Amid row, Canada senate speaker Raymonde Gagne skips G20 meet in India
Last week, Om Birla, speaker of India’s Lok Sabha, had said that he would raise “several issues” in his informal discussions with Gagne.
Raymonde Gagne, speaker of Canadian Senate (Photo: Raymonde Gage X account/@SenGagne)
INDIA’S ongoing diplomatic spat with Canada over the murder of a Khalistan separatist leader in the North American country in June seems to be far from over as Raymonde Gagne, speaker of the Canadian Senate, decided against attending the Presiding Officers Summit of Parliamentarians of G20 nations at Yashobhoomi in New Delhi that kicked off on Thursday (12).
Gagne, who is serving in the post since May this year, had earlier confirmed her presence at the meeting chaired by Om Birla, speaker of the Lok Sabha or Lower House of the Indian parliament.
“The Canadian Speaker is not attending the Summit. Schedules keep changing,” Parliamentary sources said, according to PTI.
Last week, Birla had said that he would raise “several issues” in his informal discussions with Gagne.
No specific reason was cited for Gagne’s absence at the summit.
Relations between India and Canada have plummeted after Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau alleged in September that Indian agents were involved in the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar outside a gurdwara in Surrey in British Columbia.
India strongly objected to the claims and called them “absurd” and “motivated”. Both countries expelled a diplomat of the other soon after and India even suspended issuing visas to Canadian citizens. New Delhi also asked Ottawa to reduce the number of Canadian diplomats in India. One British news report said that the two sides were still talking over the matter even as the deadline set by India had ended on Tuesday (10). It also said that the foreign ministers of India and Canada had a ‘secret meeting’ in Washington last month.
The G20 parliamentarians’ meeting got underway on Thursday with the parliamentarians taking part in the Parliamentary Forum on LiFE (Lifestyle for Environment), a movement proposed by Indian prime minister Narendra Modi.
A trade mission led by Canadian trade minister Mary Ng to India this month was also postponed in September, days after Ottawa paused negotiations over a trade deal with India.
(With PTI inputs)