A Liberal MP who took responsibility for inviting a man convicted of the attempted murder of an Indian cabinet minister to an event with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has stepped down from his role as chair of the party’s Pacific Caucus.
Randeep Sarai, the MP for Surrey Centre, announced he was stepping down from the role on Tuesday.
The party has numerous caucuses for regions such as Quebec and Toronto. Sarai chaired a caucus of MPs from British Columbia.
Voted into the job in October 2016, Sarai is stepping down after Jaspal Atwal, allegedly a former member of terrorist organization the International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF), was invited to an event hosted by the Canadian High Commissioner in India.
Sarai later took responsibility for Atwal’s name having appeared on a guest list and said he should have exercised better judgment.
A Canadian official said in a background briefing with media that Atwal’s invitation was orchestrated by people within the Indian government. Conservative leader Andrew Scheer called those remarks a “conspiracy theory.”
For his part, Trudeau backed the official who held this briefing in Question Period on Tuesday.
“Our professional non-partisan service does high quality work, and when one of our top diplomats and security officials says something to Canadians, it’s because they know it to be true,” he said.
- With files from Rebecca Joseph and David Akin