Canada believes in a united India, says its Sikh woman ex-MP

There is no space in Canada for religion to be used for political motives to promote any type of extremism, Canada’s Sikh woman ex-MP Ruby Dhalla has said while asserting her country believes in a united India.

Expressing her concern over talk about possible links between Canada and ‘Khalistani’ sympathisers demanding a separate state carved out of India, she said that at times all Sikhs in Canada were seen as sympathisers of extremism.

”You cannot paint all Sikhs living in Canada with the same brush of being supporters of extremism. This is what is happening and it is unfortunate and painful,” she told PTI.

Dhalla, who became the first Sikh woman to serve in the Canadian House of Commons, also emphasised that her country has “zero tolerance” towards extremism.

“In Canada, there is no space for religion to be used for political motives to promote any type of extremism,” she said.

However, she added that there might be fringe elements in Canada, but it was unfortunate this became a significant source of discussion during Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s just-concluded visit to India.

Dhalla, who is from the ruling Liberal Party in Canada, said she was confident that the law would take its own course against people listed by India who are living in Canada and are suspected of trying to revive Sikh separatist movement in Punjab.

“Canada believes in a united India… Punjabis and Sikhs (in Canada) are interested in a united and strong India,” she said.

She was part of the delegation of Trudeau who was on his maiden trip to India as Canada’s Prime Minister.

Dhalla, who was born and raised in Canada, said she has always always worked for strengthening the relationship between the two countries.