Trudeau's national security adviser to testify before committee on India trip today

Trudeau's national security adviser to testify before committee on India trip today
From CBC - April 16, 2018

The prime minister's national security adviser will appear before a House of Commons committee today to explain a controversial briefing he gave reporters about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's recent trip to India.

Daniel Jean's appearance before the House of Commons'national security and defence committee is something for which the Conservatives have lobbied hard.Last month, they even held a marathon voting session on a series of motions in the House that lasted the better part of 24 hours to pressure Trudeau to let Jean testify before MPs.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said he wanted Jean to explain why he tried to blame Trudeau's trouble-laden trip on rogue political elements in India seeking to embarrass the PM and pressure him to crack down on Sikh extremists in Canada.

While Trudeau was touring India in February, Jean gave reporters in Ottawa an off-the-record briefing that was intended to explain how a former Sikh extremist and failed political assassin managed to get himself invited to events with the Trudeaus.

Jaspal Atwala Canadian of Indian descent who was convicted of attempted murder for trying to assassinate Indian cabinet minister Malkiat Singh Sidhu while he was visiting Vancouver Island in 1986turned up at an official event and got an invitation to another at the Canadian High Commission in Dehli.

Photos of Atwal posing with a Liberal cabinet minister and Trudeau's wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, at an Indian film industry event in Mumbai were sent to media outlets, including the CBC, touching off a public relations firestorm for the Trudeau government.

Liberal Surrey Centre MP Randeep Sarai said he was the one who submitted Atwal's name to the High Commissioner to be added to the guest list for the dinner-reception. The Vancouver-born Sarai was one of 14 Liberal MPs travelling with Trudeau on the official visit.

The incident complicated Trudeau's efforts at the time to convince India that Canada stands firm against extremism and does not back Sikh separatism, or the violence that has been employed by some to pursue it.

'Some clarity would be helpful'

Once the media reports about Jean's off-the-record briefing surfaced, the Conservatives accused the Liberals of trying to shift the blame for the affair onto Indian officials to avoid accepting responsibility for having invited Atwal themselves.

The Conservatives asked that Jean provide the same briefing to MPs that he had given to reporters. Trudeau offered instead to have Jean give Scheer a classified briefing.

Scheer eventually agreed to the briefing, on the condition that Jean would first give the House of Commons national security and defence committee an unclassified version of the briefing.

Both government and opposition MPstold CBC Radio's The Housethey will be looking for more transparency during the meeting.


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