Had it just been the snickering from the usual suspects about his clothes, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau likely would have ended his week in India with little political damage and possibly even a bump in popularity in Canada’s large Indian diaspora.
But some bad press turned worse, much worse, when it emerged that a man convicted of what a Canadian judge called “an act of terrorism” — an attempt in 1986 to assassinate an Indian politician visiting Vancouver Island — showed up at a Trudeau event in Mumbai, invited there by a B.C. Liberal MP.
And then “worse” turned to “farce” when the PMO trotted out one of the most senior members of the civil service, someone who is one of the handful of bureaucrats privy to literally all the secrets of our national security agencies, to engage in frantic damage control.
After insisting that any journalist who wanted to listen to what this individual had to say could not name this person, the government tasked the bureaucrat with peddling what must be one of the most bizarre conspiracy theories ever advanced by a Canadian government: That Jaspal Atwal, the terrorist invited by the Liberals to Mumbai, may have been planted there by the Indian government or maybe by Indian security agencies or perhaps by factions in the Indian government. Whatever that means.