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

Alberni Valley firefighters head to Fort St. James to assist with B.C. wildfires

‘We need to make sure first and foremost our community is protected’: Gilday

City of Port Alberni agrees to three-year extension of track surface

Bob Dailey Stadium track has experienced ‘degradation and tears’ since resurfacing in 2013

Could Thunder in the Valley roar at Alberni’s airport once more?

City of Port Alberni offered Stamp Avenue as a temporary solution

John Douglas looks forward to a “healthier” Port Alberni

Douglas has resigned from his position at the Port Alberni Shelter Society to run for mayor

B.C. wildfires 2018: Hazy skies impacting crews in spotting new fires

18,000 people are on an evacuation alert, with 3,000 homes under an evacuation order

Minister optimistic after 2 days of Columbia River Treaty negotiations

Canadian and U.S. officials met in Nelson Wednesday and Thursday to discuss future of the treaty

Man dies in B.C. police cell while awaiting court hearing

An independent investigation is underway after a man died while in Penticton police custody Aug. 16

RCMP appeal for tips, dashcam footage in German tourist shooting west of Calgary

The Durango crashed into the ditch after the shooting near the Goodstoney Rodeo Centre

2 nurses attacked at B.C. psych hospital, union calls for in-unit security

PHSA says that in-unit guards would do more harm than good

Former B.C. optician won’t be jailed for sexually assaulting minor

Kenneth Pilkington sentenced to 24 months’ probation for offence three decades ago

Red Cross now accepting donations for those impacted by B.C. wildfires

The Canadian Red Cross is asking for help now and in the weeks and months ahead.

B.C. program to educate parents reduces ‘shaken baby syndrome’ by 35%

Period of PURPLE Crying was launched nearly a decade ago

UPDATED: Vancouver Island community under evacuation alert due to wildfire

BC Wildfire Service says steep terrain near Zeballos poses challenge as “out of control” wildfire approaches homes

Most Read