THE Conservative Party has decided to put off a motion that was scheduled for March 1 in Parliament “condemning acts of violence to advance a Khalistani state in India and committing to stand with a united India” after former MPs Jason Kenney and Tim Uppal reportedly intervened and informed party leader Andrew Scheer about its implications.
Kenney and Uppal were flooded with objections from Sikhs who said that the motion would give the erroneous impression to Canadians that all Sikhs were violent Khalistanis and this would lead to more racism.
Conservative Party members from B.C. also objected to the motion.
Alberta MP Deepak Obhrai had emailed on Wednesday that the following motion was to be debated in Parliament on Thursday:
That the House:
(a) values the contributions of Canadian Sikhs and Canadians of Indian origin in our national life;
(b) condemn in the strongest terms all forms of terrorism, including Khalistani extremism and the glorification of any individuals who have committed acts of violence to advance the cause of an independent Khalistani state in India; and
(c) stand with a united India.
Former Conservative candidate from Surrey Newton Harpreet Singh wrote the following letter to Scheer on Wednesday:
“I have been inundated with calls and messages from Sikhs in my riding that our party plans to introduce a motion in the House of Commons to condemn Khalistani extremism and the glorification of any individuals who have committed acts of violence to advance the cause of an independent Khalistani state in India. They are hurt that the party wants to tarnish the image of Sikhs by bringing this motion in the House and Canadians will start to see them as terrorists which they are not. They fear that this motion will damage them in the eyes of the Canadians and hurt the community immensely especially the youth.
“I would like to point out a few facts about my community. I am a proud Canadian Sikh who feels pride in living in the best country of the world where people have the Charter of Freedom and Rights to protect their beliefs. We are saint soldiers who are saint at heart and always fight against injustice. History proves beyond doubt that we have always fought for justice for not only our community but for people of other faiths also. The contribution of the Sikhs in the Indian freedom struggle is well documented and despite being just 2% of the population, their sacrifices are well over 70%. Even today also Sikhs contribute immensely to the prosperity of India.
“However the pogrom against the Sikhs in 1984 is still fresh in their minds and they have been demanding justice from the Government of India. Despite enough evidence against the perpetrators of this crime, no one has been booked by the courts and Sikhs still demand that the culprits should be brought to justice. They have been raising their voices peacefully in Canada also. Even the former leader of the party and the then Prime Minister, Stephen Harper had said during his visit to India in Nov 2012 that he won’t “interfere” with the political rights of Canadian Sikhs who advocate a separate state in India — even though his government firmly opposes the idea. Please read this news item in Ottawa Citizen published on Nov 8, 2012 which shows how our party has been supporting the right of Sikhs to voice their concerns peacefully. (http://o.canada.com/news/stephen-harper-explains-his-position-on-sikh-separatists)”