Canada is at risk of losing its global identity as a peaceful nation

Canada gives a lot of importance to freedom of speech and action and some extremist elements see this freedom as license to orchestrate separatist movements in other countries from Canadian soil.  This situation has caused serious problems for other countries like Sri Lanka and India.

N S Venkataraman Sep 25, 2023
Canadian PM Justin Trudeau

Those who live in Canada as Canadian citizens by birth or as immigrants (permanent residents); and non-permanent residents as well as those who have been visitors to Canada; and those who have heard and read about Canada;  and those who have studied   Canada’s history,  have all identified Canada as a peaceful country with a high level of personal freedom and liberty, with goodwill towards all as espoused by the country's liberal migration policy.

The recent diplomatic spat between India and Canada that has been created by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who accused India of murdering a citizen of Canada on Canadian soil and the strong rebuttal of this accusation by the Indian government has received global attention.

However, some discerning observers think that this episode conceals more than it reveals.

Canada has the reputation of being a beautiful country with a sprawling landscape, a relatively small population of 39 million and a population density of 4 per square kilometre, enormous mineral resources, and a  robust democracy. Attracted by such attributes, millions of people from other countries have migrated to Canada in the last several years. In 2021, more than 8.3 million people, or almost one-quarter (23 per cent) of the population, comprised landed immigrants or permanent residents in Canada.

Changing demography

The ground reality is that the demographic structure of Canada has been constantly changing. This has created cultural integration issues due to a section of migrants with part loyalty to Canada and part loyalty to the country they originally belonged.  These migrants also now occupy a big space in Canada’s political firmament with substantial representation in Parliament.

For example, the Sikh population in Canada that has migrated from India over the last several years is about 800,000, or about 2 per cent of the population, and 15 members of Indian origin, mostly belonging to the Sikh/Punjabi community, are now elected members of the Canadian parliament,   with some occupying high positions in the government.

With migrants increasingly playing a dominant role in Canada’s social and political life, separatist forces from other countries have now entrenched themselves in Canada as permanent residents or citizens The current net migration rate for Canada in 2023 is 6.094 per 1000 population and this trend is continuing with the unfiltered entry of migrants who could be part of separatist or hostile forces of other countries.

Canada gives a lot of importance to freedom of speech and action and some extremist elements see this freedom as license to orchestrate separatist movements in other countries from Canadian soil.  This situation has caused serious problems for other countries like Sri Lanka and India.

Sri Lanka went through an extremely stressful period for more than a decade due to the internal war waged by the LTTE seeking a separate state for the Tamil population, and it is a fact that the LTTE has a very strong supporting base in Canada from where the terrorist group orchestrated its movement. Canada closed its eyes and ears to the unlawful activities of LTTE militants and in the process Sri Lanka suffered enormously.

Hold on politics

Now, a small section of migrant Sikhs from India staying in Canada want a separate Khalistan state for Sikhs by splitting India.  Several meetings and demonstrations were held by Khalistan separatists in Canada and the Canadian government remains seemingly unconcerned about such activities.  This is causing serious problems for India now.

The migrant population now has such a stronghold on Canadian politics that the government of Canada is forced to keep the separatist forces in good humor and even support their activities in a discreet manner. Violence takes place on Canadian soil too frequently with clashes between separatist groups and also violence against those who oppose them.  The net result is that Canada is losing its name and reputation as a peaceful and socially harmonious nation. 

It appears that the present Canadian government does not have the wisdom or foresight to realise the larger repercussions of supporting such unchecked 'freedom' causes in Canada.

Unrestricted freedom being misused 

 In the case of the present controversy with India, Canadian PM Trudeau has gone out of the way to support a member of the Khalistan separatist group as a "Canadian citizen" who was killed and has blamed India for the murder without giving hard evidence and simply saying that intel shared the information.  The government of India is repeatedly asking for concrete proof of the accusation.  Further, India says that it has provided the list of Khalistan militants staying in Canada engaging in criminal anti-India activities but the Canadian government has done nothing about that.

It is no one's case that Canada should remain a peaceful country and ensure freedom for everyone. At the same time, it should be realised by the Canadian government that the liberty to do anything cannot be a personal affair but has to be a part of the social contract. Unrestricted freedom is as harmful as restricted freedom. The government of Canada should realise its role and responsibility keeping the long-term interests and global reputation of Canada in mind.

Obviously, the Canadian government should not permit any section of the migrant population to promote separatist movements in other countries. If such conditions are allowed to go unchecked, it is bound to boomerang on Canada's national interests.

(The author is a Trustee, NGO Nandini Voice for the Deprived, Chennai. Views are personal. He can be contacted at

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