Unfortunately, this title is misleading. It is my position that the bombing of Air India Flight 182 was NOT accompanied by a systemic coverup by the Canadian government. Bear with me as I explain.
While I was writing My Father’s Secret, I endeavoured to provide as faithful a re-imagining of the Air India tragedy as I could. However, as a work of fiction, where I was trying to come to grips with how this terrible incident could occur, I kept confronting a singular problem: the bombing was orchestrated by people of South Asian ancestry based on grievances emanating from South Asia with people of mostly South Asian ancestry representing the victims of the tragedy. In 1985, this dynamic allowed Canadian authorities—and Canadian citizens—to reject our warm embrace of multiculturalism and assume a position akin to, “Look what these Indians did”—this despite the fact that 85 percent of the victims were Canadians. All the dominant group in Canada were willing to accept was that this was a ‘brown on brown’ crime that could be shelved with the hope that the ‘problem’ would just go away.
Let’s not split hairs hear. A few people have gone to great lengths to talk about language differences (Punjabi and Hindi are clearly not English or French) and immigration status (some of the victims were landed immigrants). If the state recognizes someone as Canadian, they’re Canadian and this cannot be rationalized away simply because of the colour of a person’s skin.
Now back to the coverup idea. In My Father’s Secret, the only way to make the story work was to have an official coverup, complete with destruction of evidence and murder. If I was faithfully retelling the Air India story, I would have written the story without a coverup. Why? Because there was no need to cover things up because everything happened in plain sight.
Do you think I am exaggerating? How else do you explain the fact that:
I could go on (and on and on) with the things missed in the Air India tragedy. However, this sampling should provide a startling example of how, when we’re not paying attention, tragedies of unspeakable proportions can happen right in front of us. The points above speak to neglect, incompetence and implicit bias against Canadians who look a certain way. Sadly, there was no need to coverup the Air India bombing because the level of disengagement from the tragedy, both in leadership and in the collective response of citizens from coast to coast, allowed the perpetrators to carry out the bombing in plain sight with no meaningful response from the true North strong and free.
Check out Terry Milewski's perspective on the global Khalistan movement and the part it played in the Air India bombing. Mr. Milewski goes in depth into the Air India investigation around the eleven minute mark. According to Milewski, the Air India investigation was "an absolute fiasco."
Sean Patrick Dolan's Blog
Sean Patrick Dolan is the author of the thriller, My Father's Secret, inspired by the Air India Bombing.