks the maturity to run a government. What happened to outreach, to dialogue? All that the world is hearing are threats, warnings and accusations.
Amid this, one of the most interesting responses has come from Trudeau’s political “friend”, NDP’s Jagmeet Singh, who tweeted on Tuesday, “The spread of Trumpism into Canada must be stopped. Foreign actors and money cannot be allowed to sow division in Canada. US interference from the extreme right and millions of dollars via anonymous foreign sources must be shut down.” That’s quite a statement from a man who is guilty of providing support to the farmers’ movement in India. He was one of the main persons behind internationalizing the farmers’ protest and had roped in celebrities to attack the Indian government. Worse, he is a known Khalistan supporter. There is no reason to believe that he does not know that the Khalistan movement is a terrorist movement. He also must have known that the Khalistanis were trying to infiltrate the farmers’ protests in Delhi. In spite of that, he was meddling in the internal affairs of India. In fact, Trudeau too has been seen with known Khalistanis.
The hypocrisy of these two worthies now stands exposed, also their intolerance to opposing views. Let’s just say that they have a long way to go before they learn how to be mature and competent politicians and administrators.