Is India Interfering In Canada's Affairs?
Or is it the other way around? How much more damage will be done before these questions are answered honestly? A Real Story Series, Part 1.
They say that Hindus are our brothers, but I give you my most solemn assurance. Until we kill 50,000 Hindus, we will not rest. - Kamloops “millworker” Ajaib Singh Bagri.
Spoiler: Is India interfering In Canada's affairs? If we mean interference by the Indian government then no, not much, certainly not the tiniest fraction of the scale of Beijing’s interference. This is what’s going to get me into trouble with this Real Story series: To the extent that the Indian government is “interfering” in Canada, its verified activity is not entirely unwarranted.
Another spoiler: Is Canada interfering in India’s affairs? If by “interference” we mean direct interference by the Trudeau government, the answer is no, not if we mean by acts of commission. But yes, if we mean by negligence, indifference, stupidity and cowardice. In Delhi, the Trudeau government is understood as a national-security menace, but less of a direct threat than an extremely dangerous caucus of compromised imbeciles.
When Bad News Is No News
For several days now, much of India’s national press has been loudly echoing India’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ expressions of mockery and disgust over remarks uttered by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last week. It’s possible I may have missed something, but good luck finding any of this in the Canadian mainstream media. And no, it’s not because we’re all “in the tank” for the Trudeau government. I genuinely wish it were that simple.
If it’s cynicism you want, here’s a cynical proposition for you. It’s no accident that Trudeau is jeopardizing Canada’s timid Indo-Pacific Strategy, announced in January and adopted only with extreme reluctance. The policy shift was to serve as a necessary, long-overdue and widely-demanded replacement for the catastrophic and disgraceful embrace of Xi Jinping’s China that Trudeau brought with him to win the Liberal leadership in 2013.
It is not actually my opinion that Trudeau would be content to sabotage the Indo-Pacific Strategy and ingratiate himself with Beijing rather than put up with being forever the object of ridicule he made of himself in India during his $1.66 million Bollywood roleplay tour in 2018.
I’ll be sticking to the facts here, including quite a few pertinent facts leading to the current Canada-India uproars that everybody seems to have been missing for weeks on end. But I have formed an opinion. It’s based on recent research and a familiarity with this story going back as far as my days as kid freelancer filing to the Globe and Mail from India. It’s this:
If the Research and Analysis Wing (India’s foreign intelligence service) were not actively soliciting information from avocational “spies” in Metro Vancouver and Greater Toronto, or not undertaking direct surveillance operations in Canada, then the RAW is not doing its job.
The bloodcurdling business about killing 50,000 Hindus I cited above comes from Jul 28, 1984, at the founding convention of the World Sikh Organization in New York. Ajaib Singh Bagri was within the closed circle of Babbar Khalsa plotters that carried out the Air India atrocity the following year. He was charged but never convicted. But this is not an old story.
This is a story about a fanaticism that is undergoing a recrudescence at the moment, mostly in Canada, much to India’s dismay. It’s the fanaticism that concealed the bomb in the baggage compartment of Air India flight 182 that exploded and killed all 329 aboard, most of them Canadian citizens, on June 23, 1985, and hid another India-bound bomb on another plane the same day that killed two baggage handlers in Narita, Japan.
Along with the revival of that fanaticism is the same cowardice at the highest levels in Canada that accomodated it in the first place in the years, months and days before those bombs exploded. The Trudeau Liberals will go so far as to turf an MP from their own caucus for alluding to the party’s appeasements of it. And that’s the phenomenon India is so worried about.
What India’s spymasters know is that the Trudeau government will even tamper with and rewrite Canada’s own intelligence assessments just to avoid giving that fanaticism’s cause its proper name: Khalistan.
I’ll be coming to this later in the series, but you don’t need to be a spy to know these things. And here’s what you are not likely know about the recent tumults if you rely on Canada’s news media.
In response to comments by Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar to the effect that “vote bank” politics are inhibiting Canada’s willingness and capacity to contain Khalistani extremism, here’s Trudeau: "They are wrong. Canada has always taken extremely seriously violence and threats of violence. We have always taken serious action against terrorism and we always will.”
This is not only a gross insult to the families of the Air India dead, it’s nonsense on stilts. It flies in the face of the entire history of Khalistani mayhem in Canada and the federal government’s several catastrophic failures to deal with any of it. Those failures led to the Air India bombing. They continued through the cavalcade of error and incompetence in the atrocity’s aftermath - among the many plotters, only the bomb maker, Inderjit Singh Reyat, ended up in jail.
Those failures to get a handle on Khalistani fanaticism have persisted in federal intelligence and law-enforcement agencies ever since.
Trudeau also said this: “We have an extremely diverse country and freedom of expression is something that we have but we will always make sure that we are pushing back against violence and extremism in all its forms.”
If any of my subscribers have evidence to support that claim, they should feel free to post it in comments below and I’ll give Trudeau full credit. And Trudeau is right as far as it goes. If you want to holler about your imaginary plot by the Indian government to assassinate some Khalistani guy in Surrey, go for it. It’s a free country. But if what can be reasonably taken as an incitement to murder Indian diplomats is “free speech” in Canada now, it would be handy to be advised of when that happened, too.
Only last month in Vancouver, the Khalistanis’ 1980s-era Osama bin Laden figure, Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale - a genocidal maniac ultimately responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocents - was prominently featured on a placard at a rally outside India’s consulate-general office on Howe Street.
Only this past weekend, the Khalistanis were back in Vancouver, Toronto, San Francisco, Melbourne and London with placards featuring photographs of various Indian high commissioners, ambassadors and consuls-general and identifying these diplomats as the “killers” behind the June 18 gangland-style slaying of the prominent Surrey, B.C. Khalistani figure Hardeep Singh Nijjar. Eleven of India’s diplomatic missions around the world were on high alert.
Nijjar is described in each of these posters, prepared by the Sikh separatist outfit Sikhs for Justice, as a “shaheed jathedar,” which means martyred commander. “Khalistan” means Land of the Pure, the weird ethnostate or theocracy or whatever it is that a vanishingly small minority of the world’s Sikhs want to carve out of the Indian state of Punjab.
Note: This Real Story edition is on the free side of a paywall that will have to go up for parts of this series because there comes a point: If the Khalistanis are going to hector Postmedia’s bosses again to fire me for writing about this stuff, it’s going to cost them the price of admission for the “evidence” they’ll twist against me. Besides, I’m just inclined to save for my paying customers certain hair-raising facts about this story that aren’t being reported anywhere in the Canadian news media.
Getting through the paywall is ridiculously cheap and easy.
When No News Really Is Good News
The background to these recent incitements was the subject of my column in the National Post and the Ottawa Citizen last Thursday: 'Killers' poster points to Canada's failure to crack down on Khalistani extremism. I barely scratched the surface. After I filed my column, in Delhi, India’s Ministry of External Affairs summoned Cameron MacKay, Canada’s High Commissioner, for a strongly-worded demarche. Then Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the diplomatic unpleasantness exponentially worse.
For the most part, I’m pleased to report, Saturday’s demonstrations were mainly a washout. There was hardly any news coverage, which wasn’t really warranted anyway. There was an arrest in Toronto, where there were counter-demonstrators waving Indian flags. In Vancouver, Indian flags were burned. There was an ugly incident in Brampton where one of those “killers” posters was affixed to the gate of a Hindu temple.
If nothing else, this should show that while Khalistan is mostly a Canadian phenomenon, most Canadian Sikhs are either ambivalent to the movement or hostile to it.
Khalistan is a preoccupation of a tiny minority of the Sikh diaspora in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States. The Sikhs of Punjab want absolutely nothing to do with it. The Shiromani Akali Dal faction that wants a seperate Sikh state pulled less than two percent in the recent Punjab Assembly elections. Even Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party got three times as many votes - and Modi isn’t exactly a popular guy among the Sikhs of Punjab.
So why is it that the Trudeau government goes out of its way so as not to upset the Khalistanis’ delicate sensibilities? Why is it that the Trudeau government and its friends have been so insistent that India get star billing with China in any public discussions about foreign interference in Canada?
These questions matter because powerful figures in Canada and India are happy to indulge the most sinister and lunatic conspiracy theories owing to the votes to be reaped from the sowing of them. They matter because to answer these questions honestly and out loud can get you killed.
These questions would matter if only for the solemn duty of civilized people to ensure that the Air India dead are not lost to our memory, and that those who mourn them do not grieve alone. For this purpose I strongly urge everyone reading this newsletter today to go straight to this link when you’re done here for a fine and necessary essay by my friend Meera Nair.
I’ll leave off for now with this.
Beijing’s enfeeblement of Canada’s political and corporate class went into hyperdrive with the Trudeau Liberals’ election in 2015. Last fall, this “win-win” arrangement finally burst onto the front pages with blockbuster reports about the Xi regime’s exertions to monkeywrench the 2019 and 2021 federal elections to the Liberals’ advantage.
That should give you a clue about the answer to the question that’s next up in this series: Why are we even talking about India’s interference in Canada’s affairs? And let’s not lose our sense of humour altogether.
The “discourse” about India’s skullduggery in Canada was just reaching a high point when a mass international panic was put in motion originating in Canada, directed at the Government of India. It certainly wasn’t whipped up by the Government of India.
The whole thing - the posters, the deranged sloganeering at Saturday’s pathetically attended Khalistani rallies, the high-stakes diplomatic uproars - it was all kicked off by a “Sikhs for Justice” conspiracy theory that puts Indian diplomats, not Canadian diplomats, in the crosshairs.
Funny auld world.