The recent sudden death of Canadian-Indian relations on the floor of our House of Commons has all the hallmarks of a Justin Trudeau operation. Starting with the classic Canadian Jedi mind trick where we’re told we don’t need to see that information.
Also his capacity to seize the limelight regardless of the situation or consequences. But while the prime minister stunned Parliament with his assertion that “Canadian security agencies have been actively pursuing credible allegations of a potential link between agents of the Government of India and the killing of a Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar” calling something “credible” is no more conclusive than “creamy and delicious.”
Apparently the PM briefed Opposition Leader Pierre Poilievre privately. But Poilievre later said, “The prime minister hasn’t provided any facts. He provided a statement, and I will just emphasize that he didn’t tell me any more in private than he told Canadians in public. So we want to see more information.” Yes indeed.
Here in the offend-everyone spirit, let me say it could well exist. India is a democracy, albeit flawed. But even more rooted democratic regimes, or rogue agencies within them, sometimes undertake things like, say, blowing up a Greenpeace vessel, and the Indian government might well assassinate “Khalistani” separatists they consider terrorists. As some certainly are.
The incident is also vintage Trudeau in that for years Canadian security agencies have not been actively pursuing credible allegations of Chinese communist interference in our elections, or the prime minister has been brushing them aside when they do. Yet he shows no embarrassment in leaping on this issue in high dudgeon.
Instead, he exudes his usual emotionally convincing outrage. It’s not that he’s a convincing fake; it’s that he genuinely seems to regard all opposition or criticism as perverse and somehow disloyal, and it’s been one of his key political assets because many voters empathize with his sense of victimhood. But it’s surely wearing thin, especially given his repeated reckless lashing out at enemies, from fringe minorities to Alberta politicians to, now, New Delhi.
For one government to accuse another of murder on its territory is a serious breach of diplomatic etiquette. A man more willing to heed unwelcome advice would not have given that speech the way he did, especially since we need India as a counterweight to China, even if we feel no more sympathy for a wobbly democracy than a basic dictatorship.
As too often in public affairs, all parties seem determined to discredit themselves. India’s Ministry of External Affairs said, “Allegations of Government of India’s involvement in any act of violence in Canada are absurd and motivated.” Well, yes. Human actions normally are. The question is: motivated by what? And why do you sound like Radio Moscow?
Of course we can’t let foreign governments of any sort assassinate people in Canada. So for once can our prime minister step out of character and give us a straight account with evidence?