Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a return to the Vaisakhi Nagar Kirtan in Toronto after a gap of seven years on Sunday. The event, celebrating the establishment of the Khalsa order by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699, was attended by several of Trudeau’s Cabinet colleagues and Liberal Party MPs from the Greater Toronto Area.
Trudeau addressed the crowds at Nathan Phillips Square in downtown Toronto, recalling his previous visits to Vaisakhi celebrations across the country. “Sikh values are also profoundly Canadian values,” he said.
Trudeau’s attendance at the 2017 Toronto Khalsa Day event had previously drawn criticism from the Indian government due to the presence of Khalistani flags, posters of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, and a mini-celebration over the carrying of a motion in the Ontario Assembly that termed the 1984 anti-Sikh riots as “genocide.”
This year’s Khalsa Day celebrations again featured a few Khalistan flags, which were visible from the dias as per an HT report, however, the Ontario Sikhs and Gurdwara Council reportedly prevented the event from being hijacked by separatist elements.