WSO says Indian interference in Canadian politics ‘shocking’

WSO President Mukhbir Singh.
WSO President Mukhbir Singh.

THE World Sikh Organization of Canada on Tuesday said that it is deeply troubled by a report published in the Globe and Mail newspaper that states Patrick Brown, the then-leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, was “under ‘pressure’ from the Indian consulate” to reject a Sikh candidate during a nomination battle in May 2017.

According to the Globe and Mail investigation, Brown was under pressure from the Indian consulate in Toronto to reject the candidacy of Vikram Singh because of the consulate’s allegations against his father.

Singh went on to lose the nomination vote in a process that was “riddled with problems” and allegations of fraud.

[According to the Globe and Mail report, Brown had told Singh’s campaign adviser that “he was not going to clear Singh because of the pressure” from the Indian consulate and the allegations surrounding Singh’s father, Tejinder Singh Kaloe. “The elder Mr. Singh, a leader in the Sikh community, was acquitted in Hamilton in 1987 of conspiracy to commit mass murder and overthrowing the government of India. He was named in the Air India trial as someone who spoke regularly with the man considered the mastermind behind the bombings,” according to the newspaper.]

Last week, the WSO wrote to Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale with respect to concerns over the interference of Indian interests in Canada and within the Sikh community. The Sikh community has long been aware of Indian intelligence activities in Canada including interference in community issues, intimidation and coercion, the WSO said as it expressed concerns that Canada and the Sikh community more specifically could be targeted by Indian interests during the upcoming federal elections.

WSO President Mukhbir Singh said: “The report in today’s Globe and Mail in which it was revealed that the then-leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative was under ‘pressure’ from the Indian consulate in Toronto to reject a Sikh candidate is absolutely shocking. A foreign government has no business telling political parties in Canada who they should run as candidates. We have expressed fears that there is a history of Indian interference and intimidation in Canada, often targeted at the Sikh community, which may be exacerbated during the upcoming federal elections. Today’s reports would seem to validate those fears. We expect the Canadian government to take the necessary steps to ensure that Canada is free from foreign interference.”