NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said he was provided with a classified intelligence briefing that points to the Indian government’s role in the gangland-style killing of a prominent Sikh leader from British Columbia.
Mr. Singh told reporters Tuesday that he received a briefing last week from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and a second briefing from Canadian security officials on the mid-June killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
“It was very clear to me, as the Prime Minister said, that there is credible information that the Indian government was involved in the killing of a Canadian on Canadian soil,” he said.
The Indian government has strongly denied the allegations.
Mr. Singh said he was able to hear the evidence because he was given a high-level security clearance earlier this year to see classified documents involving allegations of Chinese interference in the 2019 and 2021 elections.
After discussing Mr. Nijjar’s killing with the Prime Minister, Mr. Singh said he asked for a more detailed briefing from Mr. Trudeau’s National Security Adviser Jody Thomas on Sept. 21.
“The intelligence is something that is very credible,” he said, but provided no further details and noted that what he was told was not “exhaustive. There was not a lot of specific information.”
Mr. Singh said he did not think the government should release that information on India’s alleged involvement at this point because it could compromise a continuing criminal investigation.
The allegations have caused a deep rift in Indo-Canadian relations. Both countries have been engaged in tit-for-tat responses. Ottawa has suspended free-trade talks and a Canadian trade mission to India, while New Delhi has paused visa processing services for Canadians.
The two countries have also expelled diplomats from each of their missions.
The U.S. government has urged the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to work with Canada to arrest the people responsible for the killing of Mr. Nijjar, who advocated for a separate state for Sikhs in the Indian state of Punjab.
Intelligence from a Five Eyes ally – which includes the U.S., Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – comprises part of the evidence gathered in the investigation of the Nijjar slaying. On Sunday, U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Cohen told CTV News that “shared intelligence among Five Eyes partners” was provided to Canada that showed possible involvement of Indian agents in the killing.
British Columbia Premier David Eby, visiting Ottawa, said on Tuesday that he discussed the Nijjar case with the Prime Minister, Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc and Ambassador Cohen.
However, Mr. Eby said in an interview that he has not received much information about the case from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.
“The CSIS briefings I get are what are called open-source information, which means basically anything that you could find online. It’s very frustrating and when I express that frustration to them and to other government officials, it’s pointed out to me that CSIS’s client is the federal government and they are limited by their act in what they can share,” Mr. Eby said in an interview.
“I’ve had assurances from the Public Safety Minister and the Prime Minister that they are looking at the CSIS Act and finding ways that they can better share information, that the act may not be reflecting the current state of information-sharing that’s needed.”
However, Mr. Eby, a former B.C. attorney-general, said he did not necessarily support the government revealing more information about the case as demanded by federal Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre.
“On this file and on many files, I think there is a need for improved mechanisms to share information to the province about what’s going on,” he said.
But Mr. Eby added he is extremely cautious about the continuing criminal investigation, and the need to protect that “above all costs.”
“That is more important to me than knowing directly, personally at this stage, what’s going on,” he said.
“So if there is any threat of compromising the criminal investigation, focus on the criminal investigation, but if there is information that can be shared with us to protect British Columbians better, without compromising that, then please share it right now. Unfortunately right now, there are not the mechanisms to be able to do that currently.”
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre said the Prime Minister didn’t offer similar briefings to him as he did for Mr. Singh.
But he said he wouldn’t take it in any case.
“He offered the same briefing to NDP Premier Eby who said that all he got was information he could have gotten online,” Mr. Poilievre told reporters. “So, this is not going to provide necessary information. All it would do is to inhibit my ability to speak.”
Mr. Poilievre has so far rejected getting the clearance needed to review the classified documents about alleged Chinese interference.