The Trudeau government removed references to the Khalistan movement from a 2018 report of terrorist threats to Canada after activists and multiple MPs claimed the report targeted the community.
Organizations like World Sikh Organization, the Ontario Sikh and Gurdwaras Council and the Ontario Gurdwaras Committee lobbied Members of Parliament, claiming that the report of terrorist threats unfairly maligns them.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Liberal MP Randeep Sarai have both written letters to the Prime Minister asking to remove the references Sikh “Khalistani” terrorism prior to the censor.
“This report unfairly stigmatizes Muslim and Sikh communities, while failing to consider dangerous and unintended consequences. These consequences include the potential to place vulnerable communities and all Canadians at greater risk, by emboldening the harmful stereotypes that fuelled terrorist attacks in Christchurch, Quebec City and Oak Creek” Singh wrote.
Although Singh infers that the report somehow puts these communities in physical harm, the report was actually fair in addressing terror concerns, particularly from Sikh extremists.
“Sikh (Khalistani) extremism also remain[s] of concern because while their attacks in Canada have been extremely limited, some Canadians continue to support these extremist groups, including through financing,” the report originally read.
The government has changed the wording of the report. It now reads that there is a threat from “extremists who support violent means to establish an independent state within India.”
Khalistani extremists are a small group of Sikhs that wish to create an independent nation for the Sikh people in the Punjab region India.
Although small, Khalistani extremists have been responsible for terrorist attacks around the world going back decades — most infamous being the 1985 bombing by Canadian Khalistanis of an Air India flight, which killed 329 people, including 268 Canadians.
India has expressed concerns about Canada’s soft approach to Khalistanis, including the now infamous connection between Justin Trudeau and former extremist Jaspal Atwal.
Former British Columbia Premier and Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh, who is a Sikh, has been very critical of the Liberals soft stance on Khalistanis and those who have criticized the report.
“There is rot in Parliament. This is Trump-like. Questioning your own intelligence community,” he said in a tweet.
“Until recently, the leaders of most Canadian political parties, including Liberals, have been participating in religious processions, including the Baisakhi parade, where floats glorifying Khalistani terrorists are put up. Trudeau’s trip highlighted the tensions and it generated a debate in Canada” he said in an interview on the subject.
Babar Khalsa International and the International Sikh Youth Federation are examples of Khalistani extremist organizations that are currently active in Canada. Canada’s intelligence community recognizes the risks these groups pose, but it appears the governing Liberals do not.