Trudeau’s confidante takes a dig at Indian govt
Toronto in an astonishing attack that will not help heal fraught ties between India and Canada, the former top advisor to the North American nation’s Prime Minister has accused the Indian Government of sabotaging Justin Trudeau’s visit to India in February 2018 to favour his political opponents.
Gerald Butts, who was Trudeau’s confidant and Principal Secretary to the Canadian PM till he resigned earlier this year, was quoted as saying, “We walked into a buzzsaw — (Narendra) Modi and his government were out to screw us and were throwing tacks under our tires to help Canadian conservatives, who did a good job of embarrassing us.”
This scathing statement is in the forthcoming book, Trudeau: The Education of a Prime Minister, written by senior Canadian journalist John Ivison. The author confirmed to the Hindustan Times that Butts’ comment came during an interview.
Indian diplomats didn’t comment on the matter because it is so politically charged and the Canadian Government has yet to respond to questions from HT on its stand on the incendiary remark from Butts.
Trudeau’s visit to India in February last year was mocked globally, particularly for his over-the-top Indian costumes. But the most troubling aspect was the presence of a person who was once convicted for the attempted assassination of a visiting Minister from Punjab in 1986, at an official reception in Mumbai during Trudeau’s visit . That person, Jaspal Atwal, appeared in a photograph with the PM’s wife and caused a firestorm in Canada. Relations between the two countries suffered as the then Canadian National Security Advisor Daniel Jean suggested to select Canadian media that “rogue elements” in the Indian establishment used Atwal to subvert the trip.
Butts resigned from his post in the PMO earlier this year during a political crisis that hit Trudeau’s Government, and led to the departure of two Cabinet Ministers who alleged that undue pressure was brought by the PMO to go easy on the multinational companu SNC Lavalin, which was facing a bribery investigation. Recently, however, Butts was reinstated in the ruling Liberal Party, to marshal Trudeau’s campaign for re-election, as Federal polls are due in late October.
Relations between India and Canada have come to a standstill since Trudeau’s visit, with no Ministers on either side undertaking a bilateral visit.
There was no immediate comment by Indian officials.