Editorial Exchange: Trudeau's Trip a Not-So-Sunny Getaway

The Canadian Press, March 2, 2018 | Go to article overview

Editorial Exchange: Trudeau's Trip a Not-So-Sunny Getaway


Editorial Exchange: Trudeau's trip a not-so-sunny getaway

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An editorial from the Winnipeg Free Press, published March 2:

For many Canadians, this time of year can bring moments of discombobulation.

Just back from a vacation to escape our northerly nation's wintry climes, we've done all the laundry and put away the luggage, but there's still an unease, perhaps even some minor confusion, that creeps into our restart of the daily at-home-and-work routine.

That's certainly the kind of week it has been for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose return from what can only be described as a calamitous journey to India has been followed by days wasted defending the trip's negligible diplomatic outcomes, while at the same time scrambling to evade a bizarre scandal that threatens to turn the entire South Asian exercise from a disaster into a full-fledged disgrace.

The Trudeau family's Indian foray -- and there's great temptation here to call it a winter vacation, given the absence of measurable work-related accomplishment between awkwardly costumed photo-ops -- began badly, proceeded poorly and ended on a note so sour, thanks to the presence of a convicted would-be assassin at an official event, that it risks doing long-term damage to Indo-Canadian relations.

The actual goals of the trip were unclear, despite the PM's inaccurate after-the-fact pronouncement -- in an effort to deflect questions about the guest-list imbroglio -- that India will be investing $1 billion in Canada (the actual amount is more like $250 million).

But whatever feel-good outcomes Mr. Trudeau hoped to trumpet back on Canadian soil were lost in the cacophony of questions about the presence at a formal reception of Jaspal Atwal, who was convicted in 1986 of attempting to kill an Indian cabinet minister visiting Vancouver Island. Mr. Atwal, who was also charged (but not convicted) in connection with a 1985 attack on Ujjal Dosanjh (who later became B. …

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