The Hindustan Times – Sikh non-profit supplies necessities to public amid panic buying

The organisation, United Sikhs, has appealed to the public to avoid, “panic buying” of supplies.

Ottawa – Ontario – Canada, 23 March 2020. A Sikh non-profit has launched an emergency food bank in Canada to assist with the overwhelming demand for food, supplies and hygiene products to help those in need amid the coronavirus pandemic, it was reported.

The organisation, United Sikhs, has appealed to the public to avoid, “panic buying” of supplies, the Global Newswire said in a report.

“When the general public is asked to stock their shelves for an undetermined amount of time, they overlook a great number of families who cannot afford to do so,” said Operations Manager, Canadian Chapter, Harpreet Singh.

“For those families, United Sikhs is dedicated to making sure they receive the supplies they need.”

The food bank free supplies include canned goods, hot meals, dry goods and medicines.

In a statement, the organisation’s CEO Jagdeep Singh, saidd: “Our seniors, children and vulnerable groups with pre-existing medical conditions are suffering the most due to this pandemic.

“Those who are financially able should consider donating to United Sikhs today so this free Emergency Food Bank of life essentials can be expanded to everyone who needs it.”

Canada has so far reported 1,469 confirmed coronavirus cases with 21 fatalities. – Canada: Four persons of Indian origin appointed to Justin Trudeau’s Cabinet

Among them is former law professor Anita Anand, who is the first Hindu minister in the country’s Cabinet.

Ottawa – Ontario – Canada, 21 November 2019. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has appointed four persons of Indian origin to his 36-member Cabinet, Hindustan Times reported on Thursday. They are Navdeep Singh Bains, Harjit Singh Sajjan, Bardish Chagger, and Anita Anand, who is the first Hindu minister in the Cabinet.

While Sajjan will remain the minister of defence, Bains has been appointed the minister of innovation, science and industry. Chagger is the new minister of diversity, inclusion and youth, while Anand will lead the ministry of public services and procurement.

Anand is one of the only two new members of parliament elevated to the Cabinet along with Quebec environmentalist Steven Guilbeault, reported CBC Canada. She has taken charge at a time when the government is putting the finishing touches on a multi-billion dollar purchase of new fighter jets.

A resident of Nova Scotia, Anand has taught law at the University of Toronto, and is known as an expert in shareholder rights.

Meanwhile, Trudeau moved Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland to the ministry of intergovernmental affairs and will tasked with keeping the minority government afloat and prevent a national unity crisis, The Guardian reported.

She will also have the symbolic role of deputy prime minister. Freeland will be responsible for the government’s dealings with the country’s western provinces that have increasingly come into conflict with the prime minister’s environmental policies that they believe are harming the struggling oil and gas industry.

The former foreign minister, who is known as a skilled negotiator, will also continue overseeing the country’s relationship with the US. She has been replaced at the foreign ministry by Quebec-based international lawyer Francois-Philippe Champagne.

His appointment, along with that of Montreal’s Pablo Rodríguez as House leader, is indicative of the growing importance of Bloc Quebecois, a federal party pushing for a sovereign Quebec that is crucial to the survival of Trudeau’s minority administration.

Former Trade Minister Jim Carr will be the prime minister’s special representative to Alberta, Saskatchewan and the central province of Manitoba to ensure they have “a strong voice in Ottawa”.

Asian Lite News – Special – 18 MPs and Sikh separatism in Canada

Is Canada’s Justin Trudeau government pandering to Sikh separatism? Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh had said the Trudeau government’s move to remove reference to “Sikh extremism” was politically motivated.
A special report by Asian Lite News.

Ottawa – Ontario – Canada, 25 October 2019. The election of 18 members from the Sikh community grabs headlines across the world. It is more than the elected MPs from the Sikh community in India. But is it going to improve Indo-Canada ties?

Leader of Canada’s second largest party, Jagmeet Singh, may be a kingmaker in Ottawa, but for New Delhi he remains a ‘pro-Khalistani and a pro-Pakistani’ ringleader despite his deep Panjabi roots In India.

As many as 14 of the 18 Punjabi candidates fielded by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party registered wins, mostly in the suburbs around Toronto and Vancouver. This time, a record half-a-dozen turbaned Sikhs will sit in the House.

Those who won from the Liberal party are Hoshiarpur’s Harjit Sajjan (Vancouver South), Ludhiana’s Bardish Chagger (Waterloo) and Navdeep Bains (Mississauga Malton), all three are ministers.

The others from the party who won are Sukh Dhaliwal (Surrey Newton), Gagan Sikand (Mississauga Streetsville), Rameshwar Sangha (Brampton Centre), Randeep Sarai (Surrey Centre), Maninder Sidhu (Brampton East), Kamal Khera (Brampton East), Ruby Sahota (Brampton North), Sonia Sidhu (Brampton South), Anju Dhillon (Lachine Lassalle) and Raj Saini (Kitchener Centre) and Anita Anand (Oakville).

Of the 19 Punjabi candidates fielded by the Conservatives, only four won. They are former MP Tim Uppal (Edmonton Mill Woods), third-timer Bob Saroya (Markham Unionville), first-timer Jasraj Hallan (Calgary Forest Lawn) and Jagdeep Sahota (Calgary Skyview).

Uppal is the brother-in-law of Congress MLA from Jalandhar Cantt, Pargat Singh. Liberal Anita Anand is a first time MP.

In the 2015 elections, the 1.25 million-strong Indo-Canadian community doubled its representation in the Parliament with the election of 19 MPs.

Indo-Canadians comprise 3 per cent of the population of Canada.

In 2011, almost all the Indo-Canadian MPs were Conservatives, but the trend changed in 2015. The victory of Justin Trudeau in 2015 catapulted 15 Indo-Canadian Liberals to the Parliament in Ottawa.

Among Canada’s half-million strong Sikh community quite a number are reported to be supporters of Sikh extremism. In April, the Justin Trudeau government removed a reference to Sikh extremism from a report that had earlier termed Sikh terrorism as one of the five threats facing Canada.

Pro-Khailistani groups had criticised the “Public Report on the Terrorism Threat to Canada” released last December by the Canadian Department of Public Safety.

The removal of reference to Sikh terrorism was seen as an attempt to woo Canadian Sikhs, and came just ahead of Prime Minister Trudeau’s visit to a Vancouver gurdwara for Baisakhi festivities. According to the now-deleted portions of the report, Sikh radicalism remains one of Canada’s top five flavors of homegrown terrorism, alongside Islamic radicalism and far-right fanaticism.

Under the heading “Sikh (Khalistani) Extremism,” the report noted that “some individuals in Canada continue to support Sikh (Khalistani) extremist ideologies and movements”.

It said that “two key Sikh organizations, Babbar Khalsa International and the International Sikh Youth Federation, have been identified as being associated with terrorism and remain listed terrorist entities under the Criminal Code.”

The report cited the 1985 bombing of Air India Flight 182 by British Columbia-based Sikh extremists. It noted that there were “extremely limited” instances of Khalistani violence on Canadian soil, and added that both Babbar Khalsa International and the International Sikh Youth Federation continue to be blamed by Indian authorities for ongoing violence.

The report explicitly referred to Canadian-based “financing” for the Khalistani organisations.

Sikh community leaders and Sikh members of the ruling Liberal Party protested against the report which they termed as an attack on Sikhism. Pro-Khalistan group Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) demanded Prime Minister Trudeau’s resignation over the report.

Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, SFJ legal adviser, in a statement said: “For close to a year you and your government stood behind a completely unsubstantiated terror report that labelled our community as Sikh extremists or terrorists.

It’s despicable that you drop the offensive language from your report the day before you come calling for money and votes in Vancouver.”

Latest reports suggest that Jagmeet Singh is also trying to bring Khalistani and Kashmiri separatists under one umbrella in Canada. Recently he held a meeting in this connection at his residence in Ontario.

The report was then officially softened in April, to coincide with Trudeau’s attendance at a Baisakhi parade in British Columbia.
Mention of “Sikh extremism” and their motive of a “Sikh homeland” were expunged. Instead, there was a vague sentence on “Extremists who Support Violent Means to Establish an Independent State Within India.”

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh had said the Trudeau government’s move to remove reference to “Sikh extremism” was politically motivated.

“The Trudeau government has taken this decision under political pressure and is targeted to woo Sikhs in the election year. Trudeau is playing with fire as the decision will hit Indo-Canadian ties. Removal of reference to Sikh extremism will also pose a threat to India’s national security” Amarinder Singh said.

Canadian politician Ujjal Dosanjh a former federal Liberal cabinet minister and NDP Premier of British Columbia in an interview to the Sun said that with the move Trudeau’s government “has bowed to hard-right Khalistanis”.

“If he had bowed in the same way to hard-right fundamentalist Christians on any issue, there would be devastating criticisms of him by the Liberals, Conservatives and NDP. Except in this particular case the identity politics has won the day.

This is an extreme case of political pandering by Mr Trudeau. He capitulated to the hard-right Khalistanis and undermined the Canadian intelligence agencies or at least their independence in the way they want to identify their threats.”

Jagmeet Singh the King Maker

New Democratic Party (NPD) leader Jagmeet Singh, a contender in Monday’s Canadian general elections and also the first turban-wearing Sikh to sit as a provincial legislator in Ontario, has reached out to young voters in the country via TikTok, the video sharing app.

Singh has made it a priority to try to connect with young voters through his campaign, using tools and strategies other political leaders either cannot or have chosen not to try, CBC News reported on Sunday.

A dossier prepared by Indian Intelligence agencies says that Jagmeet, leader of the New Democratic Party(NDP), not only shelters activists of Khalistan in Canada, he leads the anti-Indian movement in the Americas, more vociferously, after India revoked special status to Jammu and Kashmir, early August 2019.

To the surprise of many diplomats in South Block, the seat of India’s foreign office in New Delhi, Singh, born to immigrant Indian parents, organised a conference of pro-Khalistan activists in Ontario in 2013, aimed at maligning the image of India abroad.

Two years later in 2015, as legislature member of NDP, Singh appeared at a pro-Khalistan rally in San-Francisco. He blatantly showered praises for dreaded terror leader Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale, killed in a gunfight in Operation Blue Star.

In 2016, Singh went a step further when he endorsed the use of violence as a legitimate form of resistance to achieve an independent Sikh homeland out of India. Since 2012, Jagmeet Singh now 40, has been on the radar of Indian Intelligence agencies.

On a specific report of Research and Analysis Wing (RA&W), India’s external Intelligence agency, Singh was denied a visa in 2013 for his anti-Indian stance.

The RA&W revealed in one its report that Singh had been funding Khalistani outfits, operating from Pakistan. He is also connected with prominent Khalistani and Kashmiri separatist groups based in different countries of Europe.

Latest reports suggest that Jagmeet Singh is also trying to bring Khalistani and Kashmiri separatists under one umbrella in Canada. Recently he held a meeting in this connection at his residence in Ontario.

After the abrogation of Article 370 by the Modi government, Singh had expressed his support to pro-Pakistan propaganda on Kashmir. In various local media platforms Singh issued statements against India and accused the country of human rights violations in the region.

“I want the people of Kashmir to know that I stand with you, I stand against the injustices happening, and I denounce what India is doing to the people of Kashmir,” he told the media.

Though Singh’s meteoric rise in Canadian politics is seen as triumph of multiculturalism but there are many Canadians of Indian origin who are now questioning NDP leader on his proximity to sympathisers of slain terror kingpin Talwinder Singh Parmar, prime suspect in Kanishka (Air India) bombing.

Parmat, the militant who lead the Babbar Khalsa outfit still has many followers in Canada, allegedly having close ties with Singh.

Sources in the Ministry Of External Affairs said that India is watching the developments in Ottawa closely. As far the political rise of Jagmeet Singh is concerned, New Delhi’s stand is quite clear.

Those found harbouring terror outfits or their supporters would not be entertained in India. A point also endorsed and acknowledged by foreign policy makers in Canada.

There are many people outside India, Sikh or non-Sikh who are critical of the way India treats its minorities. Many Panjabi Sikhs in the UK and Canada would like to see a state of Khalistan, outside the Union of India. There are links between ‘Khalistani’ and Kashmiri’ separatists in both countries.

These people are separatists, but not extremists or terrorists. In democratic countries like Canada or the UK it is legal to campaign for an independent Quebec or Scotland. India is not a democracy, and it defends itself and its appalling human rights record by equating separatism with extremism and terrorism.
Man in Blue – Canada: 18 Sikh leaders elected to Parliament, five more than India

One of the Sikh leaders, Jagmeet Singh, is being seen as a kingmaker because Justin Trudeau, who lost majority, will need his help to form the government.

Ottawa – Ontario – Canada, 23 October 2019. As many as 18 Sikhs were voted to the Canadian Parliament in the recently-concluded federal elections. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday won a second term after his Liberal Party secured 157 of 338 seats.

However, Trudeau will lead a minority government as his party failed to secure the majority of 170. The main opposition, the conservatives, secured 121 seats.

The number of Sikhs in the Canadian Parliament’s lower house, the House of Commons, is higher than those in India’s Lok Sabha even though Sikhs make up about 2% of the population in both countries, The Times of India reported on Wednesday. India has 13 Sikh MPs in the Lower House.

Among the newly-elected Sikh MPs in Canada, 13 are from the Liberal Party, four from the Conservative Party and one is from the New Democratic Party.

The Liberals include Harjit Singh Sajjan, Randeep Singh Sarai and Sukh Dhaliwal from British Columbia; Navdeep Singh Bains, Gagan Sikand, Rameshwar Singh Sangha, Maninder Singh Sidhu, Kamal Khera, Ruby Sahota, Sonia Sidhu, Bardish Chagger and Raj Saini from Ontario, and Anju Dhillon from Quebec.

Alberta MPs Tim Singh Uppal, Jasraj Singh Hallan and Jag Sahota, and Ontario’s Bob Saroya are Conservative members. New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh won from British Columbia province. Jagmeet Singh is being seen as a kingmaker because Trudeau’s party will need his New Democratic Party’s help to form the government.

The New Democratic Party won 24 seats, losing nearly 50% of the seats it had won in 2015 but the Left-leaning party is still expected to play a major role.

The Globe and Mail – Jagmeet Singh addresses turban head-on in new Quebec NDP advertisement

Kristy Kirkup

Ottawa – Ontario – Canada, 04 September 2019. Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is including his identity as a turbaned Sikh in his pitch to voters in a province immersed in debate over separating the state from religious symbols.

Mr Singh, who is expected to face a fierce battle in Quebec in the forthcoming campaign, is featured in a new advertisement that begins by showing the leader with his hair down, a marked difference from his usual appearance, where his hair is concealed under coloured turbans.

The ad release comes as Mr Singh is dealing with challenges such as slumping fundraising, naming a roster of candidates and the Tuesday announcement that 14 former candidates from the New Brunswick NDP are now joining the provincial and federal Green parties.

Mélanie Richer, a spokesperson for Mr Singh, played down the announcement from the Greens on Tuesday, adding the NDP will soon be announcing a full slate of candidates in New Brunswick and that “people change their mind for who they would like to support.”

The party is also hoping that through its Quebec advertisement, set to be circulated online and on television, that it can deliver a message that its leader may look different but that he shares progressive values on issues such as climate change.

Intense debate has played out in Quebec over a law barring public-sector employees such as teachers from wearing religious symbols in the workplace.

For his part, Mr Singh said he will not shy away from talking about his turban.

“What I want to achieve with that is assure folks that I kind of get Quebeckers have had to fight, for respect, for space, for their language, for their identity,” he said.

“It has been tough. I’ve had to as well, fight for a lot of things in my life and I get that it is not easy.”

The advertisement amounts to a show of authenticity for the leader, said NDP Quebec lieutenant Alexandre Boulerice, adding Quebeckers will appreciate that he is being genuine about who he is. – Statement by the World Sikh Organization on India’s revocation of Kashmir’s autonomy

Sikh24 Editors

Ottawa – Ontario – Canada, 06 August 2019. The World Sikh Organization of Canada is deeply concerned by the Government of India’s revocation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.

Article 370 gave the State of Jammu & Kashmir the right to its own constitution and decision-making processes for all matters except defence, communications and foreign affairs. Article 370 dates back to 1949 when Kashmir agreed to become part of the Indian Union on the condition that it would retain a degree of autonomy.

The revocation of Article 370 came unannounced and accompanied by a bill to divide and reorganize the State of Jammu & Kashmir into two Union Territories. The freshly divided State of Jammu & Kashmir would relinquish major powers to the Central Government but would retain a state legislature while the newly carved out State of Ladakh would be under direct central governance.

The shocking measures adopted today, came after the deployment of 35,000 extra troops into Kashmir in recent days- an area that is already one of the most militarized regions in the world. Authorities have also suspended internet services creating a blackout of the entire region.

Many Kashmiri political leaders have been arrested and taken into custody. Late Sunday in Kashmir, Indian forces laid steel barricades and razor wire on roads and intersections and issued a security order banning public meetings, rallies and movement and the closure of schools.

WSO President Mukhbir Singh said today:

“The Indian Government’s revocation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution and the division and reorganization of Jammu & Kashmir is shocking and unprecedented. Kashmir joined the Indian Union based on the terms set out in Article 370 and to withdraw those protections without due process or consultations with the people of Kashmir flies in the face of democratic values and norms.

The Indian government has acted in an authoritarian manner by stripping Jammu & Kashmir of its constitutionally mandated autonomy and relegating it to an occupied territory. The rule of law and basic democratic values have not been respected.

We fear for the people of Kashmir as their political leadership is under mass arrest and their civil rights have been suspended. The international community must not silently observe as human rights are trampled in Kashmir.”

The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) is a non-profit organization with a mandate to promote and protect the interests of Canadian Sikhs, the irrespective of race, religion , gender, ethnicity, social and economic status.

Ottawa Citizen – Leader of India’s Punjab calls for sanctions against Canada if it does not crack down on Sikh extremists

‘India had, for too long, been soft towards Canada and needed to crack its whip aggressively, even seek UN sanctions if needed, to end the growing threat once and for all’

Tom Blackwell

Ottawa – Ontario – Canada, 27 June 2019. Captain Amarinder Singh has always made it clear he thinks Canada is soft on alleged Sikh extremists in this country.

The head of India’s Panjab state government once alleged the Liberal cabinet harbours four “Khalistani” advocates of an independent Sikh homeland, publicly snubbed Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and gave Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a list of purported Sikh terrorists living here.

But Singh went even further with his critique in an unexpected statement issued this week, accusing the Canadian government of providing “overt and covert” support to the Khalistani movement, and calling on New Delhi to consider sanctions against Canada if it does not take a tougher stance.

The Panjab chief minister urged India’s national government “to mount global pressure on Canada to put an end to the use of its soil to unleash terror against India, particularly the Sikh community being targeted by Khalistani terrorists.”

“India had, for too long, been soft towards Canada and needed to crack its whip aggressively, even seek UN sanctions if needed, to end the growing threat once and for all, the Chief Minister stressed,” said the news release posted on the Punjab government’s website Monday.

The comments add to ongoing tension between the two countries over the Khalistani issue, and the degree to which Canadian politicians support the movement.

It’s unclear what prompted the latest outburst, although it follows a decision by the federal government in April to remove specific references to Sikh extremism from a contentious Public Safety Canada report on terrorism.

Global Affairs Canada, asked about the statement, was unable to respond by deadline.

The Indian government has also voiced concerns over Canadian politicians’ approach to Sikh nationalism, but the Indian High Commission in Ottawa did not reply to a request for comment.

For Sikhs here, Singh’s verbal attack comes “completely out of left field,” said Balpreet Singh, legal counsel for the World Sikh Organization.

The allegations are unfounded, and some of them are “outlandish”, but they will nonetheless harm Canadian members of the faith, he said.

It hurts us here as a community

“What this looks like to us, is foreign interference, a narrative created in India and pushed into Canada about Canadian Sikhs,” said Singh. “It hurts us here as a community. It’s something that affects our reputation, and affects folks here on the ground.”

Singh suggested the Panjab leader may simply be angry that Canada barred him from coming here in 2016 to campaign among the Indian diaspora, a group considered to have considerable influence and financial clout in Punjab politics.

Accusing another country of giving a safe haven to terrorists could also help distract voters from the state’s struggling economy, he said.

Amarinder Singh, a former Indian army officer, first aired his criticisms of Canada in April 2017, when he insisted the four Sikhs in Trudeau’s cabinet were Khalistanis, a charge denied by all of them, and refused to meet Sajjan when the minister visited Punjab.

Peaceful support for an independent Khalistan in India is strong among leadership of Sikh temples [Gurdwaras] in Canada, with some gurdwaras displaying portraits of alleged extremists, and Canadian politicians have for years now reached out to such leaders as they court the powerful Sikh vote.

One of the guests on Trudeau’s ill-fated India trip in February 2018 was Jaspal Atwal, convicted of attempting to assassinate an Indian cabinet minister in 1986.

Trudeau sat down with Singh for a fence-mending session during that same trip, with the Punjab chief minister handing over a list of nine alleged Sikh extremists in Canada.

Whether by coincidence or not, at least three Sikhs were for the first time placed on the federal no-fly list last year. Last December’s edition of the annual terror report also mentioned the threat of Sikh terrorism for the first time, though that phrasing was removed and replaced with a reference to extremists who pursue separatism in India after an outcry from Sikh leaders here.

In his statement, Singh referred to the list of “wanted terrorists” he provided to Trudeau last year but said “the lack of response from their government so far has exposed their intent.”

Canada’s “failure to check anti-India activities being carried out from its soil would be detrimental to its own security and interests in the long run,” he warned.

As evidence, the chief minister quoted extensively from the 2010 findings of a public inquiry into the Air-India bombing by Sikh terrorists, which concluded the attack followed a “cascading series of errors” by security agencies 34 years ago.

Singh’s statement exhibits a less-than-perfect knowledge of Canadian political geography, indicating the seat of federal government is Toronto, not Ottawa.