The Canadian PM has refused to meet Amarinder Singh, the CM of Punjab in his upcoming visit to India according to reports in the Canadian media. Justin Trudeau will be visiting Amritsar on February 21. Amarinder Singh had earlier refused to meet Canadian defence minister, accusing him of being a Khalistani in April 2017. The Canadian defence minister, Harjit Sajjan Singh had denied these allegations in an interview to NDTV.
Sikh factor is significant in Canadian politics
The Sikh demographics in Canada seem to be important for the politicians there. They have had strong opinions about the Sikh riots and Khalistan movement. Earlier in April 2017, a private members motion by an MP (belonging to PM Trudeau’s part ) calling the Sikh riots as a genocide was introduced in Canada’s Ontario legislature. The MP had also condemned the ‘intolerance in India’ while moving the motion. The motion for taking up the bill was passed unanimously by all parties.
India had called this a misguided motion.
Jatinder Singh Grewal, a director of international policy in pro-Khalistan activist group ‘Sikhs for Justice’ had said, “All Sikhs applaud Ontario today and give thanks to Premier Kathleen Wynne and Liberal MPP Harinder Mahli for hearing us, appreciating the evidence that exists and officially recognizing that the murder of tens of thousands of Sikhs was an attempt at genocide. We will continue to press upon other governments here in Canada and globally to stand with us in Ontario on the side of justice.”
Pro Khalistan groups had petitioned for a referendum to past Canadian PM
There seems to be significant support in Canada for Khalistani movement in spite of denials by ministers of Trudeau cabinet. Pro Khalistani group ‘Sikhs for Justice’ had petitioned the then PM Stephen Harper to raise the Khalistan issue during PM Modi’s visit to Canada in 2015. A ‘Punjab referendum petition’ allegedly supported by Canadian Gurudwaras was submitted to the then Canadian PM.
Amarinder Singh has praised Trudeau government in the past for not supporting Khalistani movement in Canada. Punjab CM had also welcomed Canadian defence minister’s clarification about his alleged support to Khalistan movement. Though no specific reason has been cited for Canadian PM’s refusal to meet Punjab CM Amarinder Singh it appears that the Justin Trudeau is keen on keeping his Sikh voters back home in good humour.