No, Canada Opposition leader did not avoid questions about India at media briefing

By: Umme Kulsum
September 22 2023

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No, Canada Opposition leader did not avoid questions about India at media briefing

A screenshot of viral video. (Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

The full video shows Pierre Poilievre answering multiple questions about India during a recent press conference in Ottawa.

Claim ID 2ad97d09

On September 18, 2023, in a speech to the House of Commons, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused the Indian government of being involved in the assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar. Following this allegation, Melanie Joly, Canada's foreign minister, announced that a senior Indian diplomat had been expelled over the killing.

Since then, as the row escalates, India has taken several diplomatic steps, expelling a senior Canadian official, issuing an advisory for Indian citizens in Canada and those traveling to the country, and suspending visas for Canadians.

What’s the claim?

In the midst of this diplomatic rift, a seven-second clip of a press conference held by Canada's opposition leader Pierre Poilievre is circulating on social media with a claim that he avoided questions about India. The viral video shared on X (archived here) was captioned, "Poilievre sure made a quick exit stage left at the mention of India." The post amassed 1,19,600 views and was reposted over 200 times at the time of writing this story. 

However, the viral video is an edited version of the original footage of the press conference that misrepresents the events.

What did we find?

Through a reverse image search, we found the 12-minute-long version of the viral video. Global News published the original clip on YouTube on September 19, 2023, titled, "Poilievre speaks on India's alleged ties to the murder of Canadian Sikh leader | FULL." The description stated that the video clip is of a media briefing held in Ottawa on September 18, 2023.

Throughout the conference, Poilievre speaks about various issues and fields numerous questions from journalists relating to India. At the 8:46 minute timestamp, a journalist asks Poilievre about the India-Canada issue, asking if Canada needs to change its relationship with India in light of the intelligence shared by Trudeau. Poilievre responds to this question, saying, "I think the prime minister needs to come clean with all the facts. We need to know all the evidence possible so that Canadians can make judgments on that."

Comparison of the viral video with footage of the media briefing. (Source: YouTube/Global News, X)

Immediately after, in response to another question from a different journalist asking if Canada should do more than expel an Indian diplomat, Poilievre says, "I think we need to see more facts. The prime minister hasn't provided any facts. He provided a statement. And I will just emphasize that he didn't tell me anymore in private than he told Canadians in public. So we want to see more information."

Having answered several questions on the issue, Poilievre eventually leaves the conference room after replying to one last question on the India-Canada rift, saying, "We need to see the facts."

A news report published by the National Post titled “Poilievre demands Trudeau 'come clean' on intelligence implicating India in Canadian's murder,” reported on Poilievre’s comments on the India-Canada issue at the same press briefing.

Both of these sources confirm that the Conservative leader did not avoid questions about India and that an edited version of an 8-minute-long video is being used to spread a false narrative.

Amid the rift between the two countries, several misleading and false narratives are making rounds on social media. Logically Facts has debunked such narratives around this issue, which can be accessed here and here

The verdict

During the recent media briefing in Ottawa, contrary to claims on social media, Canada's opposition leader Pierre Poilievre responded to multiple questions about the India-Canada rift. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

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