Monday: PM’s National Security Adviser Defends Role in India Controversy

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Monday: PM’s National Security Adviser Defends Role in India Controversy

UPDATED April 16, 2018 5:10pmET

Daniel Jean, the prime minister’s national security and intelligence adviser, went before the Commons public safety committee on Monday, to answer questions on Justin Trudeau’s February trip to India — and his own role in the explanation for the invitations offered to Jaspal Atwal to attend official events, despite being convicted of the attempted assassination of an Indian cabinet minister.

Watch the full committee:

Here’s what Jean told reporters after the meeting:

And reaction from Conservative committee members:

The hearing follows repeated demands from the opposition for Jean to explain media reports where Canadian officials suggested elements within India’s government were responsible for the presence of a convicted attempted murderer at an official event.

The Indian government claimed no involvement in Jaspal Atwal’s invitation to events hosted by the Canadian high commissioner in Mumbai and New Delhi as part of Trudeau’s visit, asserting that “any suggestion to the contrary is baseless and unacceptable.”

Atwal also denied any communication with the Indian government while appearing with his lawyer in Vancouver in early March.

B.C. Liberal MP Randeep Sarai, meanwhile, accepted responsibility for the invitations:

The public safety committee defeated attempts to hear directly from Jean before the Privy Council Office agreed to an unclassified briefing earlier this month at the request of Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer.

That followed late March’s voting marathon in the House of Commons that served as a Conservative protest of the defeat of an opposition day motion calling for Jean to answer questions on Atwal and the India trip.

The controversy dominated much of question period in the early spring:

Atwal was convicted of attempted murder for a failed 1986 assassination attempt in British Columbia against an Indian cabinet minister as part of the Sikh independence movement.

-Andrew Thomson