MP Ramesh Sangha attacks fellow Sikh MPs again

AN apparently frustrated and livid Ramesh Sangha, who got kicked out of the Liberal Party caucus last January for making “baseless and dangerous accusations” against a number of his colleagues, was back at it on Wednesday.

The Brampton Centre MP read a statement before question period accusing Sikh MPs (he didn’t take any names) of pressuring the government in 2018 to have the word “Sikh” removed from the 2018 Public Report on the Terrorist Threat in Canada, CBC reported.

Sangha, who called himself a “proud Sikh”, accused them of having a “hidden agenda” to “camouflage” the names of Sikhs linked to the Khalistani movement.

CBC reported that Sangha accused them of compromising national security, pandering to extremist views and undermining national security.

Liberal MP Gary Anandasangaree asked Speaker Anthony Rota to have Sangha’s comments removed from the record, saying that they were “out of line with respect to the decorum that is expected of this House.”

He added: “A number of comments were made by the previous speaker that clearly impinged on the reputation of many of our members and I take particular offence to it.”

Conservative MP Gerard Deltell opposed Anandasangaree’s suggestion and Rota said that he would consider the issue before ruling on it.

Meanwhile, Tejinder Singh Sidhu, President of the World Sikh Organization of Canada, said in a statement: “We are deeply disappointed by MP Sangha’s comments today.  Sikhs across Canada had called for the removal of the term ‘Sikh (Khalistani) Extremism)’ from the 2018 Public Safety Terror Report as it stigmatized and slandered the community.  To suggest that those who wanted this offensive terminology removed are ‘extremists’ is ridiculous.  These remarks show once again that Mr. Sangha is determined to parrot false Indian narratives aimed at marginalizing the Sikh community rather than advocating on behalf of his Canadian constituents.”

Ramesh Sangha with Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh in 2017. Amarinder Singh has accused the Canadian government of encouraging Khalistan supporters to undermine India’s security. Photo: Amarinder Singh’s Facebook

SANGHA’S comments that led to his ouster from the Liberal Party were made last month in a panel discussion on Y Media, a Canadian-based Punjabi-language outlet. The Toronto Star reported that they were first exposed by another English-language online outlet that serves the Sikh and Punjabi diaspora, Baaz.

Baaz reported that Sangha “parroted debunked Indian media accusations about former minister Navdeep Bains’s departure from politics, including unsubstantiated links to ‘extremism.’”

In the Y Media interview that aired January 21, Sangha appears to suggest both Bains and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan sympathize with those who advocate for the creation of Khalistan.

“If you declare that you’re an extremist, or Khalistani, and as we have seen to the south of us in America, that leadership with extremist ideas, are they fit to be ministers? I have doubts now,” Sangha said in Punjabi. “I keep thinking of this. Let’s see what happens going forward. But one thing is for sure, that the extremist point of view might have put him out in the end.”

The Toronto Star reported that the Y Media interviewer challenged Sangha about his statements, saying there is no evidence of what he suggests, and says his claims are the product of “rumours” spread by Indian media.

But Sangha insisted, and said he would be happy only after Bains and Sajjan deny having separatist sentiments.

Ramesh Sangha was first elected as MP from Brampton Centre in 2015. Before being elected, Sanga established his own law practice in Brampton.