Jaspal Atwal, B.C. man at centre of media storm over Trudeau invite, likes posing with politicians

Jaspal Atwal is in the centre of an international media storm after posing for photos with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's wife Sophie Grégoire Trudeau and Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi during Trudeau's trip to India. But it's not the first time Atwal has posed for photographs with politicians.

Atwal has posed for photos with Liberal cabinet ministers and former leaders - and even Wayne Gretzky

Jaspal Atwal, right, poses with Justin Trudeau at the South Asian Media Roundtable press conference in a photo posted on Facebook by Community Times Canada in May 2015. Trudeau was Liberal leader at the time. (Community Times Canada Facebook page)

For a man once convicted of trying to kill a politician, Jaspal Atwal seems to have had little trouble getting his picture taken with MPs, cabinet ministers and Liberal party leaders, including Justin Trudeau.

Atwal — convicted in 1986 of the attempted assassination of an Indian state cabinet minister visiting Vancouver Island — is at the centre of an international media storm after posing for photos with Prime Minister Trudeau's wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, and Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi during Trudeau's trip to India this week.

Here are the photos that sparked the controversy this week:

Jaspal Atwal, right, posed with Sophie Gregoire Trudeau at a event with Indian film stars in Mumbai on Tuesday. (Name withheld by request)
Trudeau's minister of infrastructure and communities, Amarjeet Sohi, left, also posed with Atwal in Mumbai. (Contributor's name withheld by request)

But Atwal also has been in photos with Justin Trudeau on at least two occasions, including this photo from several years ago:

Atwal, left, posted this photo of himself with Trudeau and another man to his Facebook page in January, 2013. (Facebook)

Nor is Justin Trudeau the first federal Liberal leader to pose for a photo with Atwal.

Here he is in 2009 with Michael Ignatieff, who was Liberal leader at the time:

Atwal, second from left, poses with then interim Liberal party leader Michael Ignatieff and others in February, 2009. (Facebook)

And here he is with former interim Liberal leader Bob Rae:

Atwal, far right, with former interim Liberal leader Bob Rae and others in an undated photo. (Vancouver Sun)

Atwal has also posed with ministers

Then there was Liberal cabinet minister Carla Qualtrough, MP for the riding of Delta, B.C, who posed with Atwal when she was minister of sport and persons with disabilities. She is now minister for public service and procurement.

This photo with federal Liberal minister Carla Qualtrough was posted in June, 2016. (Facebook)

John McCallum, who was immigration minister at the time, may not have known that Atwal was in the background of this photo taken at a roundtable for South Asian journalists:

Jaspal Atwal stands in the background of a photo being taken with former immigration minister John McCallum at a roundtable for South Asian journalists in August, 2016.

... and that's not all.

Here he is with former NHL hockey star Wayne Gretzky in a photo posted on Atwal's Facebook page earlier this month:

Atwal posted this undated photo with Wayne Gretzky on Facebook last week. (Facebook)


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?