The idea that Justin Trudeau’s office, the PMO, didn’t have anything to do with Jaspal Atawal being invited to not one but two receptions in India is as ridiculous as the conspiracy theory floated by Trudeau that it was all about the Indian government trying to embarrass him. Now his own MP Randeep Sarai has exposed his boss without really knowing it.
We all saw Sarai give his one word answer of,”no” at the end of Ralph Goodale’s torturous scrum the other day. Sarai walked out the wrong door and directly into a gaggle of reporters asking Goodale how Sarai could be solely responsible for Atwal, the failed assassin, being invited to these receptions while the prime minister also supported the conspiracy theory that India was behind it.
So Sarai walked out and was asked, “Are you part of these rogue elements?”
That was the question he answered “no” to and his only comment to media until he returned home to his riding of Surrey Centre.
Then in an exclusive interview with the Surrey Now-Leader, Sarai said the most enlightening thing on how Jaspal Atwal was invited.
He described how he was only 11 when Atwal pulled the trigger in the attempted assassination of visiting Indian cabinet minister Malkiat Singh Sidhu. He said that most of his staff are in their 20’s and Atwal’s name didn’t trigger anything for them.
Then he got to the part that shows Atwal’s name went through the PMO.
“All we did is forwarded anybody that wanted to attend,” he told the Now-Leader, “that had expressed interest in the office. We forwarded those names to, forwarded those names forward. People were excited — people were calling in the office, there was about 25 or 30 names that came in from various different industries and we forwarded those name forward.”
Those comments come right at the beginning of the interview and you can listen to it yourself here for yourself.
The important part, and again you will hear it if you listen to the recording for yourself is that he “We forwarded those names to, forwarded those names forward.”
A more accurate transcript might be, “We forwarded those names to uh, uh….uh….. forwarded those names forward.”
Forwarded the names where? To who? To whom? Where did the forwards of the forwarding names go?
Despite Sarai’s pregnant pause where he realized he was headed down the wrong road and didn’t know what to say, we all know the answer. He and his staff forwarded the names to the prime minister’s office, the PMO, which drew up the final guest list for Canadian invitees and then sent them on to Canada’s High Commissioner in India to issue the official invitations.
This is protocol, this is how things work. You can talk to past Liberal or Conservative PMO staff and if they are honest, they will admit this is how foreign receptions work, especially when it comes to large and important diaspora communities like India.
Except past PMOs would vet the names, at least on the political level.
And even a quick google search of Jaspal Atwal would have shown that he was a man with a “troubled past.” At that point they could have decided to drop him from the list or decide that he had reformed and was talking to the Indian government and was a different man.
If they did the latter the Trudeau PMO isn’t saying.
Immediately after being asked about Atwal they didn’t say this is a man that now speaks out against Khalistani extremism and violence, they rescinded the invitation, they denounced him.
At first they blamed the High Commissioner, then Sarai and then the Indian government. Now they blame Sarai and the Indian government.
Neither of those scenarios is plausible.
I’m sure Sarai’s office did forward those names, including Atwal’s, to the PMO. What happened after that we don’t know.
Justin Trudeau owes Canadians answers beyond two unbelievable theories and his new claim that he won’t answer questions because he supports Canada’s public service.
It’s balderdash and we all deserve better.