Canada: Trudeau-led govt pushes back against pressure from key political ally to boycott G20 events in India
Senior Canadian officials have said that there is optimism the G20 will offer a platform for multiple Canadian ministers to engage with their Indian counterparts on the margins of the various verticals of the global forum
Toronto: The Canadian government has pushed back against pressure from principal political ally, the New Democratic Party (NDP), to boycott G20 events in India next year.
Responding to queries from the Hindustan Times, a spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada, the country’s foreign ministry, said in an email, “The G20 is a critical forum for the world’s major economies to drive progress on economic growth, trade, jobs, sustainable development, energy and food security, global health, and climate change.”
“Canadians expect us to engage with the members of the G20 to advance common objectives and to take every opportunity to defend our values including our commitment to the defence of human rights, and our interests,” the spokesperson added.
On December 1, Heather McPherson and Blake Desjarlais, MPs from the NDP, led by Indo-Canadian Jagmeet Singh, called upon the ruling Liberal Party government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to “engage in a diplomatic boycott of G20 activities in Kashmir, India. The call comes in response to the Liberal government’s inaction to condemn India’s BJP government’s discriminatory anti-minority laws.”
That statement also featured the World Sikh Organisation (WSO’s) president Tejinder Singh Sidhu, who said, “While increased trade ties in the Indo-Pacific region are important, Canada cannot turn a blind eye to the deteriorating plight of minority communities in India.”
However, senior Canadian officials told the Hindustan Times that there is optimism the G20 will offer a platform for multiple Canadian ministers to engage with their Indian counterparts on the margins of the various verticals of the global forum.
The Trudeau government is interested in repairing ties with India as evidenced by the recent Indo-Pacific Strategy released in late November, which described it as “a critical partner in Canada’s pursuit of its objectives” in the region.
“Canada and India have a shared tradition of democracy and pluralism, a common commitment to a rules-based international system and multilateralism, mutual interest in expanding our commercial relationship and extensive and growing people-to-people connections,” it added. The section about India contrasted with that referencing China, which was largely negative in nature.
However, Trudeau heads a minority government, which requires the support of the NDP to remain in power till 2025, when the next elections are scheduled.