The Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made a recent statement voicing concerns over the ongoing farmer protests in Bharat against the agriculture marketing reforms. He made these remarks while addressing the members of Sikh community virtually on the occasion of Guru Nanak Dev Jayanti.
“I would be remiss if I didn’t start by recognising the news coming from India about the protest by farmers. The situation is concerning. We are all very worried about family and friends. I know that’s a reality for many of you. Let me remind you, Canada will always be there to defend the rights of peaceful protest,” Trudeau said.
“We believe in the process of dialogue. We’ve reached out through multiple means to the Indian authorities to highlight our concerns. This is a moment for all of us to pull together,” he further said. Before him, his cabinet colleague, Harjeet Sajjan and some other Canadian Sikh politicans had made some remarks about the protests in Bharat.
However, coming from the Prime Minister, the statement assumes grave significance. Of course, it was more of a political statement as Canada does not have the wherewithal as well any real inclination to “always be there” for anyone. It is no secret that Canada has been a safe haven for Khalistani elements since 1970s. Yesterday, a twitter user @CestMoiz did a thread on how Canadian government was responsible in a great degree for the Kanishk bombing, which led to death of 329 persons.
So the 'Liberal' Dynast who is the current Prime Minister of Canada just jumped in the midst of an internal affair of the Union of India at the behest of his Khalistani votebank.https://t.co/Yzk3JHvkt9
— Harpreet (@CestMoiz) December 1, 2020
Why did Trudeau did that?
Clearly, then as now, the positions of Canadian politicians have been influenced in a large part by electoral considerations. Trudeau promised to be the liberal knight in shining armour when he became the PM in 2015. At least, he tried to look the part. However, due to the inept handling of the government and his various missteps, he has rapidly lost the confidence of the Canadian people. In the 2019 elections, his Liberal party lost the majority in the Canadian House of Commons and his government is now dependent on the opposition parties for survival.
There are already rumors that Trudeau wants snap elections next year in 2021 when the mood is a bit better after COVID vaccines and the stimulus package revives some of his popularity. The current statement of the PM, should be seen in that context as he looks to gather more support for the coming elections, specially from Sikhs. Due to similar considerations, major opposition parties of Canada also deemed it necessary to release statements on the matter. Last week saw protests in Pakistan, Belarus and France, among other places. Some of these were violent and met with police action. However, Trudeau or other Canadian politicians, failed to mention any of these. Clearly, there is a reason.
Bharat responded in a firm manner. Anurag Srivastava, spokesperson, Ministry of External Affairs said “We have seen some ill-informed comments by Canadian leaders relating to farmers in India. Such comments are unwarranted, especially when pertaining to the internal affairs of a democratic country. It is also best that diplomatic conversations are not misrepresented for political purposes,”.
Apart from the government, most leaders across the political divide questioned the locus standi of Mr. Trudeau to interfere in issues concerning Bharat. Congress official spokesperson also questioned the right of Trudeau to comment on matters pertaining to Bharat. AAP too objected to comments of Canadian PM through Raghav Chaddha. However AAP supporters like Dhruv Rathee, and Congress leaders like Srivatsa Y B surprisingly welcomed the foreign interference in Bharat’s affairs. Whether this is due to a dichotomy in ideology or due to duplicity of character is still a moot question.
Canada’s opposition to MSP and FCI procurement by Bharat
It is curious to note that during the trade talks in agriculture sector, Canada has always taken such positions that are in opposition of Bharatiya farmers. In the World Trade Organisation, it has repeatedly opposed the farm subsidies given by the government to Bharatiya farmers.
It must be noted that Canada and other western countries want Bharat to end the MSP regime, stop giving fertilizer subsidy, stop public procurement through FCI at MSP or at least lower the stock holding limits under National Food Security Act by FCI. They also want Bharat to open its market for foreign agriculture products, which are cheaper. Their contention is that Bharat’s subsidies “distort the agriculture market” and discourage a fair playing field for foreign farmers. Canada has taken these positions since at least the accession of Trudeau to the post of PM until the latest 2019 negotiations. It is an entirely another matter that Canada itself subsidizes farming to the tune of billions of dollars every year!
Canadian Prime Minister and other leaders should probably focus more on the domestic front and look at reports of its own think tanks that tell about how Khalistan is a big security challenge for Canada too. They should correct the injustices in their own country against Inuits and other minority communities.
Bharat has an established democracy and our farmers talk to our government if they have a problem. If Trudeau and company feels that Bharat treats them unfairly, they should walk the talk and drop their anti Bharatiya farmer trade demands. Actions speak louder than words.