OTTAWA — The official Opposition is pointing to India’s decision to raise tariffs on chickpeas as the latest evidence that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s recent trip to that country ended up doing more harm than good.
Conservative MP Candice Bergen led off question period today by citing India’s higher tariffs — now 60 per cent, up from 40 — as proof that Trudeau’s troubled trip overseas and the ensuing controversy have resulted a breakdown in relations.
Trudeau has been embroiled in controversy since news broke that Jaspal Atwal — a B.C. Sikh convicted of trying to kill an Indian cabinet minister in 1986 — was invited to and attended a reception in Mumbai, where he was photographed with Trudeau’s wife.
A media briefing during the trip by national security adviser Daniel Jean suggested Atwal’s presence was arranged by factions within the Indian government who fear Canada is not committed to a united India.
Bergen says India provides significant growth potential for trade, but says the governing Liberals are threatening those relations by suggesting India itself helped to orchestrate what turned out to be an embarrassing gaffe.
Trudeau, speaking in Barrie, Ont., says the tariff increase was a domestic decision that doesn’t specifically target Canada, and that he had productive discussions with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on increasing the predictability of future tariffs.
The latest increase in chickpea tariffs comes after India imposed a 50 per cent tariff on pea imports last November and a 30 per cent tariff on chickpeas and lentils in December.