Canada supports the rights of citizens to ‘speak out’ even if it ‘irritates’ India: Trudeau | World News - Hindustan Times
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Canada supports the rights of citizens to ‘speak out’ even if it ‘irritates’ India: Trudeau

Apr 11, 2024 11:15 AM IST

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made this statement in the context of questions about allegations of Indian interference in Canada’s internal affairs

Toronto: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that his government defends the rights of citizens to “speak out” even if it irritates the Narendra Modi government in New Delhi.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (right), tours a modular home construction facility before making a housing announcement in Calgary, Alberta, on April 5. (AP)
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (right), tours a modular home construction facility before making a housing announcement in Calgary, Alberta, on April 5. (AP)

Trudeau made this statement in the context of questions about allegations of Indian interference in Canada’s internal affairs. “The previous Conservative government was known for its very cosy relationship with the current Indian government whereas our government has always stood up to defend the minorities in Canada and the rights of minorities to speak out even if it irritates their home countries overseas.”

These remarks came as part of a nearly three-hour long appearance by Trudeau before the ongoing Public Inquiry into Foreign Interference in Federal Electoral Processes and Democratic Institutions, which is headed by Justice Marie-Josee Hogue.

He also referred to his statement in the House of Commons on September 18 last year about there being “credible allegations” of a potential link between Indian agents and the killing of pro-Khalistan figure Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey, British Columbia, three months earlier.

“How we stood up for Canadians, including the very serious that I brought forward of the killing of Nijjar, demonstrates our government’s commitment to defending the rights and freedoms of Canadians. He cited “how we stood up for Canadians, including the very serious case that I brought forward to parliament of the killing of Nijjar, demonstrates our government’s commitment to defending the rights and freedoms of Canadians.”

Those rights, he said, included those to be free from “extortion, coercion, interference by a country that they left behind”.

While the focus on the Inquiry has largely been on the foreign interference activities conducted by China, particularly in the 2019 and 2021 elections, it has also seen documents released by intelligence agencies that point to such activity by other countries including India, Russia, Iran and Pakistan.

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