Trudeau still owes us an explanation over Atwal

We deserve an explanation.

(This column originally appeared in the Toronto Sun)

By: Candice Malcolm

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau owes Canadians an explanation as to how convicted Khalistani terrorist Jaspal Atwal ended up in his entourage in India.

Instead of being up front and honest, the Trudeau government has gone to great lengths to mislead Canadians at every twist and turn of this ongoing scandal. The theatrics in Ottawa over the past 24 hours shows us just how far Trudeau will go to cover for himself and to hide his troubling relationships with extremists.

The Trudeau government has come up with the following excuses to justify this episode: that the invitation to Atwal was an honest mistake, that it was the doing of Canada’s High Commissioner to India, that it came from a backbench MP who acted alone, and finally, that “rogue political agents” within the Indian government “orchestrated” the affair to embarrass Trudeau.

Trudeau doubled down on the rogue agents’ conspiracy in the House of Commons, prompting the Indian government to issue a statement calling our prime minister’s remarks “baseless and unacceptable.”

To make matters worse, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale failed to answer a basic question over whether his government suspected that Liberal MP Randeep Sarai was part of the “rogue agents” who allegedly conspired against Trudeau. It should have been an easy yes or no.

If Canadians weren’t suspicious enough already, we learned it was National Security Advisor Daniel Jean – a non-partisan civil servant – that provided the briefing to journalists and peddled the rogue agents’ conspiracy. This briefing was organized by the Prime Minister’s Office, and journalists could only attend if they promised to keep Jean’s identity a secret.

Trying to force Trudeau to play his hand, the Conservative opposition resorted to their own stunts in Ottawa this week.

The Conservatives put forth a motion to demand that Jean testify in front of a Parliamentary committee over the Atwal affair. Minister Goodale told reporters last month Jean couldn’t testify because he believed the matter was top secret and a briefing could expose national security secrets.

Jean was able to anonymously brief journalists in the midst of the India scandal, but apparently, he cannot repeat this information to our elected officials. Or so we’re told.

The Liberals voted down the Conservative motion, and in response, the Conservatives used a procedural loophole to force MPs to individually vote for over 200 motions, one motion at a time, leading to continuous voting that starting on Thursday evening and continued well into Friday afternoon.

If Liberal MPs left their seats and lost a vote, it could have triggered an election.
This is not exactly time – or taxpayer money – well spent.

This spectacle could have been avoided if the Trudeau government simply agreed to allow Jean to testify, and to tell MPs the same thing he told journalists.

Trudeau’s refusal gives us even more reason to suspect foul play was involved – in both the scandal and the cover up.

Trudeau’s approval rating has fallen dramatically since his disastrous trip to India. According to recent public opinion polling, more Americans approve of President Donald Trump than Canadians approve of Trudeau.

Trudeau embarrassed us in India with his over-the-top outfits, his silly dancing and the total lack of substance on the trip. But we’re used to being embarrassed by Trudeau. The Atwal scandal suggests something more corrupt from Trudeau: a willingness to court extremists in order to win votes, and then to abuse power to cover it up.