Another scandal as Trudeau government plays politics with diaspora

Much like an onion, there are layers to this story that if you peel them back, they will bring tears to your eyes. Pictured: Emergency Preparedness Minister Harjit Sajjan. Photo Credit: Harjit Sajjan/X. 

There has been another scandal in the nation’s capital, this one involving Canada’s defence minister and his orders to the Canadian Forces evacuating Afghanistan in 2021. With any other democratic country in the world, the weightiness of this latest matter would have resulted in a minister’s resignation. This scandal, on top of a dozen others in the past few months, would have led to the implosion of the government and the call of an election. Yet, the NDP continues to unconditionally buttress the minority Liberal government, and legacy media again proves inept and unwilling to challenge Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his increasingly obvious involvement with diaspora groups in the country.  

As the sordid details of Minister Harjit Sajjan’s actions are made known, remarkably, it has not resulted in his resignation or, at the very least, a passing comment from Trudeau.

First, accolades must be given to Robert Fife and Steve Chase, senior Ottawa reporters with the Globe and Mail. These newsmen (along with Terry Glavin and Sam Cooper) were the individuals who doggedly pursued the scandals involving the Chinese Communist Party, its influence in Canada, the electoral interference, and the mysteries behind what transpired at the Winnipeg microbiology lab. Fife and Chase deserve recognition for informing Canadians about what happened with the military’s evacuation efforts in Afghanistan.   

Harjit Sajjan, now serving as Trudeau’s Emergency Preparedness Minister, was Canada’s minister of defence in August 2021. Sajjan was in command of the Forces during the fall of Kabul and the final desperate rush to airlift people out of Afghanistan in advance of the Taliban takeover. What Canadians know now is that, in the final days, Sajjan instructed Canadian Forces in Kabul to execute a rescue operation for more than 200 Afghan Sikhs who were to be ferried out on a Canadian aircraft. 

With this ministerial direction, the safe passage of a group of Sikhs, who had no association with Canada, were to take precedence over the remaining Canadians citizens and the Afghan interpreters and civilians – individuals who assisted Canadian Forces and Embassy staff in the Afghan theatre of war during Canada’s 12-year tour of duty. 

The official record stands that the Canadian Forces airlifted approximately 3,700 people, including Canadian citizens and those of other allied countries, and Afghan nationals who work for Canada and assisted Canadian Forces and vulnerable Afghans. Canada’s record is blotted, however, as the Forces left behind 1,250 Canadian citizens and permanent residents, and their family members. Canada also abandoned hundreds more Afghans who had risked their lives assisting Canadian and allies’ efforts during the war.  

Answering to the increasing criticisms of his actions, Sajjan states he did not “direct” but merely “suggested” the military execute the Sikh rescue mission. However, Chief of Defence Staff Wayne Eyre made a public statement to the effect that any instruction given from the minister to the military is received as “an order.” The fact this might have been misunderstood by Sajjan is highly doubtful given his own military career.  

Afghans in jeopardy of cruel punishment and death by the Taliban were left unassisted as Canadian Forces undertook the minister’s order. The Globe and Mail reported that one special forces officer in Kabul during the crisis observed, “There was such furious anger that the last 24 hours were solely dedicated to getting the Sikhs out.”

As it was, the mission failed because the contingent of Sikhs waiting for their rescuers nervously fled the rendezvous point. Canadian Forces were then placed in danger’s way attempting to relocate the Sikhs in the final hours. 

There is another more insidious layer to this story and, again, Globe and Mail reporters Robert Fife and Steve Chase are credited with exposing how Sajjan’s actions with the Afghanistan evacuation are tied directly to Sikh diaspora political influence within the Liberal Party – and by extension the Trudeau government (propped up by the NDP led by Jagmeet Singh). 

The Globe and Mail followed up on the details of what occurred in Kabul with the details of what transpired in Vancouver. The Sikh charity, Manmeet Singh Bhullar Foundation (MSBF), was in contact with Sajjan in August 2021 relaying information to the minister about Sikhs in Afghanistan. It was the leadership of the MSBF that assembled the list of Sikhs to be evacuated and, one is to assume, discussed the potential for the airlift rescue mission.  

While they were discussing the Sikh’s situation in Afghanistan, all four MSBF directors donated thousands of dollars to Sajjan’s Liberal riding association between the dates of Aug. 19 and 27. His minister’s office and riding association state they will make no comment on the political donations.

At a media conference called to address the breaking news, Sajjan denied the claim that he put the lives of Sikh nationals ahead of Canadians. Sajjan also took the opportunity to make the accusation that the media inquiry was a product of racism. Sajjan stated, “I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t think I’ll be getting those questions if I wasn’t wearing a turban.”

The Globe and Mail lead editorial, “Harjit Sajjan failed Canada, and Canadians,” refuted this accusation, stating plainly: “Mr. Sajjan’s actions hampered efforts to evacuate Canadians and people who risked their lives to help Canada, and who should have come before anyone else. It was his mission to get those people to safety. He compromised that mission.” The editorial also states, “Equally convenient is his accusation that racism underpins criticism of his actions. To be clear, Mr. Sajjan is not the victim here. The victims are those left behind in Afghanistan, in the hands of the murderous Taliban regime.”

Robyn Urback of the Globe and Mail extended the rationale in the editorial in her opinion piece, “Harjit Sajjan will remain in cabinet, and shame on you for asking about it.” Urback pointedly states: “One thing that Canadians have learned over the course of the past nine years is that, in this government, there is no such thing as a lethal scandal. Ministers don’t resign in disgrace… Ministers will deflect, reject, maybe explain a little bit. But they never, ever concede… So it should have taken no one by surprise that Harjit Sajjan responded to a well-sourced report that he betrayed our country, our countrymen and women, and the allies who risked their lives to support us by turning it into an accusation.”

Much like an onion, there are layers to this story that if you peel them back, they will bring tears to your eyes. Listing these back stories, undoubtedly, will bring accusations of racism from Sajjan and the Liberals who support him – however the backstories provide the necessary context to understand just how involved this matter is with Liberal political operations and the Sikh diaspora. 

First, the Sikh community is very active in Liberal politics in Vancouver, very active in Sajjan’s riding of Vancouver South and Jagmeet Singh’s neighbouring riding of Burnaby South.  

Second, Sajjan’s family and political backers have close connections with the World Sikh Organization (WSO) – an organization that champions Sikh causes worldwide, including the independent Khalistan within India. The minister’s father is a longtime board member of the WSO. and the minister’s political backroom organizer in Vancouver, Prem Vinning, was widely known as a “political fixer” among the Sikh community. 

Third, Sajjan’s original Liberal riding nomination in 2014 was controversial as the Sikh community accused a militant WSO faction within it of manipulation – and this dispute resulted in many making public statements and quitting the Liberals in protest. 

Finally, as minister of defence, Sajjan embarrassed Canada on his 2017 visit to India. During this trip he was snubbed by many top elected officials and an Indian politician openly accused Sajjan of being a Sikh nationalist. Sajjan’s stories caught up to him in New Delhi, and later he apologized for embellishing his military service record. 

National Post reporter Rahim Mohamed observes that Sajjan had a “disastrous tenure” as defence minister and yet he remains because of his ties to the Sikh community. Mohamed quotes an ex-Liberal policy adviser Omer Aziz who attests: “What I saw in government was how Canada’s ethnic domestic battles were distorting our long-term foreign policy priorities, and politicians … were pandering in lowest-common-denominator ways in B.C. and Ontario suburbs.”

Canadians are becoming increasingly aware that the Trudeau Liberals’ political fortunes lie with “diaspora politics.” It explains a lot about this government: its support of Sikhs’ interest and various agitations with India, the Chinese Communist Party’s ties to the Liberal Party and its undue influence in Canada, the tolerance of Hamas and pro-Palestinian protests and the weak response to antisemitism, and the increased intake of Muslims from Africa and an insistent focus on calling out “islamophobia.”

Last word goes to Rahim Mohamed who assesses, “Sajjan himself is a symptom of the Trudeau Liberals’ borderline obsession with domestic diaspora politics.  While it would be easy to dismiss Sajjan as one bad apple, the truth is that he is a symptom of the Liberal party’s deeply cynical approach to ethnic outreach — an inconvenient reality that has allowed the manipulation of our domestic politics by foreign actors to swell to epidemic proportions under Prime Minister Trudeau’s watch.”

Your donations help us continue to deliver the news and commentary you want to read. Please consider donating today.

Donate Today


  • Politics

  • Sports

  • Business