In an interview Tuesday, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau spoke for the first time on some of the finer points of the Trudeaus’ controversial India trip, including the traditional clothing they wore and her infamous photo with attempted assassin Jaspal Atwal. According to the Prime Minister’s Office, Atwal attended the event at which the picture was taken without the PM’s knowledge and received an invitation to a Trudeau-hosted event later in the week in error as well.
Jaspal Atwal was found guilty of attempted murder in 1986 after shooting a Punjab state minister who was visiting Vancouver Island. Atwal lives in Canada, but travelled to India and attended a government function last night.
Here he is with Sophie Trudeau. pic.twitter.com/4vyJcTlJr1
— Candice Malcolm (@CandiceMalcolm) February 22, 2018
“[That was] the first time I ever saw him,” Gregoire Trudeau said, “When we stand in a photo line or when people come up to us to ask pictures, it’s always a moment when I remind myself, this is their moment. And it is my moment because these people are showing me trust and confidence. So I stand there with all my presence and I take a picture with pleasure. Then something shocking comes along. That’s life, right?”
Atwal was convicted in 1986 of attempted murder when he shot a visiting Indian minister in British Columbia. He was also a member of an extremist group from India and now resides in B.C. The Prime Minister’s Office has been adamant that the PM and his family have had no contact with Atwal before and that his invitation to the event in India was accidental and revoked as soon as it came to their attention. Atwal, however, tells a different story, deepening the controversy.
Sophie was also asked about the Trudeaus’ fashion choices during the trip and the backlash they prompted. She confirmed that the clothes were made by Canadian designers and sewn by Syrian refugees in Canada. The Trudeaus simply wanted to showcase the Canadian talent and were assured by those around them that the outfits would be well-received. Apparently some political miscalculations were made.
“It’s always surprising when you hear the negative on something that went so well,” she said. She then described all the meetings she had with women and girls participating in life-changing initiatives for their communities.
“I focus on the important,” she said, “I think that’s also a life lesson. I have three kids. I’m an active person, we keep things real and we’ve got to focus on the positive.”
“I have enough love and stability in my life to take this heat and when you’re on official trips, it’s not a vacation. It’s serious work,” she added, “I think it’s important to know that on official trips, you listen to officials who guide you and also clothing choices . . . and I listen to the professionals.”
— Anita Vandenbeld (@anitavandenbeld) March 7, 2018
Gregoire Trudeau was out promoting her partnership with CARE Canada and to kick off the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” campaign which is a walk in solidarity with women and girls around the world who have to walk miles every day for water, food and other life essentials.