Brampton Centre MP Ramesh Sangha has been removed from the Liberal Party caucus.
Sangha, a former lawyer who was first elected in 2015, will now sit as an Independent.
A statement from Mark Holland, chief government whip, said his office was made aware last week that Sangha was making “baseless and dangerous” accusations against a number of his colleagues.
“As we have made clear time and time again, we will not tolerate conspiracy theories, or dangerous and unfounded rhetoric about Parliamentarians or other Canadians,” the statement said. “Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for many Canadians to experience suspicions because of their background; we all know where this can lead.”
Holland said Sangha was removed Monday afternoon after the whip consulted with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
CBC News has reached out to Sangha’s office but has not yet received a response.
Sources who spoke to CBC News said Sangha made disparaging comments about Liberal MP Navdeep Bains, who is Sikh. Bains stepped down from the federal cabinet last month because he is not running again in the next election, citing family reasons.
The National Post reported in 2019 that Sangha accused the Liberal government of “pandering” to Sikh separatists in a way that threatened to derail Canada’s relationship with India.
“There is no doubt, there cannot be two opinions that the Liberal Party is pandering [to] Khalistan supporters,” the Post quoted Sangha as saying in an interview on 5AAB, a Punjabi-language channel based in Mississauga, Ont. “One thing is for sure, when we raise this issue, it will raise an anti-India slogan or demand the division of India on some ground. In that, ultimately our relations, the Canada-India relationship will certainly develop cracks.”
The Khalistani movement is a Sikh independence movement that seeks to establish an independent Sikh state called Khalistan.
The Khalistani issue dogged the Liberal government in the lead-up to Trudeau’s infamous trip to India in 2018, when a high-ranking Indian politician and local media reports accused Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, former Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi and other Sikh members of Trudeau’s cabinet of supporting the pro-Khalistani movement. The ministers strongly denied those reports at the time.