Atwal's learning the hard way that some crimes are unforgivable

The willingness of Canadians to forgive is not unlimited.

(This column originally appeared in the Toronto Sun)

By: Candice Malcolm

Some crimes can’t be forgiven, and convicted Khalistani terrorist Jaspal Atwal is learning this the hard way.

Atwal was found guilty of attempted murder, for a 1986 assassination attempt the judge described as an act of terror. He was flung back into the news last month when he showed up in India, as part of Trudeau’s delegation — with an official invitation and all.

On Thursday, Atwal held a press conference to denounce his terrorist past. Let’s just say, it didn’t go well.

Atwal didn’t provide any new information and refused to answer basic questions from journalists. Instead, his arrogant lawyer scolded a reporter who dared to ask the wrong question. This spectacle of a lawyer berating a journalist overshadowed Atwal’s statement.

Aside from his lawyer’s public relations fiasco, the major takeaway was that Atwal now denounces both the Khalistani political movement and the use of violence and terrorism to advance this cause.

Atwal tried to distance himself from his terrorist past, and emphasized that he wants to move on with his life. But that’s the problem with terrorism; you can’t just apologize and move on. And that’s why Atwal’s media appearance was such a disaster.

Many questions remain about Atwal and his appearance in India with the Liberal government. And many more questions remain about Atwal himself and his life in Canada.

Did he immigrate to Canada and, if so, why was he admitted if he was a self-proclaimed member of a Khalistani radical movement? Why wasn’t he stripped of his Canadian citizenship after the assassination attempt, an act of terror?

And, the question of the day remains, why wasn’t he screened and vetted by the RCMP and CSIS before rubbing elbows with the Trudeaus in India?

One question that was answered on Thursday was that Atwal adamantly denies that his appearance in India was planned by members of the Indian government.

“There’s no close relations,” stressed his lawyer, between Atwal and any member of the India government. This flies directly in the face of a claim pushed by the Prime Minister’s Office and National Security Advisor Daniel Jean that this scandal was “orchestrated” by “rogue political elements” in India in a bid to embarrass Trudeau.

Trudeau has doubled down on the conspiracy theory, and he needs to explain himself.

As for Atwal, some 32 years later, he’s still plagued by his terrorist past — and that’s because some crimes are simply unforgivable. This is a good lesson for those choosing to join ISIS — either by travelling to the Middle East to join the terrorist army, or by planning their own grisly attacks in the West.  

If you join a terrorist group, if you engage in acts of terrorism, Canadians will not forgive you. Even three decades later. Even if you’re a father and grandfather.

Those who bring their tribal hatreds to Canada, those who engage in acts of war against Canada and our allies, and those who seek to undermine our safety and security will be punished. Not only punished, they will be ostracized and ridiculed, forever persona non-grata.

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