Canadian Conservatives dump their motion on Khalistani 'extremism' after criticism from Sikhs
By Barfi Culture Team
1st March 2018

The Conservative Party of Canada was due to introduce a motion in Parliament today criticising 'Khalistani extremism' and calling on MPs to 'stand with a united India'.

But the motion was widely seen as a ploy to put pressure on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and had been criticised as "political posturing" and an attempt to "tarnish" Sikhs.

(The motion has now been pulled. More details at the end of the article.)

Last night the Conservative MP Michelle Rempel, shadow minister for citizenship and immigration, tweeted, "In light of Trudeau’s disastrous trip to India, and the tensions it’s inflamed, and the negative questions about Canada that it’s raised, the Conservatives are putting forward the following motion for debate tomorrow."

This is the motion in full:

"That the House: (a) value the contribution of Canadian Sikhs and Canadians of Indian origin in our national life; (b) condemn in the strongest terms all forms of terrorism, including Khalistani extremism and the glorification of any individuals who have committed acts of violence to advance the cause of an independent Khalistani state in Canada; and (c) stand with a united India."

The motion is unlikely to be supported by the governing Liberal Party or the NDP, headed by Jagmeet Singh.

The reaction from Canadian Sikhs was not positive either.

One tweeted:

The World Sikh Organisation (WSO) of Canada tweeted:

Its board member Jaskaran Singh Sandhu told Michelle Rempel MP: "You are singling out a single community with this motion, with no nuance or appreciation to the threats to a united India, and the secular Indian state. What recent Khalistani "extremist" act can you pinpoint that warrants a sudden motion like this from @ErinOTooleMP?"

WSO's President Mukhbir Singh added: "No consultation with any Sikh group. This is all political posturing. There hasn't been Khalistan related violence for the past 20+ year. The community has moved on, this is about marginalizing Sikhs in Canada."

Criticism also came from the California-based group Jakara Movement:

Barfi Culture has contacted the NDP for a statement on its position.

Update: This morning the Conservative MP Deepak Obhrai emailed colleagues to say the motion had been delayed. He added it was likely to be introduced in two weeks time, when Parliament resumes.

The motion was pulled after an intensive lobbying operation from Canadian Sikhs. Letters to the leader of the Conservative Party, Andrew Scheer MP, were sent by groups representing Gurdwaras in BC and Ontario, as well as groups such as the WSO.

WSO tweeted: "We have received confirmation that @CPC_HQ has pulled the controversial motion. We are grateful for the dedication of the community and appreciate the ability to have a positive dialogue with public legislators."

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