Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined the Indian community in the country to bring in Diwali, lighting lamps at Parliament Hill in Ottawa. This comes at a time when Canada’s relations with India are at an all-time low.
Sharing glimpses of the event on his Instagram, Trudeau wrote: “In just a few days, people across the country and around the world will celebrate Diwali and Bandi Chhor Divas. Both celebrations are about the triumph of light over darkness, and about optimism – and both are a symbol of the light we all need more of. To everyone who came together for yesterday’s event on Parliament Hill: Happy Diwali! Happy Bandi Chhor Divas! I hope the celebrations this week bring you optimism for the year ahead.”
The Diwali celebration at Parliament Hill was led by Indo-Canadian parliamentarian Chandrasekhar Arya. The event saw an impressive turnout of Indians from various Canadian cities, including Ottawa, the Greater Toronto Area, and Montreal.
“I was pleased to host Diwali on Parliament Hill,” Mr Arya, originally from Karnataka, wrote on X.
“We also used this opportunity to raise the flag of the Hindu sacred symbol Aum at Parliament Hill. Great turnout with participants from Ottawa, the Greater Toronto Area, Montreal, and many other places. The event was supported by 67 Hindu and Indo-Canadian organizations across Canada. The added pleasure this year was Diwali is also part of the Hindu Heritage Month across Canada. My sincere thanks to all those who attended, volunteers, and artists of excellent cultural performances at the event.”
I was pleased to host Diwali on parliament hill.
We also used this opportunity to raise the flag of Hindu sacred symbol Aum on parliament hill.
Great turnout with participants from Ottawa, Greater Toronto Area, Montreal and many other places.
The event was supported by 67 Hindu… pic.twitter.com/gb4zOkrqAA
— Chandra Arya (@AryaCanada) November 6, 2023
Pierre Poilievre, the leader of the Conservative Party, also attended the event. “Happy Diwali from Brampton! As light overcomes darkness, may your year be filled with love and joy,” he wrote on X.
Happy Diwali from Brampton!
As light overcomes darkness, may your year be filled with love and joy. pic.twitter.com/PHTDnaPCYX
— Pierre Poilievre (@PierrePoilievre) November 5, 2023
The Diwali celebrations took place amid strained bilateral relations between India and Canada. Tensions between the two countries escalated after Justin Trudeau, in September, claimed Indian agents were involved in the killing of Khalistani leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada’s Surrey. India had designated Nijjar as a terrorist in 2020.
On November 5, Union Minister Piyush Goyal said that talks with Canada for a free trade agreement have paused due to some misconceptions.
In October, Canada withdrew 41 diplomats from India after India flagged a diplomatic disparity. Canada alleged India was planning to “unethically” revoke diplomatic immunity for all but 21 of Canada’s diplomats and their families, forcing the move from Ottawa.