Margin of Terror: A Reporter's Twenty-Year Odyssey Covering the Tragedies of the Air Indian Bombing


320 pages
Contains Photos
ISBN 1-55263-772-7
DDC 363.12'465'0916337





Reviewed by J.L. Granatstein

J.L. Granatstein, Distinguished Research Professor of History Emeritus,
York University, served as Director of the Canadian War Museum from 1998
to 2000. His latest works are Who Killed Canadian History?, Who Killed
the Canadian Military, and Hell’s Cor


The Air India tragedy of 1985 is the longest-running terrorism story in
Canadian history. When Sikh extremists blew up an Air India flight—and
all who were travelling on it—they revealed many things in stark
detail. First, that Sikh extremism was operating in Canada and was a
serious danger. Second, that Canada’s security services had failed
completely in tracking the extremists and preventing their illegal
activities in Canada, And third, that Canadian politicians and officials
saw the Air India tragedy as an Indian event, not a Canadian one, even
though large numbers of those killed were Canadians. That added
humiliation to the pain of loss for countless families.

All the detail of this terrible story is yet to be made public, and the
current commission investigation under Mr. Justice Major is providing
almost daily revelations as I write this. One of the few journalists to
try to find his way to the heart of this story is Salim Jiwa of the
Vancouver Province. Indian in origin but not Sikh, Jiwa nonetheless
carved out a relationship with the players in the Sikh community and
with the Indian government’s agents in Canada. His book provides
almost absolute proof of the failings of the intelligence services, and
he nails those responsible for the atrocity and those who connived in
carrying it out. The book could not include the Major Commission
revelations, so another edition will be necessary.


Jiwa, Salim, and Donald J. Hauka., “Margin of Terror: A Reporter's Twenty-Year Odyssey Covering the Tragedies of the Air Indian Bombing,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 12, 2024,