Trudeau says he didn’t cen­sor In­dia trip re­port

PMO pushes back against claims of po­lit­i­cal med­dling with new com­mit­tee’s find­ings

StarMetro Edmonton - - CANADA & WORLD - CANA­DIAN PRESS Alex Boutilier ADRIAN WYLD/THE Adam Nos­siter

Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau flatly de­nied al­le­ga­tions on Tues­day that his of­fice cen­sored a re­port look­ing into his Fe­bru­ary trip to In­dia. Both the op­po­si­tion Con­ser­va­tives and New Democrats crit­i­cized the heav­ily-cen­sored re­port. OT­TAWA— Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau says nei­ther he nor his of­fice or­dered a re­port into his ill-fated In­dia trip to be cen­sored, push­ing back against op­po­si­tion sug­ges­tions his of­fice re­moved po­lit­i­cally-sen­si­tive in­for­ma­tion in the un­clas­si­fied ver­sion of the re­port.

Both the op­po­si­tion Con­ser­va­tives and New Democrats crit­i­cized the heav­i­lycen­sored re­port, pre­pared by an all-party com­mit­tee of MPs and sen­a­tors, sug­gest­ing the prime min­is­ter held back em­bar­rass­ing in­for­ma­tion from the re­port’s pub­lic re­lease.

Trudeau flatly de­nied those al­le­ga­tions in the House of Com­mons Tues­day, stat­ing no­body in the Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice re­quested any sec­tion of the re­port to be cen­sored.

“Nei­ther I nor my of­fice re­quested or di­rected any redac­tions,” Trudeau said.

“A pro­posal was made by the se­cu­rity and in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity (for redac­tions), and we ac­cepted. We did no ex­tra redact­ing, we did no un­der-redact­ing. We ac­cepted the ad­vice of the pro­fes­sion­als.”

The re­port, which ex­am­ined mul­ti­ple se­cu­rity aspects of Trudeau’s Fe­bru­ary so­journ to In­dia, was re­leased by the new Na­tional Se­cu­rity and In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee of Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans (NSICOP).

It’s a cross-par­ti­san com­mit­tee, with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the three ma­jor par­ties. PARIS—Try­ing to quell its most se­ri­ous po­lit­i­cal cri­sis, the govern­ment of Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron an­nounced on Tues­day that it would sus­pend the gaso­line tax in­crease that had set off three weeks of in­creas­ingly vi­o­lent protests in Paris and around France by the Yel­low Vest move­ment.

The step was an ex­traor­di­nary con­ces­sion by a pres­i­dent who has re­fused to bend to pre­vi­ous protests and plum­met­ing poll num­bers as he pushes through changes that he in­sists are nec­es­sary to make France’s econ­omy more com­pet­i­tive.

Whether it was enough to ap­pease the Yel­low Vests’ var­ied com­plaints about the de­clin­ing liv­ing stan­dards of the French work­ing class was far from clear. But there was lit­tle doubt that the ges­ture was in­tended as a nod to wide­spread anger over per­ceived eco­nomic in­jus­tice, and to blunt the mo­men­tum of a pop­u­lar re­volt that now threat­ens Macron’s agenda.

“No tax war­rants putting the unity of the na­tion in dan­ger,” Prime Min­is­ter Édouard Philippe said af­ter brief­ing law­mak­ers in a closed-door meet­ing in Par­lia­ment. “One would have to be deaf and blind not to see or hear the anger.”

The gas tax in­crease, which was sched­uled to start in Jan­uary and was equiv­a­lent to about 6.6 cents a litre, proved to be a tip­ping point in a coun­try that al­ready has some of the high­est taxes in Europe.

Lionel Cuc­chi, a spokesper­son in Mar­seille, told BFM TV that pro­test­ers were pre­pared to con­tinue.

“There’s no guar­an­tee it won’t be back in six months,” he said of the gas tax. “There will be more demon­stra­tions. We re­main mo­bi­lized.”

The govern­ment also said it would also de­lay new ve­hi­cle in­spec­tion mea­sures and in­creases in elec­tric­ity rates that were in­tended as part of Macron’s plans to tran­si­tion France to­ward cleaner en­ergy.

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