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Justin Trudeau is turning a blind eye to extremism

Canadian PM Justin Trudeau addresses supporters earlier this year. Credit: Getty

November 15, 2023 - 7:05pm

Canada

On Sunday, Diwali celebrations in Mississauaga — a Toronto suburb with a significant South Asian population — saw a brawl break out between Indian Hindus and Sikhs wielding pro-Khalistan flags. A video of the incident has gone viral on social media, and is adding fuel to growing tensions between India and Canada. The relationship between the two countries had taken a downward turn after Justin Trudeau accused the Modi government of assassinating prominent Sikh activist Hardeep Nijjar Singh back in September.

The clash has also drawn renewed focus to the accusation that Canada has long been a safe haven for terrorists and extremists. Canada’s first wave of Sikh separatist activism came in the 1980s, when a Khalistan separatist group was implicated in the bombing of a flight which resulted in the deaths of 329 people — the largest loss of life in a terrorist attack in Canadian history. 

Yet the recent streak of Sikh separatist violence in Canada is rooted in a 2014 political movement called Referendum 2020, which coalesced around the idea of a global, independent Sikh homeland in Northern India. The movement picked up steam in Canada, where numerous Sikh activists deemed to be terrorists by the Indian government had immigrated in the preceding decades, setting up gurdwaras and fuelling pro-separatist sentiments in Sikh and Punjabi communities nationwide.

Canada’s immigration, asylum and border control policies have exacerbated the extremist threat in recent years. A 2008 report by the Fraser Institute — a libertarian Canadian public policy think tank — highlighted that Canada’s mass immigration was incompatible with effective security as it overwhelmed efforts by the authorities to screen out threats. In “large immigrant communities that serve as the sea, terrorists swim as fish,” the report claimed. It recommended better screening of potential immigrants, as well as reducing the total number admitted, but events have moved in the opposite direction since.

The country is expected to welcome 1.5 million newcomers over the next three years. Such relentlessly high immigration levels end up creating large, self-contained communities which are constantly replenished, thereby reducing the need and opportunities for integration into the mainstream. 

This process of self-ghettoisation is evident in cities such as Mississauga and Brampton, which serve as destinations for most newcomers from India and Pakistan. Couple that with an explosion in international students coming to the country year after year — over 50% of whom are from Punjab and Haryana in India — and one is left with an overwhelmed security apparatus that can’t possibly keep up with the demands of preventing violent and extremist threats from taking root in cities across Canada.

The charge that the Canadian government has become a “nexus of terrorism”, or at least that it has turned a blind eye to extremism in immigrant communities, can no longer be ignored. From accusations of protecting members of Hezbollah due to the Lebanese group being a “legitimate charity”, to applauding Ukrainian Nazis in Parliament, the government has failed to dispel the claim that Canada has been uncomfortably hospitable to violent terrorists. Massive pro-Palestine rallies across the country and a tenfold increase in hate crimes against Jews since the beginning of the Hamas-Israel conflict are putting a spotlight on Islamist extremism in the nation, too.

Picking sides in international conflicts hasn’t been a winning strategy for Trudeau, but he’s yet to learn his lesson and seems committed to playing partisan politics, deciding which aggrieved party deserves special treatment. This past May, the Prime Minister was criticised by Sri Lankan authorities for commemorating “Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day” to honour the lives lost during the country’s decades-long civil war which came to an end in 2009. 

It’s too early to tell whether Canada — home to a large Sri Lankan diaspora — will see tensions rise between Tamils and Sinhalese as memories of the civil war find a new breeding ground among younger generations. But Trudeau’s cherry-picking of victims will not ensure that Canadians of all stripes live peacefully side by side.


Hina Husain is a Pakistani-Canadian freelance writer based in Toronto.

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Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
8 months ago

Isn’t it time for Trudeau to move on? When is the next general election?

Mustard Clementine
Mustard Clementine
8 months ago

It’s a minority government, so whenever the NDP realizes they may actually end up having better prospects than the Liberals, really.
https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/conservatives-extend-summer-lead-over-liberals-ndp-sees-bump-in-nanos-ballot-tracking-1.6573449
There is a “confidence-and-supply agreement” in place, but it can end at any time.
https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/ndp-singh-trudeau-supply-confidence-1.6992821

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
8 months ago

I got a message from the NDP MP in my riding.
Its clear intention is to identify the progressive vote so, perhaps the NDP is going to not vote with the government and make the election happen, sooner rather than later.

Andrew Roman
Andrew Roman
8 months ago

A lot of Canadians are saying that, in media that is traditionally Liberal. He isn’t listening.

Mark Goodhand
Mark Goodhand
8 months ago

As much as I’d love to see it, ousting Trudeau will achieve little.
Starting with Pearson in 1963, politicians of both parties transformed Canada from a country that was 97% European and overwhelmingly Christian to the multicultural polity we see today.
The Red Ensign that European Canadians fought under in WW1 & WW2 was lowered for the last time in 1965, replaced by the Maple Leaf. A new ruling class had set Canada on a new path. Politicians proudly aspired not to a “melting pot”, but to a “mosaic”.
Canada isn’t really a “nation”, now, or even two nations joined in relative harmony. It’s just a pleasant, prosperous place that provides accommodation to assorted diaspora.
Word Bank figures show that by 1990, 16% of the Canadian population was foreign-born (compared with 6% for the UK). Now, the figure is 22% (vs 13% in the UK).
https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SM.POP.TOTL.ZS?locations=CA-GB-US-AU-NZ
I saw the transformation firsthand in Markham, Ontario, where I lived from 1987 to 1997. Even intelligent, peaceful, prosperous, hard-working immigrants (like those from Hong Kong) completely change the character of a place when they arrive in sufficient numbers.
If the plan is “divide and rule”, Canada is the prototype.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
8 months ago

Meanwhile, Trudeau has now earned the dubious distinction of being the only world leader to be publicly rebuked on Twitter by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu since Hamas’s Oct. 7 terrorist attack. This was in response to some ill-informed, vitriolic comments he made at a press conference condemning Israel for killing civilians. This says a lot, given the lack of love the Jewish state generally gets from the international community.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
8 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

A rebuke from a grifter and crook like Netanyahu can be considered a badge of honour.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
8 months ago

You make a fair point

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
8 months ago

Funny thing. The leader of the Israeli opposition party tweeted something similar. Hmm.

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
8 months ago

I am no longer certain the rogue state of Soviet Canuckistan should be allowed to exist. From sea to sea, the Great White North shall be free!

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
8 months ago

I doubt if Canadians are much interested in advice from the failed state to their south.

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
8 months ago

You mean Maine? We don’t talk about Maine.

Steven Carr
Steven Carr
8 months ago

Canada is further south than California, admittedly not by much.

Last edited 8 months ago by Steven Carr
Bret Larson
Bret Larson
8 months ago

Well, Ive been working to that end for a while in Alberta. More to provide a wedge to get a fairer deal then separation.
But if separation happens I wouldn’t be unhappy.

Sayantani Gupta
Sayantani Gupta
8 months ago

Trudeau’s father was also soft on the extremists, and indeed the perpetrators of the horrific crash of the Air India flight of 1985 have been given lenient treatment thus.
Trudeau has achieved a rare instance of bi- partisan unity in India’s domestic politics- since the secessionists have been openly cheering and celebrating the assassination of Congress Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984 by Khalistani inspired assassin’s, and Trudeau did not bother to stop this public jubilation all over again, the Opposition in India is fully backing the BJP Government in its stance on Canada.
Almost all Sikhs in India donot support the Canadian extremists, which again shows how hollow Trudeau’s backing of Khalistani extremists is.

Walter Schwager
Walter Schwager
8 months ago

What backing? Tolerating maybe

Sayantani Gupta
Sayantani Gupta
8 months ago

Tolerating terrorists? Lovely concept of rights indeed

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
8 months ago

Canadians are turning sharply anti-immigration. The reason is that the general public are finally aware that the high cost of housing and the lack of services like health care are largely due to an unsustainable immigration rate. Canada has admitted a much higher rate of immigrants than other Western countries under Trudeau. The Liberal government is what you would get if you allowed the social justice club from your local high school to run your country. They implement idealistic policies without an implementation plan.

Darlene Craig
Darlene Craig
8 months ago

The Trudeau government is incoherent it seems too me. Massive immigration but not enough housing for them. No real plan. Protests and violence here because of issues in home countries. And if you object you are a “racist”. What is the goal here?

net mag
net mag
8 months ago
Reply to  Darlene Craig

” What is the goal here? :
Votes, pure and simple. “The Liberals let me in. I will vote for them.”

Steven Carr
Steven Carr
8 months ago

Canada was notorious for being a boring country, like Sweden.

Walter Schwager
Walter Schwager
8 months ago
Reply to  Steven Carr

Like we have less gun violence and a better health care system? Fine with me.

Gorka Sillero
Gorka Sillero
8 months ago

Sweden does have gun violence now. I wonder why

james elliott
james elliott
8 months ago

Trudeau has wrecked Canada.

He has committed crimes against his country.

Mrs R
Mrs R
8 months ago

Isn’t it the globalist’s aim that we all
submit to the one world religion?
I’m just going by the evidence of their actions over the past 20 years.

Last edited 8 months ago by Mrs R