Those who live in Canada as Canadian citizens by birth or as immigrants (permanent residents), as well as non-permanent residents, those who have been visitors to Canada, and those who have heard about Canada from media reports 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 and goodwill towards all, as espoused by the liberal migration policy of the Government of Canada.
The recent controversy between India and Canada, created by the Canadian Prime Minister who accused India of murdering a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil, and the strong refutation of this accusation by the Government of India, has received global attention.
However, some discerning observers think that this episode conceals more than it reveals.
Canada has the reputation of being a glorious country with a vast landscape, low population density of 4 per square kilometer, and a comparatively small population of 39 million, along with enormous mineral resources and a robust democracy.
Attracted by such positives, 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 (23.0%) of the population, were or had ever been landed immigrants or permanent residents in Canada.
While this is a good sign as far as it goes, 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 half loyalty to Canada and half loyalty to the country they originally belonged to. These migrants also now occupy a significant space in Canada’s political scenario with substantial representation in Parliament.
For example, the Sikh population in Canada, who have migrated from India over the last several years, is 0.77 million, and 15 members of the Sikh community are now elected members of the Canadian Parliament.
With migrants increasingly playing a dominant role in Canada’s social and political life and a few migrants having dual loyalty to Canada as well as their own native country, separatist forces from other countries have now become entrenched in Canada as permanent residents or citizens. It is reported that the current net migration rate for Canada in 2023 is 6.094 per 1000 population, and this migration trend is continuing with some of the migrants who could be part of separatist forces from other countries.
The Government of Canada gives extreme importance to freedom of speech and action, and in such conditions, separatist forces from other countries living in Canada are able to organize separatist movements in other countries while staying on 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 organized by LTTE, seeking a separate state for the Tamil population, and it is a fact that the LTTE has a very strong base in Canada to organize the war in Sri Lanka. The Government of Canada closed its eyes and ears to the activities of LTTE militants, and in the process, Sri Lanka suffered enormously.
Now, a small section of migrant Sikhs from India staying in Canada wants 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 unconcerned about such activities. This is causing a serious problem for India now.
The migrant population now has such a strong hold in 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 to enlist their support for the government.
With separatist forces from other countries becoming a grim reality in Canada, it often happens that violence takes place on Canadian soil too frequently these days, which was not the case in earlier days. Clashes happen between separatist migrant groups themselves, and also assaults and disturbances caused by separatist forces on others. The net result is that Canada is losing its name and reputation as a peaceful country.
It appears that the present Canadian government does not have the wisdom or foresight to realize the shape of things to come in Canada if such conditions were to continue.
In the case of the present controversy with India, the Canadian Prime Minister has gone out of the way to support the member of the Khalistan separatist group who was killed and has blamed India for the murder of the Khalistani leader, without providing hard evidence and simply saying that intelligence shared the information. The Government of India is repeatedly asking for concrete proof of the accusation. Further, the Government of India says that it has provided a list of Khalistan militants staying in Canada and organizing movements against India, but the Canadian government has done nothing about this. Maybe India has not sinned, but sinned against.
It is the wish of everyone that Canada should remain a peaceful country and ensure freedom for everyone. At the same time, it should be realized by the Canadian government that liberty to do anything cannot be a personal affair but it has to be a part of the social contract. Excessive and unrestricted freedom is as harmful as severely restricted freedom. In this respect, the Government of Canada should realize its role and responsibility and act in a holistic manner, keeping the long-term interest and global reputation of Canada in view.
Obviously, the Canadian government should not permit any section of the migrant population to organize separatist movements in other countries. If such conditions are allowed to go unchecked, the harm would be for the interest of Canada too.