The Ontario Sikh and Gurdwaras Council and the Ontario Gurdwaras Committee in partnership with the World Sikh Organization of Canada will be hosting a community meeting on April 7, from 2 pm to 4 p.m., at Brampton City Hall (Atrium) located at 2 Wellington Street West, on the inclusion of “Sikh (Khalistani) Extremism” in the 2018 Public Report on the Terrorism Threat to Canada.
Community members will be invited to discuss the impact this section has had on them and the image of Canadian Sikhs as whole. Members of Parliament and elected officials from across the Greater Toronto Area have also been invited to hear the conversations that will take place and also to provide an update to the community as to steps that have been taken to address the concerns that have been expressed and any results that have been achieved.
The 2018 Public Safety Report, which was met with widespread criticism for references to religious communities, included no particular details or evidence of any alleged rise in Sikh extremism in Canada and as such was offensive to Sikh Canadians. Despite a meeting of Sikh representatives with Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale on January 21, no changes to the report have been made.
After over three months of waiting, the Sikh community continues to press for accountability and answers and this meeting will be a next step in calling for answers from the Government of Canada.
CanIndia caught up with Balpreet Singh Boparai, Legal Counsel, World Sikh Organization of Canada.
“This talk of Sikh extremism began in the Indian media and coincided with PM Justin Trudeau’s visit to India. This report stigmatizes the community and the only terror attack was the Air India bombing in 1985, since then there has been no other terror incidents and so to rank Sikh extremism to right wing extremism and Islamic terror groups is uncalled for. Former PM Harper in 2012 said that advocating for human rights and separatism is not extremism.”
It remains to be seen if the federal Liberals will consider changing the language that is stigmatizing all Sikhs living in Canada. -CINEWS