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

Okanagan Eats back for another year

Okanagan Eats features vendors, chef demos, and so much more. This isn’t your average food show.

Kelowna landfill flooding

The ground is soggy at the Kelowna landfill

Open letter to Premier John Horgan

LETTER: Group called First Things First Okanagan promotes action on climate change

Lake Country to get a new winery

A development proposal was approved Tuesday by council

Kelowna social housing project revised

BC Housing tries to mitigate neighbouring concerns

Lt.-Gov. Guichon believes she made the right decision

Outgoing Lt.-Gov Judith Guichon said her most memorable moments weren’t surrounding the election

Salmon Arm RCMP arrest one male on child pornography charges

Search of Canoe residence leads to seizure of computers

Highway 33 to re-open Friday

Traffic expected to resume at around 7 p.m.

VIDEO: Smokers talk pot rules at annual 4-20 event

Annual pot protest-meets-festival in Vancouver attracted hundreds to vendors, concert

New funds, recruits set to alleviate B.C. sheriff shortage

The Government of British Columbia announced new sheriff graduates, funding for more classes

Farnworth says five years too long for feds to deal with organized crime in medical pot

Needs to be dealt with much sooner than that, B.C. Public Safety Minister says

UPDATED: Unions, CP Rail come to agreement, avoiding work stoppage

Locomotive engineers, conductors and signals specialists seeking new collective agreements.

B.C. woman known to hitchhike around province missing

Aislynn Hanson, 18, last seen April 13; known to travel throughout B.C. by hitchhiking

B.C. court relies on Facebook to track down missing defendant

A court in Princeton, B.C. relied on Facebook to track down a B.C. missing his court date

Most Read