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A National Embarrassment


Bollywood Justin

Trudeau family BollywoodIn one of the few times that the rest of the world cared out what does, Justin Trudeau's 2018 visit to India was a major embarrassment to him and the country. The adoption of a cultural appropriated Bollywood-style wardrobe for himself and his family was only one part of the diplomatic disaster.

 The trip had an inauspicious beginning when he was greeted at the airport by a lone junior minister and the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, did not greet him via Twitter, which was his usual practice and instead announced that he would be making changes to his schedule to meet with Donald Trump Jr. who was on a business trip to the country.

Indian ministers with TrudeauJustin was photographed repeatedly, looking like a groom at an Indian wedding, at various locations, including state functions where Indian officials were Jaspal Atwaldressed in modern clothing. Prime Minister Modi wouldn't even meet with him until the end of the trip.

A man convicted of the attempted murder of an Indian politician in B.C. three decades ago, and who had previously belonged to a banned Sikh extremist group, Jaspal Atwal, was invited to separate events on the PM's tour. The Times of India ran the story of this foul-up with the headline: "Dinner invitation to ex-terrorist clouds Canadian PM Trudeau's visit." An Indian news reporter shouted out to him the question, "Mr. Trudeau, why did you invite a Khalistani terrorist for a reception?"

The man was well-known to Indian authorities and it wasn't difficult to find stories about him online. For example, in 2012, there was a huge outcry after Atwal was invited to attend the B.C. government's throne speech. A simple Google search would have revealed his background. Veteran reporter Kim Bolan (who has covered Sikh extremism for decades and wrote a book about the Air India bombing) revealed that information about Atwal was passed along to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service a week previous.