Saskatchewan’s Trade and Export Development minister Jeremy Harrison is expressing disappointment about trade talks between Canada and India are over.
A Sikh leader, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, was shot in June in B.C. in what RCMP believe was a targeted attack. The day Parliament began it’s fall sitting, Trudeau told international allies and federal opposition leaders, and then Parliament as a whole, that credible intelligence was pointing at the strong possibility that the Indian government was strongly linked to Nijjar’s murder.
Harrison released a statement Friday, after it was announced Canada would pause trade talks with India, with part of the statement as a quote from Harrison:
It’s clear to me that the Trudeau government never treated the EPTA negotiations with India seriously. In fact, between the FPT meeting today, and a private call with Minister Ng yesterday, I still have received no explanation why negotiations were ended by Canada. Though Minister Ng did confirm they were, in fact, ended by Canada.
On the first day of Parliament yesterday, Trudeau announced his bombshell, accusing the Indian government of involvement in Nijjar’s murder.
CKRM approached Harrison’s office yesterday asking for comment and received an email from the ministry. That email reads as follows:
The Government of Saskatchewan had at no time been made aware of any concerns, security or otherwise, with respect to India by the federal government. These are very serious allegations and if proven need to be taken seriously. I am hopeful that the federal government will have had rock solid facts and evidence to back allegations of such a serious and far reaching nature. If they have such information they have not shared it with the Government of Saskatchewan and, in fact, all we have heard has been through the media.
With respect to the EPTA after numerous requests for a rationale, including well before the Prime Minister’s travel to India and Canada walking away from trade negotiations with India, the federal government repeatedly said it was to take pause to make sure Canadians get the best deal.
If this was the reason trade negotiations were suspended, the federal government should have made that information available to provinces and territories and had numerous opportunities to do so.
Saskatchewan opened its own trade office in New Delhi in 2021.