Earlier today, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his ministers expressed their concern over the ongoing farmers’ protests in the country. They extended their support to Indian farmers who have been agitating against the three new bills, noting that the situation is concerning.
Speaking on the occasion of Gurupurab to his Canadian-Punjabi constituents, Trudeau said, “I would be remiss if I didn’t start by recognizing the news coming out of India about the protests by farmers. The situation is concerning. And we all are very worried about family and friends; I know that’s a reality for many of you. Let me remind you. Canada will always be ready to defend the right to peaceful protest. We believe in the importance of dialogue and that’s why we reached out to multiple means directly to Indian authorities to highlight our concerns.”
Besides Trudeau, other Canadian ministers and leaders also extended their unwarranted support to the ongoing protests by farmers, which has seen participation from pro-Khalistani elements such as Punjabi actor Deep Sidhu and known rabble-rousers such as Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad, who has a history of fomenting trouble during the anti-CAA riots in Delhi and Hathras incident.
Canadian MP Bardish Chaggar, who was part of the Gurpurab celebration, had tweeted on November 30 that the rights of farmers protesting peacefully in India must be respected, and meaningful dialogue is the way forward. Minister of National Defence, Canada, Harjit Sajjan had expressed his support for the protests in a tweet posted by him on November 29. Member of Parliament Tim S Uppal also posted a tweet backing the farmers’ protests.
While Canadian PM Justin Trudeau and other Canadian ministers sanctimoniously held forth on the need to defend the ‘right to peaceful protest’ and expressed their “concern” over the situation in India, they remained conveniently blind to the subjugation of the indigenous tribes by the Canadian police officials in their own backyard.
PM Justin Trudeau turned a blind eye to the oppression of indigenous tribes in Canada
In February 2020, Canadian PM Trudeau and other ministers felt no compunction in removing Indigenous activists from a railway line in Ontario, where a two-week protest against a contentious natural gas pipeline had blocked train traffic and fueled a growing political crisis. The protests were in support of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation in British Columbia and the protesters were fighting against a 416-mile pipeline through their traditional territory.
As the protests swelled, the Canadian police officials gave an ultimatum to the Tyendinaga Mohawk nation to vacate the protest site or risk facing charges and arrest. However, the activists remained resolute in their determination to oppose the government’s contentious decision. Before police moved in to clear the protesters, media was barred from covering the protests. Dozens of police officials descended on the blockade, tackling the protesters gathered there, forcing them to the ground and cuffing their hands with zip-ties. Many protesters were arrested by the police.
It is pertinent to note here that it was on Canadian PM Justin Trudeau’s direction that the blockade was forcibly removed by the police. In contrast to upholding the lofty ideal of “right to protest peacefully”, Trudeau had, instead, given a blunt warning to the protesters to end the protests. “The barricades need to come down now,” Trudeau had said.
Canada had moved WTO against India’s high MSP in Feb 2019
If this wasn’t enough to capture the hypocrisy exhibited by Trudeau, his stance on India’s MSP in the World Trade Organisation would successfully nail down the double-dealing of the Canadian Prime Minister. In February 2019, Canada had moved WTO against India on higher MSPs for five pulses. Canada had then sought a discussion with India on the higher MSP for five pulses, contending that India’s support prices were 26 times higher than the permitted levels by WTO regulations.
It is, therefore, profoundly ironical that Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, who found India’s MSP prices of its crops significantly higher and approached WTO complaining against India’s high MSP prices, comes out in support of the so-called farmers, who have held blockades and are demanding the Indian government to bring a provision for the MSP in the three agriculture bills that were passed in September 2020.
Despite these glaring hypocrisies, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau had the gall of making unsolicited comments on India’s internal matters and moralising her on the need to allow peaceful protests. By all accounts, it appears that Trudeau’s remarks on the ongoing farmers’ protests were aimed at consolidating support among his Canadian-Punjabi constituents and not at expressing genuine concern for the Indian farmers. With the second wave of coronavirus galloping Canada and Trudeau tainted in an ethics scandal, the Canadian PM appears to be willing to risk the relationship with India for securing short-term political gains.
Though a country’s Prime Minister shouldn’t comment on another country’s private matter, if Trudeau still wants to needlessly meddle into a foreign country’s internal affairs, and pontificate them on rights, he should, at least first ensure that he has not flouted those very rights in his own country.