Canada ‘working to restore healthier relationship’ with India, says top Trudeau adviser

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s former national security and intelligence adviser Jody Thomas says Canada is “working towards a healthier relationship again” with India after months of strained relations following the killing from a man from British Columbia.

Thomas made the comments Friday during an interview with CBC News Network. Rosemary Barton live about his retirement. After two years on the job, Thomas announced that she would retire on January 26.

Canada’s diplomatic relations with India have been strained since Trudeau accused the Indian government of involvement in the fatal shooting of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Canadian citizen and Sikh leader in British Columbia.

India forcefully rejected the accusations, prompting a rapid deterioration in relations. Last September, India suspended all visa services to Canada; they resumed two months later.

In October, 41 Canadian diplomats left the country after New Delhi threatened to revoke their diplomatic immunity. These diplomats did not return.

How likely is it that India’s spy agency killed someone in Canada?

The government has alleged that the Indian government and its intelligence agency were involved in the murder of a citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, on Canadian soil, but some believe this was not possible. CBC’s Adrienne Arsenault wonders if she’s capable of what she’s accused of and what the implications are if it’s true.

Thomas, who traveled to India to discuss the allegations, said the reaction from Indian officials was “really unfortunate” and “a little bit surprised.”

“It’s counterproductive because it harms human relations between Canada and India. We need diplomats there to issue visas and run programs on behalf of Canadians and Indians,” added Thomas .

RCMP are investigating the shooting, but more information has come to light since police opened the case. A separate US indictment unsealed at the end of November alleges a foiled plot linked to the Indian government to carry out multiple assassinations in North America.

In that indictment, filed in New York, U.S. prosecutors allege that Indian national Nikhil Gupta sent a hitman a video of Nijjar’s body and told him to “do it quickly.”

After the indictment was unsealed and several G7 countries lined up behind Canada, Trudeau told CBC it appeared India had become more open to collaborate on the issue.

Thomas said the RCMP ensures “every ‘T’ is crossed and ‘I’ highlighted for successful prosecutions.” »

“We need to be more transparent”

Thomas also spoke out on foreign interference in the election, saying greater transparency was needed on the entire issue.

In February 2023, top-secret documents from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) were leaked to the Globe and Mail which suggested that China had interfered in the 2021 federal election. The documents also claim that China wanted a minority Liberal government.

A month later, the Globe and Mail published an anonymous opinion piece written by the whistleblower, which claimed that “evidence that senior officials were unaware of the interference was beginning to mount.”

An investigation into foreign interference in the election begins next week. Thomas said that while the public has access to unclassified reports on the issue, “the average Canadian doesn’t read them.”

“What has become very evident is that we need to talk about (foreign interference) before the election, potentially during the election and after…” Thomas said.

“The first time we talk about the panel on foreign interference in our elections should not be when there is a problem. We need to be more transparent.”

When asked if the leaks were beneficial because they spurred authorities to act, Thomas responded.

“I don’t think I can agree that there is any benefit to fleeing,” she said.

Thomas said the “individuals” who leaked the information “had an opinion about what should be done, or whether the government was not acting, without necessarily knowing what action was being taken.”

“I remain very confident in the RCMP’s ability to find those responsible.”

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