U.S. officials apologize to Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains after he was asked to remove turban at airport.
OTTAWA – Senior Trudeau government minister Navdeep Bains received an apology from US officials after he was asked to remove his turban at an U.S. airport.
The Trump administration apologized to Bains for how its security officials acted.
In April 2017, Bains was travelling back to Canada from Detroit, after attending the Great Lakes Economic Forum. While there he met with the governor of Michigan, among other officials, reported Canadian Press.
As he was going through security at the Detroit airport, travelling to Montreal, security agents insisted that Bains remove his turban, even after going through an additional security screen, as per U.S. policy that allows Sikhs to keep their turbans on when going through airport checks.
While Bains, as a member of federal cabinet, carries a special diplomatic passport, his office said he did not use his status or show the passport until he was asked by a supervisor to confirm his identity.
Bains’ office said once he showed the security official his diplomatic credentials, he ultimately did not have to remove his turban.
Following the incident, Foreign Affairs officials spoke with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Transportation Security Administration. It was concluded that the way security officials acted towards Bains was against protocol, and the Americans have apologized, according to Bains’ office.
"As a Sikh, wearing the turban is considered one of the most dutiful acts for a person of the faith and I am proud to represent my community. Unfortunately these types of incidents do occur from time to time to minorities in particular. But it should never become the norm,” Bains said in a statement.
“I will continue to promote diversity and inclusion across the country as our government has done since we took office. It is why exactly why I ran for office,” he said.