Trudeau Joins Tens of Thousands at Vaisakhi Parade in Toronto

Prime Minister Trudeau attends Toronto's Vaisakhi parade, celebrating Sikh culture and community, as Canada-India relations face tensions over Sikh separatist issues.

Nitish Verma
New Update
Trudeau Joins Tens of Thousands at Vaisakhi Parade in Toronto

Trudeau Joins Tens of Thousands at Vaisakhi Parade in Toronto

On April 28, 2024, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended the annual Vaisakhi parade in downtown Toronto, celebrating the Sikh New Year and the establishment of the Sikh community in 1699 with tens of thousands of people. The parade, organized by the Ontario Sikhs and Gurdwaras Council (OSGC), is the third-largest in Canada and draws thousands of participants each year.

The event featured free food, traditional Sikh prayers and music, and attendees dressed in saffron-colored clothing. Several other politicians, including Conservative Party leader Pierre Poilievre, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, and Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow, also attended the celebration. Chow praised the Khalsa tradition and its principles of freedom, equality, justice, and generosity.

During the event, Trudeau addressed the Sikh community, stating that diversity is one of Canada's greatest strengths and that the government will always protect the rights and freedoms of the Sikh community. However, there were also pro-Khalistan slogans raised from the crowd. Trudeau acknowledged the desire of the Sikh community to see their loved ones more often and said the government has negotiated more flights between Canada and India.

Why this matters: The Vaisakhi parade in Toronto is a significant event that celebrates the Sikh community's culture and traditions while highlighting the importance of diversity in Canada. The presence of high-profile politicians at the event underscores the political and social significance of the Sikh community in the country.

The event comes at a time when diplomatic relations between India and Canada are strained, particularly due to the killing of India-designated terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada, which led to accusations from Trudeau about Indian involvement, which India denied. The Vaisakhi parade has grown from a modest gathering of 2,000 people in 1986 to become the third-largest parade in Toronto, serving as a reminder of Sikh identity and values, as well as an opportunity for other communities to learn about Sikh culture.

Key Takeaways

  • PM Trudeau attended Toronto's Vaisakhi parade, celebrating Sikh New Year.
  • Parade is Canada's 3rd largest, drawing thousands of participants annually.
  • Trudeau, other politicians praised Sikh community's culture and values.
  • Parade comes amid strained India-Canada ties over Khalistan issue.
  • Vaisakhi parade highlights Sikh identity and diversity in Canada.