Canada’s handsome Prime Minister Justin Trudeau may be the Inspector Clouseau of world leaders.
On a recent trip to India, he made a surprising cultural faux pas, dressing his family and himself in traditional Indian garb. One Indian politician tweeted, “FYI we Indians don’t dress like this every day sir, not even in Bollywood.” The Indian government’s reception of Trudeau has been decidedly lukewarm.
But the gaffe of gaffes occurred yesterday when it was revealed that a man convicted of attempted murder of an Indian politician in Canada had been invited to a state dinner at the embassy in New Delhi.
— Power & Politics (@PnPCBC) February 21, 2018
Jaspal Atwal is shown above with Mrs. Trudeau at a reception in Mumbai on Tuesday.
The latest flashpoint, a swiftly cancelled invitation by the Canadian delegation to Jaspal Atwal — convicted in 1986 of the attempted murder of an Indian politician visiting Canada — came just days after Trudeau had assured his hosts he would not support anyone trying to revive a separatist movement in India.
“The fact that an invitation, which was already extended to Mr. Atwal, has been withdrawn, it basically shows (Canada) have taken into account the concerns which we have,” said Raveesh Kumar, a spokesman for India’s Ministry of External Affairs.
Atwal’s invitation was withdrawn once his links to an organisation banned in India came to light. Trudeau told reporters on Thursday that a Canadian parliamentarian on the trip had taken responsibility for the mistake.
A largely unrecognized figure in India, Atwal was a trending topic on Twitter across the subcontinent on Thursday after images of him in the company of Trudeau’s wife and other Canadian ministers surfaced online.
Well, accidents happen, eh? For the record, Trudeau pandered to Canada’s Sikh minority in the election last year and they apparently made the difference in some races.
Nothing wrong, then, with playing to the home folks while overseas. But the invite to Atwal is only the latest disaster during Trudeau’s trip. It appears the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is giving the cold shoulder to Trudeau as the rock star prime minister has been touring the country since Saturday and will not meet Modi until Friday.
The media won’t let the controversy die and many pundits point to Trudeau’s appearances at Sikh political rallies in Canada where separatists were present.
In 1985, the violence spilled over into Canada, when Sikh separatists bombed an Air India plane that had taken off from Toronto airport, killing all 329 people aboard, including numerous Canadians of Indian descent. The only person who was convicted in the bombing was released in 2017 by Canadian courts after serving two decades in jail.
Analysts point to Trudeau’s appearance at a Sikh event in Toronto last year, where separatist flags and posters depicting an extremist Sikh leader killed in the 1984 Indian Army operation were displayed, as a particular area of contention.
I’m sure Trudeau means well, but shouldn’t he be embarrassed by something like this?
Those poor kids. It’s like dressing a dog up in a dress with a funny hat. Cruel and unusual.
Of course, Trudeau can do little wrong. He’s the Canadian equivalent of Barack Obama and lives a charmed political life. There will be some raised eyebrows about this disastrous trip but not much else.
Can you imagine what the media would say if a conservative in Canada appeared in that getup? Yikes!