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

Tseshaht First Nation athlete honoured with provincial sports award

Rain Thomas competes in three different sports

Alberni Valley firefighters pass the boot for Muscular Dystrophy

Annual fundraiser started in 1967 with Port Alberni Fire Department

Cougars spotted in Sproat Lake neighbourhoods

ACRD director warns residents to keep children, pets close

Who are the Frozen Franklins? Find out at the Alberni Valley Museum

The museum and Echoes in the Ice exhibit are open April 20 during Easter weekend

Former teacher returns to Port Alberni to lead Alzheimer’s Walk

Jory Mitchell celebrates his journey with late wife and her Alzheimer’s diagnosis

Sri Lanka invokes war-time military powers after nearly 300 killed in Easter bombings

Sri Lanka’s minister of tourism says 39 foreign tourists were killed in the Easter Sunday attacks

Bodies of 3 mountain climbers recovered after last week’s Banff avalanche

The men disappeared while attempting to climb the east face of Howse Peak in the Icefields Parkway

Happy birthday: Queen Elizabeth II turns 93 on Easter Sunday

Sunday is the first of two birthday celebrations each year for the queen

RCMP confirm witnesses say body found at Kelowna’s Gyro Beach

Police tape is blocking part of the beach and several RCMP officers are on scene.

B.C. fire department rescues kittens

Enderby homeowner not aware kittens in wood pile near garbage pile fire that got out of hand

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Global Affairs warns Canadians in Sri Lanka there could be more attacks

A series of bomb blasts killed at least 207 people and injured hundreds more

Most Read