ontario news watch

Sask. premier accuses Trudeau of risking trade with India, hiding status of talks

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe’s government is accusing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of damaging relations with India and keeping the provinces in the dark about trade talks.

In a letter Moe released Monday, Saskatchewan Trade Minister Jeremy Harrison argues Trudeau is picking a fight with India for domestic political gain and risking access to one of his province’s most important export markets.

Harrison claims the province learned that Canada paused trade talks with India through media reports, and that Trade Minister Mary Ng had not replied to a late July letter seeking an update on the negotiations.

The Liberals have given no clear reason why they ordered a pause in the trade talks, and The Canadian Press has asked Ng for her response to Harrison’s letter.

Trudeau briefly met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi this weekend, and India’s external affairs ministry said Modi expressed strong concerns to Trudeau about “anti-India activities of extremist elements in Canada,” particularly Sikh separatists.

Saskatchewan makes up roughly a third of Canada’s exports to India, particularly pulses such as lentils, which India has occasionally blocked or delayed as it tinkers with pest-control policies. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 11, 2023.

Dylan Robertson, The Canadian Press