Yukon Premier Ranj Pillai says he wasn't alerted to any potential diplomatic tensions between Canada and India before he arrived in New Delhi on a territorial trade mission earlier this week.
Pillai was in India on Monday when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke out in the House of Commons accusing the Indian government of involvement in the murder of Canadian Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar on Canadian soil.
As news of the allegations broke, Yukon Opposition Leader Currie Dixon drew attention to the apparent breakdown in communication between the territory and the federal government.
"What we've ended up with is a situation where on the very same day that the prime minister of Canada was accusing the Indian government of involvement in the assassination of a Canadian citizen, we have the premier of Yukon, a Canadian premier, shaking hands and meeting with a top minister in the Modi government," Dixon said.
"At this point, it would seem that either the Government of Canada did not tell the premier that there might be concerns about this trip and then it might put him and other Yukoners, you know, right in the eye of a diplomatic storm, or they told the premier and he decided to go anyways, which is concerning."
According to Pillai, the former is exactly what happened.
Speaking to the CBC News on Friday, the premier said he was in touch with Global Affairs Canada leading up to his departure on his Asia mission on Sept. 7.
The trade mission began in Japan, and continued into Trivandrum and New Delhi. The delegation, which included Yukon's Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources and Tourism and Culture Minister John Streicker, and a Yukon business delegation, arrived in New Delhi last Saturday.
Trudeau's comments in the House of Commons came just before midnight on Monday in India. Pillai said he was resting in his hotel room, reviewing his briefing material to prepare for morning meetings with the Indian government and business leaders when the news broke.
"We found out at the same time as everybody else in Canada did," said Pillai.
'It was a shock'
Pillai said he met with Global Affairs prior to his departure to discuss security, and diplomatic tensions didn't come up.
"They did not flag any, you know, significant diplomatic pressure, there was no concern about any significant actions happening on either side.
"So it was a big shock on Monday night."
On its return to Canada, the Yukon delegation made a stop in Ottawa to meet with federal ministers, including the Minister of National Defence and Minister of Public Safety Dominic LeBlanc.
"I spoke with Minister LeBlanc in Ottawa yesterday and reiterated my concern about the lack of communication to our team," said Pillai.
"I mean, I'm aware the Prime Minister is not going to call me directly with secret intelligence before he makes a statement, but my feeling was that they should have reached out to us following the statement that night."
CBC News asked Global Affairs Canada for comment on this story, but did not receive a response by deadline.
Pillai said he still considers the overseas trip a success. He said on Sept. 21, two "major" Japanese companies signed deals on Yukon projects.
The premier said his focus now is on supporting the Yukon's Indian residents, who may be especially affected by the breakdown in relations between the two countries.
"We also have to ensure that people of Indian descent, or people that are part of the diaspora feel safe, that they feel welcomed, that they know that they add greatly to our society and to our community."