Trudeau’s Khalistan stance strains Canada-India relations


The definition of unfriendly, relates to, “a) not kind or helpful; b) not showing kind or friendly feeling; c) harmful or unpleasant…used to describe a country or government.’ ( From this, it would be easy for New Delhi in a generic sense to describe the Trudeau government as doing its a,b,cs to become as inamiable to it as possible over the Khalistan issue.
However, Trudeau may not be that overly interested personally in the fragmentation of a fellow major Commonwealth nation. But he sure looks that he is trying hard by so much placating of the Khalistan separatist movement on Canadian soil of which editorials in this newspaper and one of my previous pieces have gone into much solid details. Suffice to say, the Trudeau government, dependent on its political survival from its minority partner party, led by Jagmeet Singh, well sympathetic to Khalistan separatists, is seemingly on thin ice.
Justin Trudeau may use the Khalistan issue to solidify his political base and get main newspapers in Canada to falsely rally around him as a great preserver of Canadian sovereignty on the issue to make India look as if had a direct hand in killing of a Canadian Sikh activist which India fully denies. But what he needs to realize if he sacrifices good relations with the fast emerging superpower of India for opportunistic domestic politics, he may compromise Canada and future generations seriously and globally. His political opportunism, over-the-top will reinforce that he is a geopolitical junior leaguer. That is not what Canada a once medium-size global powerhouse was under his father Pierre Elliott Trudeau who was part of a past gallery of important Canadian figures in the world stage. Let us start with his mini- biography from Britannica . “Pierre Elliott Trudeau, (born October 18, 1919, Montreal, Quebec, Canada—died September 28, 2000, Montreal), Liberal politician and prime minister of Canada (1968–79; 1980–84). His terms in office were marked by the establishment of diplomatic relations with China (1970) and improved relations with France, the defeat of the French separatist movement, constitutional independence from the British Parliament, and the formation of a new Canadian constitution with the principal additions of a bill of rights and an amending formula.”
Thus, Trudeau a solid productive champion of Canada was clearly not hostage to what many governments would not tolerate on their home soil. That is extremists running around freely even inciting violence and fragmentation of his country, or another country it has and wants good relations with. To put this more clearly in some useful equivalency,, how long would Ottawa tolerate a California splittist movement with public parades reenacting the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. You can betcha ( US slang) such a movement especially if it had a background of bombing and pushing extremism and violence would not last long in Canada. Washington would rightfully not tolerate it. And neither will India in regards to its concerns.
So how to better make Justin Trudeau and his fans on this issue both in the Canadian media and Parliament understand more fully New Delhi’s great dissatisfaction over Trudeau’s attitude and approach?
Say ethnic Indians who had been residing in Quebec (a major province in Canada) with dual citizenship established themselves in India. Say they were deeply attached to Quebec independence and celebrated the violent tactics of the FLQ terrorist separatists in a parade and beyond say in Chennai. And they became very active and politically powerful say in a hypothetical Congress party led government (I cannot see a Narendra Modi government tolerating such a movement in India.) Then, rightfully Ottawa would be asking serious questions, also if its diplomats were being threatened by elements of such a pro Quebec separatist group. One that had gained enough power in the Congress cabinet and a political party partner that it could cause such an Indian government to fall. And then after all the diplomatic complaints from Ottawa that hypothetical Indian government did essentially nothing.
Rightfully, the Canadian government would not do business anywhere as usual with India. If the largely Canadian political-media establishment cannot understand or empathize on this with India and the overall global South on these issues then a question might be asked Is it now more narrow in intellectual and foreign affairs depth with some exceptions as I personally experienced with some notable exception as a former federal civil servant and Harvard Associate. And, as the former Canadian ambassador to the UN and former chief editor of the newspaper La Presse, Gerard Pelletier wrote to me, he stated near verbatim that the Canadian media has no imagination. Interestingly, the Globe and Mail of Toronto in its Pavlovian knee-jerk reaction is rallying around Trudeau to hype against India may prove this. Incidentally, Pelletier was one of Pierre Trudeau’s closest friends and well respected internationally.
Other past giants with no equivalence in the current Trudeau government included PM Lester Pearson, who won a major prize for peace and John Peters Humphrey on Human Rights. First in more details is Humphrey who I met and had a good number of discussions with. From wikipedia, “John Peters Humphrey OC (April 30, 1905 – March 14, 1995) was a Canadian legal scholar, jurist, and human rights advocate. He is most famous as the principal author of the first draft of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
Now, for Lester Pearson who almost made it to becoming Secretary General of the UN. “Lester B. Pearson, in full Lester Bowles Pearson, (born April 23, 1897, Toronto, Ontario, Canada—died December 27, 1972, Ottawa), Canadian politician and diplomat who served as prime minister of Canada (1963–68). He was prominent as a mediator in international disputes, and in 1957 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace.(Britannica com)
Also on Pierre Elliot Trudeau, Justin Trudeau’s father and Pearson’s successor: That Trudeau was rumored to want out of NATO but could not get his cabinet to agree on this reflecting a true independent Canada in foreign policy. And a Canadian PM who tried to reach out and moderate the behaviour of countries on Washington’s list of “unfriendlies” and who “stood up” in a meeting when peace negotiations between US President Reagan and a Soviet leader were not going well. And told Reagan at the G7, “we should be busting our asses for peace.” A man who tried to bridge relations between North and South countries, too when he did not need to do so to get support of a vote bank. India stands more and more as a diplomatic giant when contrasted against Justin Trudeau’s short-term opportunities and worrisome stand on Khalistan. Sadly, it is in another episode making Canada much less than the Canadian giants of geopolitics would want and would lament if they were still alive. Oh Canada!