NDP leader defends decision to attend Sikh rally, condemns 'all acts of terrorism'
The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, March 14, 2018 1:19PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, March 14, 2018 2:49PM EDT
OTTAWA -- NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says he condemns all acts of terrorism no matter who is responsible.
In a statement posted to the NDP website, Singh is defending his decision to attend a June 2015 rally in California -- an event billed as a commemoration to the 10,000 Sikhs who died during an invasion of the Golden Temple in 1984, but which also became a show of support for Sikh separatism.
Singh says he has long been an advocate for human rights, but while he believes in allowing the Sikh community space to process the feelings inflicted by the trauma of the 1984 invasion, which he calls a genocide, he does not condone violence as a response.
He says his response to the events of 1984 has been to embrace his identity and work to ensure marginalized voices are never silenced.
Singh's statement, which follows a report about the 2015 rally in the Globe and Mail, comes at a time of strained Canada-India relations, in part because of lingering Indian concerns that Canadian governments tolerate Sikh separatism and extremism by not speaking out against it.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's recent visit to India became more of a diplomatic embarrassment than a peace-building exercise, although Trudeau did manage to make some headway, publicly condemning extremism and signing a joint security framework with India to counter terrorism and violent extremism.