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Poilievre says Trudeau soured India relations, cites Sikh ‘aggression’ toward envoys

OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre is blaming Prime Minister Justin Trudeau fora diplomatic chill with India, saying Ottawa needs a “professional relationship” with the government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Trudeau announced in the House of Commons last month that Canadian intelligence services are investigating “credible” information about “a potential link” between India’s government and the killing of Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia.

Speaking on a Nepalese diaspora radio station in Toronto this weekend, Poilievre blames Trudeau for the “aggression shown to Indian diplomats at public events.”

Earlier this year, before Trudeau’s revelation regarding the Nijjar case, India lamented rowdy protests by Sikh separatist groups outside diplomatic missions in Canada, and posters offering cash rewards for the home addresses of India’s diplomats.

New Delhi formally called on Canada to better uphold its duty to protect foreign diplomats and in late August, India’s high commissioner to Canada said his country was “very satisfied” that the Liberal government had responded appropriately and that its diplomats were secure.

Poilievre claims in the interview that Trudeau is turning Canadians against each other, citing vandalism against Hindu places of worship.

“I strongly condemn all threats on the attacks on Hindu mandirs, the threats against Hindu leaders,” Poilievre told Namaste Radio Toronto.

“There should be criminal charges laid against anyone who attacks either the property or people at Hindu mandirs, just like anywhere else.”

Poilievre did not cite a specific example and his office has been asked to comment.

“It’s fine to have our disagreements and to hold each other accountable, but we have to have a professional relationship … with the Indian government,” Poilievre told Namaste Radio Toronto, in a video posted online Saturday afternoon.

“Justin Trudeau is considered a laughing stock in India, the world’s biggest democracy.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 23, 2023.

Dylan Robertson, The Canadian Press