Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of National Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan visit the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India on Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Trudeau reiterates denial of Sikh separatists in cabinet, condemns extremism

“We will always stand against violent extremism, but we understand that diversity of views is one of the great strengths of Canada.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he made it “very, very clear” to the chief minister of Punjab that Canada supports a united India and condemns violent extremism, describing repeated allegations from the leader of the predominately Sikh region that Canadian ministers are separatists as misunderstandings and extremely false.

Trudeau and his Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan met with Amarinder Singh on Wednesday in part to try and mend fences with the state where a majority of Indian Canadians are from.

“We will always stand against violent extremism, but we understand that diversity of views is one of the great strengths of Canada,” Trudeau said. ”I was able to make that very clear to him.”

Related: Trudeau family arrives in India for state visit

Singh told an Indian news agency he raised concerns with Trudeau about money coming out of Canada to support Sikh separatist extremists and about the existence of extremist elements in Canada, including financing for violent attacks in India. He said Trudeau promised he would look into it.

The meeting began with a discussion of Sikh extremism in order to set the record straight, Trudeau said.

He was later asked by reporters whether the government would speak out against Sikh Canadians reportedly displaying martyr posters of the mastermind behind the deadly Air India attack, carried out by Sikh militants in 1985.

“I do not think we should ever be glorifying mass murderers and I’m happy to condemn that,” Trudeau said.

Related: Trudeau announces two-way $1 billion investment deal with India

Singh had refused to meet with Sajjan last spring, saying he was sympathetic to the Sikh separatist cause. Initially, Trudeau was not going to meet with Singh but changed his mind at Sajjan’s request.

Despite the tensions around the separatist issue, Trudeau was warmly welcomed in Amritsar, with banners carrying his likeness around the city.

Thousands of Sikhs greeted Trudeau at the Golden Temple prior to the meeting, lining the walkways, holding hands and calling out religious greetings at one of the holiest sights in Sikhism.

Trudeau will meet with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and has plans to address a Delhi business forum later this week.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Peters Bros. recognized with provincial award

Penticton company wins Contractor of the Year Award

Oliver arena celebrates anniversary with Montreal Canadiens alumni game

Players have the chance to play with or against the Montreal Canadiens alumni

UPDATE: Sagmoen to stand trial

Curtis Wayne Sagmoen will appear on all three Vernon matters this week

Man pulls out gun at Keremeos gas station

RCMP arrested an Olalla man around 10 a.m. Sunday after he pulled a gun earlier that morning.

Godsmack and Volbeat coming to Penticton

Tour includes a stop at the South Okanagan Events Centre

More snow to kick off the week

The Okanagan and Shuswap will see a light dusting of snow Monday night

Federal government plans examination of coerced sterilization

The Liberals have been pressed for a rapid response to recent reports on the sterilizations

Huitema, Cornelius named 2018 Canadian Youth International Players of the Year

Huitema was captain of Canada’s fourth-place team at this year’s FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup

Canada not slowing emissions from oil and gas: environmental groups

New report released at the United Nations climate talks in Poland

Liberal Party moves Trudeau fundraiser from military base

The fundraiser is scheduled for Dec. 19, with tickets costing up to $400

Pipeline protesters arrested at B.C. university

Three protesters were arrested after TRU property allegedly vandalized with red paint

Goodale to ‘examine’ transfer of Rafferty to medium-security prison

Michael Rafferty was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 in the kidnapping, sexual assault and first-degree murder of Tori Stafford

‘Abhorrent’ condition of autistic B.C. boy shows flaws in care system: report

‘Charlie’ was underweight and ‘covered in feces’ when he was removed from his mom’s care

Minister appoints former CIRB chair to resolve Canada Post labour dispute

Postal workers engaged in weeks of rotating walkouts

Most Read