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Gordon Campbell likely to boycott Surrey Vaisakhi parade

British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell, left, greets people while attending the Vaisakhi parade in Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday April 10, 2010.

Darryl Dyck/ The Canadian Press/Darryl Dyck/ The Canadian Press

Premier Gordon Campbell says he will likely boycott Saturday's Vaisakhi parade in Surrey unless parade organizers apologize for warning federal Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh and provincial MLA David Hayer to stay away.

Both Mr. Dosanjh and Mr. Hayer have spoken out strongly in the past against Sikh extremist views, that have often been couched in rallying cries for a Sikh homeland known as Khalistan.

In an interview this week on a Punjabi radio station, parade organizer Iderjit Singh Bains told the two elected representatives they would be responsible for their own safety if they chose to attend.

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"There is no place in our country for this sort of thing, and I expect the organizers to say, frankly, that it is totally unacceptable to them, too," Mr. Campbell told reporters on Friday.

The premier who regularly attends Vaisakhi celebrations said that he does not now expect to show up for Saturday's parade in Surrey, which has drawn fire in the past for displaying photos of allege Sikh maryters, including those involved in the assassination of Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi.

"Until there has been a direct apology to the two individuals who were mentioned, I would find it difficult to go," Mr. Campbell said. "This is simply not acceptable in our country."

He said Vaisakhi is a religious celebration. "People are free to take political positions in Canada, but you are not in a position where you can single out individual elected representatives and say they better watch out if they come."

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