Convicted radical Sikh terrorist has deep connections to the Liberal Party of Canada.
(This column originally appeared in the Toronto Sun)
By: Candice Malcolm
Jaspal Atwal, the former terrorist member and would-be assassin who was photographed alongside members of the Canadian delegation in India, is a long-time supporter of the Liberal Party of Canada.
Atwal is a former donor to the federal Grits with deep ties to the party that pre-date Justin Trudeau’s tenure as prime minister. Official records show, for example, that Atwal donated $500 to the Liberal Party of Canada in Surrey, BC, on April 9, 2011.
Following a Toronto Sun report exposing Atwal’s attendance at an official state government event in India, Trudeau tried to distance himself from the man once convicted of the attempted murder of moderate Sikh cabinet minister Malkiat Singh Sidhu while he visited B.C. in 1986.
Trudeau initially refused comment and ignored questions from Indian reporters on Thursday. He later addressed the situation saying, “the individual in question never should have received an invitation, and as soon as we found out we rescinded the invitation immediately.”
Trudeau did not address the fact that Atwal was already in India and had already attended a private government function in India where he was photographed with Sophie Trudeau, Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi and Brampton South Liberal MP Sonia Sidhu.
Instead, Trudeau blamed the ordeal on Surrey Centre rookie MP Randeep Sarai. “The Member of Parliament who included this individual has and will assume full responsibility for his actions,” said Trudeau, without confirming what sort of repercussions Sarai will face or whether Trudeau will kick him out of the Liberal caucus.
Sarai also released a statement, falling on the sword for this monumental international blunder.
“I alone facilitated his request to attend this important event,” said Sarai. “I should have exercised better judgement, and I take full responsibility for my actions.”
Many journalists and experts have been quick to point out that invitations to high-level state functions do not come from back-bench MPs. Guest lists are carefully selected by partisan operatives, scrutinized by the Prime Minister’s Office and vetted by police and security agencies.
The question of how a convicted gunman and former member of a Sikh terrorist organization managed to attend an official state function hosted by Canada’s High Commissioner in India remains unanswered. Further, the response from Trudeau and Sarai do not address Atwal’s deep connections to Trudeau’s party.
The Sun has obtained two photos of Atwal posing in photos with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. One was taken at a Liberal Party of Canada campaign event in Vancouver, British Columbia in May 2015.
The other undated photo appears to be older, when Trudeau had longer hair, and appears to be taken in a private setting outside a home or restaurant.
Trudeau’s spokesman told the Sun that Trudeau “meets with tens of thousands of people,” and that “people often ask to take a picture with the Prime Minister.”
The Sun has also found photographs of Atwal with former Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff and former interim Liberal leader Bob Rae. News reports from 2012 also state Atwal was a board member for a Liberal Party riding association in Surrey, BC.
Atwal’s involvement in Liberal campaigns and his presence at official events in India expose the Trudeau government’s troubling ties to Sikh extremists.
Trudeau’s junket to India has gone from bad to worse.
Being snubbed by Indian officials and teased for his over-the-top costumes is one thing. Wining and dining with a convicted terrorist assassin and fanning the flames of militant Sikh separatists is an order of magnitude more serious.