Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau continues to try to explain how a convicted terrorist who attempted to assassinate an Indian cabinet minister became a VIP guest on his tour of India.
The entire tour has been mocked on social media and even ridiculed by Canada’s mainstream media. Trudeau has offered multiple photo-ops in traditional Indian clothing and even attempted local dance moves.
But the presence of Jaspal Atwal on the trip continues to generate outrage from the Conservative opposition, international attention and excuses from the Liberal government.
Atwal, who was convicted of attempted murder while a member of a Sikh terrorst organization, accompanied Trudeau and his retinue on the official trip to India this week. Atwal had attended two receptions and was slated to dine with the Trudeau at the Canadian embassy in Delhi Thursday night before news of Atwal’s past hit Canadian and international media.
One of Trudeau’s Liberal Members of Parliament (MP) has proclaimed a mea culpa in the incident. Randeep Sarai issued a statement following the media firestorm: “I alone facilitated his request to attend this important event. I should have exercised better judgment, and I take full responsibility for my actions.”
Trudeau promised Friday that he would “having a conversation with that MP in Canada next week.”
However, the Prime Miniser’s office was also presenting another narrative for the diplomatic blunder Friday morning. In a background briefing, a senior government official spoke, on the condition of anonymity to reporters, saying Atwal was invited because of “rogue elements” in the Indian government who view Canada with distrust because they believe the Trudeau government is sympathetic towards Sikh separatists.
The official opposition Conservatives are buying none of this, asking how a convicted terrorist and would-be assassin could not be spotted by a routine security check.
Ontario MP and foreign affairs critic Erin O’Toole told The Daily Caller that the incident is symptomatic of Trudeau’s diplomatic insouciance.
“This shows incredibly poor judgment by the prime minister and is a major setback to our relationship with India and reputation around the world,” O’Toole said.
“We want an apology from the PM and a direct accounting on how his office decided upon meetings – from Joshua Boyle to this incident it is not clear whether the PMO is conducting proper reviews.”