Justin Trudeau is wrong, yet again | HT Editorial
The ministry of external affairs sharply rebuked comments by Canadian politicians on the farmer protests, coming close to calling Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a speaker of untruths. There is a certain pattern in this. Canadian liberal politicians, under pressure from local Sikh voters, often feel the need to comment on anything concerning Punjab. What is unusual is that the present protests have no international repercussions. The Narendra Modi government has the legitimacy and mandate to carry out domestic reforms. Punjab’s farmers have the right to protest while the rest of India will express its viewpoint when it next goes to polls. All of this is within the realms of normal democratic procedure.
There is of course room to criticise totalitarian regimes if they violate basic human rights — which is why calling out China for its Uighur concentration camps, for instance, which Canada has done more vociferously than India, is legitimate. But intervening on a policy or legislative issue within a democracy defies international norms.
What emerged was a blatantly gratuitous intervention over an issue Mr Trudeau probably knows little about. Ironically, Canada has, for years, officially criticised India’s Minimum Support Price policy. There has been a global tendency towards letting diplomacy be infected by localitis, where local politics is allowed to overwhelm foreign policy positions. Judgments are best arrived by focusing on the overall bilateral relations which, in this case, face only one challenge — Mr Trudeau’s penchant for letting domestic messaging prevail over a key partnership.