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:
I want to again apologize for my role in recent unfortunate events. Moving forward, I will be exercising better judgment. As I don’t want to distract from the good work of the Pacific Caucus, I will be stepping down as caucus chair.
— Randeep S. Sarai (@randeepssarai) February 28, 2018
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:
#QP 2/ @ErinOTooleMP: Only 2 ppl cling to the conspiracy theory about Atwal invitation, will PM or Daniel Jean appear before public safety cmttee?
@RalphGoodale: Implication of Conservative’s question is unfortunate, Jean has served this country with distinction #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/mLWoBRQ8QI
— CPAC (@CPAC_TV) March 22, 2018
#QP 2/ @CandiceBergenMP Was PM aware that Daniel Jean was going to be giving briefing to media re: Atwal affair — yes or no?@CanadianPM Official Opposition leader could receive classified briefing; we’ve offered repeatedly…instead Official Opp’n prefers to play petty politics pic.twitter.com/cys1vZipOL
— CPAC (@CPAC_TV) March 26, 2018
#QP 4/ @AndrewScheer Atwal affair: Can PM inform us who in PMO helped orchestrate release of classified info to media?@CanadianPM At no point did members of public service reveal classified info to media…Opp’n ldr refuses to know truth & get classified briefing on situation pic.twitter.com/amtybhhoqB
— CPAC (@CPAC_TV) March 27, 2018
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.