WSO Requests Meeting With Minister Goodale on Maligning of Sikh Community

WSO has today sent the below letter to Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale on the maligning of the Sikh community in the recently released 2018 Public Report on the Terrorism Threat to Canada.

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Public Safety Canada Terror Report Maligns Canadian Sikhs

Ottawa (December 11, 2018):  The World Sikh Organization of Canada is deeply disappointed by the addition of “Sikh (Khalistani) Extremism” to the Public Safety Canada’s 2018 Public Report on the Terrorism Threat to Canada that was released today.  The 2018 report on Canada’s terrorist threat environment included the “Sikh extremism” component for the first time this year.  The move appears correlated to repeated unsubstantiated Indian accusations of rising extremism in the Sikh community that reached a crescendo during the visit of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to India earlier this year.

While the 2018 Public Safety report does not make any reference to current extremist activities in the Sikh community, it does state, “some individuals in Canada continue to support Sikh (Khalistani) extremist ideologies and movements.”

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Reconsideration Motion Filed At Supreme Court for QNA Kirpan Appeal

(French follows below)

Ottawa (December 5, 2018): A motion for reconsideration has been filed with the Supreme Court of Canada with respect to the court’s decision to deny leave for appeal in the Singh, et al. v. Attorney General of Québec.  The appellants, Balpreet Singh and Harminder Kaur argue in their motion that two unusual and interrelated circumstances have given rise to the “exceedingly rare circumstances” which warrant the court’s reconsideration.  Specifically, the Supreme Court’s decision in Chagnon v. Syndicat de la fonction publique et parapublique du Québec and secondly, the election of the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ), which has championed discriminatory policies that will disproportionately affect religious minorities.

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Security Report Raises Spectre of Indian Interference in Sikh Canadian Affairs

Ottawa (December 4, 2018):  The release of a special security report by the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s trip to India earlier this year raises many troubling questions about foreign interference, particularly with respect to the reputation of the Sikh community in Canada and unfounded allegations of Sikh extremism.  The heavily-redacted 40-page report was released on Monday after the Prime Minister’s Office removed portions "deemed injurious to national security and international relations.”

The report examined three issues: allegations of foreign interference related to the Prime Minister’s visit; security issues around Canadian events in India; and a briefing to journalists given by the government’s national security adviser.

Most of the section on foreign interference is redacted, including all six of the Committee’s findings. 

Despite the heavy redaction, it is clear the Committee found that with “strategically released” media articles and repeated allegations of “Sikh extremism” in Canada, there was sufficient evidence to suggest an “orchestrated attempt” to “embarrass the Canadian government.”

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WSO Successfully Advocates for Religious Head Coverings at World Karate Federation

Ottawa (November 29, 2018) – The World Sikh Organization of Canada welcomes the World Karate Federation (WKF) accommodation of religiously mandated headwear for male competitors. Prior to the change, only female athletes were permitted to wear head coverings. The rule change, coming into effect on January 1, 2019,  will allow all Sikh competitors across the world  to wear religious head-coverings while competing.

The WKF has announced that it has approved a new version of its rules which allows all athletes to wear plain black head coverings during competition for religious reasons.  The WSO had worked with Karate Canada to advocate for the rule change at the international level.  

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WSO & Manmeet Singh Bhullar Foundation Welcome Approval of Afghan Hindu & Sikh Refugee Applications

Ottawa (November 28, 2018):  Yesterday, the Government of Canada announced that it is approving the resettlement of Sikh and Hindu refugees to Canada, who had fled Afghanistan due to religious persecution. These private sponsorship applications were spearheaded by the Manmeet Singh Bhullar Foundation and World Sikh Organization of Canada, along with community groups, and individuals carrying on the tireless work of Manmeet Singh Bhullar.
In 2015, through the World Sikh Organization of Canada, Manmeet Singh Bhullar learned about the plight of these children, women, and men. He began what was seen as an insurmountable task, by sharing with government officials in Canada and abroad, organizations, and individuals, the dire need to find a viable solution to the daily atrocities Sikhs and Hindus face in Afghanistan. He individually oversaw the safe exit of one family at a time from the province of Helmand into a neighbouring country. While settling them in and finding local organizations that would provide food, shelter, clothing, he knew that a permanent solution was needed.
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WSO Condemns Racist Vandalism of Kelowna Gurdwara

Kelowna (November 19, 2018)  The World Sikh Organization of Canada condemns the racist vandalism of the Gurdwara Guru Amardas Darbar Sikh Society in Kelowna, British Columbia.  The racist graffiti was discovered today as a congregation was starting.    

The WSO has been in contact with members of the Guru Amardas Darbar Sikh Society gurdwara, including President Tarsem Singh, and offered support and assistance in dealing with this incident. 

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WSO Works to Introduce Kirpan Accommodation on BC Ferries

Surrey (November 14, 2018):  The WSO has worked to implement a kirpan accommodation policy with BC Ferries after several Sikh passengers were told they could not wear their kirpans while travelling.

BC Ferries provides transportation for many BC residents who travel between the mainland and coastal and island communities.

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Lack of Commemoration of 1984 Sikh Genocide by PM Trudeau and Premier Ford Disappointing: WSO

Ottawa (November 6, 2018):  The World Sikh Organization of Canada is deeply disappointed by the lack of commemoration of the 1984 Sikh Genocide by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as well as Ontario Premier Doug Ford.  Neither Prime Minister Trudeau nor Premier Ford issued any commemoration of the 1984 Sikh Genocide that is marked by Sikhs across the world during the first week of November.

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WSO Statement on Denial of Leave to Appeal Singh v. A.G. Quebec

Ottawa (October 25, 2018):  The World Sikh Organization of Canada is deeply disappointed by today’s decision of the Supreme Court of Canada to deny leave to appeal in the case Singh, et al. v. Attorney General of Québec

In January 2011, the appellants in the case, Harminder Kaur and Balpreet Singh were part of a WSO delegation that had been invited to make a presentation at the Quebec National Assembly on on Bill 94 which would deny essential government services, public employment to individuals who wear facial coverings. The WSO’s team was excluded from the hearing before the Committee on Institutions because they were wearing the kirpan. The Sikh faith requires initiated men and women to wear the five Sikh articles of faith, including the kirpan, at all times. 

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