Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s trip to India in February 2018 was a disaster, and this is a common fact known to all Indians. However, this is now being acknowledged in Canada as well and has actually become a poll issue in Canada. From interacting with convicted Khalistani terrorists to wearing cringy attires, Trudeau did not leave any stone unturned to embarrass himself and ruin his relations with India. Royally snubbed by the Narendra Modi government for his links with Khalistanis, Justin Trudeau is struggling to brush the debacle under the carpet to save his image in Canada.
Now, this utter failure of a trip, one that Trudeau is trying his best to forget is being brought under the radar by the opposition Conservative Leader, Andrew Scheer. Scheer claimed, “I don’t believe that anybody in Canada believes that we’re better off under Justin Trudeau when it comes to foreign affairs.” The trip has thus, become an indication as to Canada’s relations with India and why there are so many issues.
To top it off, excerpts from John Ivison’s upcoming book, ‘Trudeau: The Education of a Prime Minister’, have come out which detail just how much of a role the Indian government led by PM Modi had in Justin Trudeau’s debacle.
Trudeau’s former principle secretary, Gerry Butts, blaming the Indian government for Trudeau’s disastrous trip, stated, “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.”
Butts went on to say that the primary reason as to why the trip was perceived so awful by the Canadian voters was because of the photographs of Trudeau and his family in traditional garb, which was described by some as, “too Indian for an Indian”.
The fact that the trip was definitely not the epitome of diplomatic relations was clear to even Justin Trudeau, which he acknowledged at a press gallery dinner. Describing the trip as the disaster that it was, he stated that it was “The trip to end all trips”. Further calling it “the beginning of the end”, he said jokingly, “We didn’t go to India…I don’t remember the India trip.” Trudeau compared the painful experience to the likes of “ripping off of a band-aid”.
Justin Trudeau’s trip to India was disastrous right from the start. For starters, the minister of state for agriculture was sent to receive Justin Trudeau when he landed in India. Considering the importance that the Prime Minister accords to a personal touch in his dealings with world leaders, sending a junior minister to receive Trudeau is a slap on the latter’s face, one that Narendra Modi ensured takes place in order to express India’s displeasure over Justin Trudeau and his party’s links with Khalistan terrorists. Moreover, as is custom, CM Yogi Adityanath did not accompany Justin Trudeau and his family to Agra for their tour of the Taj Mahal.
His choice of attire had made him the laughing-stock of both the nations, but the worst was the fact Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minister’s wife, was pictured with a convicted Khalistani terrorist, Jaspal Atwal, at a dinner event in Mumbai. The picture featured in headlines across several newspapers in India and had caused quite a bit of outrage for such a blatant show of support for an enemy of the Indian state.
While speaking to Ivison for his book, Gerald Butts implied that the Narendra Modi government was actively trying to sabotage his February 2018 India visit, in order to help his Conservative rivals. However, this was far from the case as the Indian government was skeptical of interacting with a leader who supports the Sikh separatist Khalistani groups in his country. Modi did meet Trudeau on the fifth day of his visit, after he issued a statement, saying he supported “one united India” and this policy is “core to what Canada is”.
Now, it seems that the series of disasters, which were brought on by Trudeau himself have become a poll issue for the upcoming elections scheduled in October, 2019. It is an indication to foreign affairs and diplomatic relations, both intrinsic to a Prime Minister and fronts on which Trudeau has miserably failed. However, the fact that Butts is keen to ward off the disasters as a conspiracy by the Indian government is uncalled for because as Scheer put it, “I don’t think Justin Trudeau needed help to have an embarrassing trip.”