Speaker Raymonde Gagne’s Absence at G20 Parliamentary Summit in New Delhi Sparks Questions
The upcoming two-day parliamentary speakers’ summit, marking a part of India’s year-long G20 presidency, is set to commence on Friday. Notably, the absence of Canadian Speaker Raymonde Gagne from the event has raised eyebrows, as India plays host to the gathering of speakers from G20 major economies. India’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Arindam Bagchi, commented on the matter, stating, “We invite all members for G20 events. Participation is their decision and subject to a number of factors.” Bagchi also mentioned that confirmation of any Canadian attendance at the summit remained uncertain in light of the parliament speaker’s absence.
While the Canadian senate has yet to respond to Reuters’ request for comment, Indian media reported that India’s lower house speaker indicated Canada would be represented by the Senate speaker.
The strained relations between India and Canada took a toll after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau publicly voiced suspicions last month that Indian agents were involved in the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar. The killing took place on June 18 in a Vancouver suburb and was attributed to unidentified gunmen. In response to Trudeau’s allegations, India labeled them as absurd, leading to the expulsion of diplomats from both countries. India further suspended the issuance of new visas for Canadians and called on Ottawa to reduce its diplomatic presence in India.
Bagchi emphasized that India remains in contact with Canada at various levels and is committed to maintaining parity in terms of Canadian diplomatic presence.