Ujjal Dosanjh: How politicians who pander to Khalistani extremism undermine Canada's intelligence agencies

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      The recently released 2018 Public Report on Terrorism Threat to Canada lists the following threats: Sunni Islamist extremism, right-wing extremism, Sikh (Khalistani) extremism, Shia extremism, and Canadian extremist travellers.

      In the case of "Sikh (Khalistani) Extremism" it goes on to clearly state the undeniable truth that "Some individuals in Canada continue to support Sikh (Khalistani) extremist ideologies and movements."

      The report engendered an immediate outcry from the usual quarters regarding its reference to "Sikh (Khalistani) extremism". It threw some Sikh and other MPs, including some ministers in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's cabinet, into a tizzy.

      Some organizations meeting in Toronto issued hyperultimatums to the government to meet with them by a certain deadline and rescind what they considered to be the offending portions of the innocuous report or else. Else what? No one knows.

      Much of the debate on the report, with the exception of a few interventions, has been in Punjabi, in the Punjabi media, allowing many participants to run with the hare while hunting with the hounds, further exacerbating the ghettoizing effects of the rabid identity politics at play.

      Unfortunately, there has been very little investigative or other reporting by the so-called mainstream media in Canada about the debate among Sikhs on this report or on any other recent developments; hence this humble attempt to capture the story about the report in this blog.

      The report was released on December 11. The manufactured outrage of parliamentarians at the inoffensive report resulted in a meeting being arranged: on December 13 at 11:15 a.m. almost all of the Sikh and some other MPs gathered with Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale in Room 107 A in the Centre Block of Parliament.

      Reliable sources have confirmed that at the meeting Goodale reaffirmed the government's position that the threat of terrorism in the name of Khalistan is real, serious, and persistent. Nonetheless to make the matter clearer he undertook, right at the outset of the meeting, to delete the word "Sikh" from the report.

      But that wasn't enough for some MPs and ministers. They wanted more.

      Many insisted upon the complete deletion of any reference to "Sikh (Khalistani) Extremism" in the report. At least one among them threatened to go public with his denunciation of the report unless Goodale agreed, right then and there, to the erasure of the entire reference to "Sikh (Khalistani) extremism". 

      Goodale is alleged to have apparently told the still unhappy MPs to go take a hike. Rightly so because it doesn't behoove any Canadians, let alone our elected representatives—in fact it is quite Trumpian of them—to irresponsibly deny the truth or undermine the nation's intelligence community.

      Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale (photographed at a Vancouver Vaisakhi parade) has refused to delete the word "Khalistani" from a federal report on terrorism.
      Charlie Smith

      After Goodale absolutely appropriately refused to remove from the report the reference to Khalistani extremism, some MPs as well as a cabinet minister or two were out in the Punjabi media pandering to Khalistanis and their sympathizers.

      According to the National Post, Surrey Centre MP Randeep Sarai fired off a letter to Goodale on December 14—a day after the aforesaid meeting of the 13th—seeking the removal of any reference to Sikh extremism, something Goodale had already promised to do at the meeting.

      Since then several MPs and a minister or two have publicly regretted their "mistake" in allowing the reference to "Sikh (Khalistani) extremism" in the report. In extending their regrets they chose not to separate the term "Sikh" from "Khalistani extremism".

      It was abundantly clear they were now publicly lobbying Goodale to do what in private he had told them he won't do: excise the entire reference to "Sikh (Khalistani) Extremism" from the report.

      Not to be left behind, Conservative opposition MP Garnett Genuis took to the radio casting aside all understanding of the process by which security and intelligence reports are compiled or the importance of not politicizing the work of our intelligence professionals and joined the Liberal MPs in their ongoing unseemly pandering.

      This pitiable public grovelling by politicians has left the impression that they, not the intelligence and security professionals, have the final say in the formulation of national security and intelligence reports. Sadly, the turmoil in Trumpland seems to have induced a degree of Trumpian delusion in some Canadian politicians' cranial cavities.

      To make matters worse some politicians and groups want the government to prove the reference in the report to "Khalistani extremism" is rooted in evidence. In matters of national security and intelligence it would be foolish to publicly share the classified evidence that forms the basis of the report.

      On the question of public safety, it is the obligation of the government to ensure the conclusions it shares publicly are based on robust evidence and intelligence.

      Goodale informed the aforementioned meeting of the MPs and ministers that the report's conclusions are substantially and amply supported by the evidence upon which it is based. One wonders whether he admonished his audience in Room 107A on December 13—if he didn't he should have—that Canada wasn't some banana republic where any pressure group, no matter how vocal, could or should be allowed to undermine its national security by forcing a public disclosure of classified and sensitive intelligence. 

      Canada has a right to expect truth and nothing but the truth from our civil servants and that is nowhere more important than in national security. The civil servants have given us their unvarnished view of the threats to our national security as they see them.

      The unusually vociferous Khalistani elements in Canada—unfortunately a few of them occupying seats in our Parliament—have never understood nor honestly accepted the tragic truth of the Khalistani violence and terror that has been perpetrated on and from Canadian soil.

      Supporters of Khalistan want an independent Sikh country carved out of the northwestern Indian states of Punjab and Rajasthan.
      Khalistan moment

      It is well known to anyone who cares about truth that Khalistani extremism is a continuing threat in Canada.

      The portraits of the Air India terrorist Talwinder Parmar and many others are still revered inside many temples in Canada and on the outside walls of at least one—in Surrey.

      The perpetrators of Khalistani terror continue to be glorified in public parades. From that and much else it is quite evident that far from being extinct, Khalistani extremism is well and alive in Canada.

      The most foolish defence of such extremism offered by some self-confessed Khalistanis is that they mean no harm to Canada; it is only India that is the focus of their hatred; if they harbour or support violence, it is only for India—as if one could live a philosophical or political existence being half violent and the other half nonviolent.

      In Canada, in this instance, it is identity politics on steroids that is engaged in this deliberate undermining of Canadian national intelligence apparatus. This quite strident identity politics has almost completely consumed some in the Parliament of Canada.

      Ujjal Dosanjh says perpetrators of extremist violence are venerated at parades in Canada.
      Charlie Smith

      That there was absolutely no need for these political panderers to raise the issue in the first place becomes clearer upon a cursory examination of the descriptions the report uses. "Sunni Islamist extremism" clearly refers only to the Islamist extremists among the Sunnis, not to all Sunnis; otherwise there was no need for the word "Islamist" in it.

      The reference to "Sikh (Khalistani) extremism" is deliberately designed to point to the Khalistani extremists amongst the Sikhs, not to all Sikhs; otherwise the word "Khalistani" would have been unnecessary.

      If those that have created this tempest in the teapot about this nonissue insist Islamists aren't Sunnis at all and nor are Khalistanis Sikhs, they may have a valid argument for the deletion of "Sunni" and "Sikh" from the report.

      The bald and inescapable truth is Canada can't and mustn't allow any extremist movements on its soil aimed at itself or any foreign countries.

      This truth and Canada's national security are beyond compromise, be they under the guise of bruised religious sensibilities, heightened identity politics, or cowardly pandering by slithering politicians.