By: Kasi Rao in Toronto, ON

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s arrival in New Delhi on February 17 for a week-long state visit marks the 12th visit by a member of his cabinet to India, and given his position, the most important one.

The significance of Trudeau’s visit is clear — India matters to Canada, as a friend and a trading partner with still-unrealized potential at a time when Canada seeks to broaden and deepen its international markets.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]"The building blocks are there. Two-way trade between Canada and India was nearly $8 billion in 2016, even though there have been setbacks and slow progress in formal trade talks."[/quote]

Canada and India have been talking for a while about reaching more comprehensive trade and investment agreements. But the real significance of this visit is already comprehensive — there’s a positive shift in our relationship that we’re ready to build on together.

The building blocks are there. Two-way trade between Canada and India was nearly $8 billion in 2016, even though there have been setbacks and slow progress in formal trade talks.

We do that amount of two-way trade with the United States every four days. But when it comes to Canada-India trade, the modesty of the numbers is a reflection of the past, not the promise of the future.

The obstacles are obvious too. Late last year, Indian government officials slapped an increased tariff on pulses — the little yellow peas that are a staple in South Asia, which Canadian farmers export to India.

Yet we have common ground. Canada is the biggest contributor of pulses to India, and India benefits when our supply is not constricted by tariffs.

There’s no substitute for a meeting between two leaders to reach a better understanding and make it easier to trade commodities.

Canada and India have been negotiating those free trade and investments agreements for some time now — and they may well take longer. That doesn’t negate the need for a sustained engagement with India across multiple sectors.

This visit is an opportunity — to find more common ground. The elements for stronger trade, business and investment relationships between Canada and India are apparent in the number of sectors that are robust and growing yet still relatively untapped.

There are huge opportunities to expand in tourism, research and skills, medical science, technology and innovation.

Some trading partners in the world lament a brain drain, where talented people leave. Between Canada and India it’s a brain chain, where the best and brightest in both countries complement and bolster each others’ achievements.

For example, Canada is one of the most welcoming countries, reflected in our increased immigration targets at a time when others in the G7 are cutting back.

More than a million Canadians trace their roots to India; they provide a natural bridge to newcomers. Canada has increasing potential as a magnet for higher education among promising Indian students, which contributes to research and innovation in both countries.

Canadians and Indians also share many similar attitudes and values in their outlook to solving global problems. On the economic front, Indian states now embrace cooperative and competitive federalism, marketing themselves internationally the way our provinces do.

Canadians and Indians also share many values when it comes to pluralism and diversity, and both countries are in sync on combatting climate change and the Paris Accord.

Public institutions in both countries have legitimacy in ways that either don’t exist in other places or are under severe strain.

Global studies such as the Pew Global Survey and 2018 Edelman Public Trust Barometer show that Canada and India rank consistently high in the public’s trust of institutions.

The strong Canadian team led by Prime Minister Trudeau, who is accompanied by senior Cabinet ministers, demonstrates Canada’s commitment to a wider and deeper relationship with India.

The Canadian brand is a compelling one that resonates with India.  There is nothing like a prime ministerial visit — it provides an extraordinary platform to demonstrate the breadth and depth of our engagement. 


Kasi Rao is President and CEO of the Canada-India Business Council (C-IBC). Republished under arrangement with iPolitics.

Published in Politics

by Shazia Javed (@ShaziaJaved) in Toronto

Diversity is a major part of the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival and it’s no wonder, with almost 200 films being screened from Canada and around the world. The festival offers a unique opportunity to shed light on diverse stories and storytellers alike. Here is the first instalment of NCM’s series highlighting standout films and filmmakers from this year’s festival.  

Filmmaker Spotlight | Noemi Weis, Milk

Noemi Weis is the producer, director and writer of Milk, a documentary about the commercialization of childbirth and infant feeding, which premiered at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival in Toronto this week.

In 1998, Weis created a film production company, Film Blanc, and has been involved in making documentaries on social justice and women’s issues throughout her career.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]In creating Milk, Weis travelled to 35 cities in 11 countries to bring a global perspective and voices of women from diverse communities to her film.[/quote]

In creating Milk, Weis travelled to 35 cities in 11 countries to bring a global perspective and voices of women from diverse communities to her film.

Weis came to Canada from Argentina in her late teens for, “a year of adventure,” and made it her home. Argentina at that time, “was under a lot of oppression as it had a military government,” and Weis loved that, “you could talk to anyone in Canada and there was freedom of expression.”

In this interview with New Canadian Media Weis talks about her motivation in making Milk and opens up about her immigrant roots in Canada.

[youtube height="315" width="560"]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kwikK6qqPv4&feature=youtu.be[/youtube]

Milk screens at 11 a.m. on April 29 inside the Isabel Bader Theatre (93 Charles St. W.) in Toronto.

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Film Review | English India

75 MINUTES | 2015 | India | Directed by Spandan Banerjee

Colonial rulers brought English to India. In 1947, the British left, but the language stayed. Through a focus on tourism and tourist guides in Delhi and Agra, English India explores how English remains important for communication in India to the extent that it can be considered an Indian language.

English India refrains from a linear narrative; it is built through chapters” that introduce new people, places or ideas. This travelogue approach turns its audience into tourists who meet different people and visit various places.

The audience will meet shopkeepers, rickshaw pullers and tour guides that speak English with varying levels of proficiency. English, as the most commonly understood language, at least to some extent, by both international and domestic tourists, has become the language of survival for them.

The films most memorable participant, and perhaps also the one with the most screen time, is an outspoken tour guide who claims to be able to speak 70 languages. Hearing him speak about Delhis Red Fort, and its adjacent monuments, provides a good peak at the experience of visiting with a tour guide.

[quote align="center" color="#999999"]For its musical track, English India taps into renditions of Hindi film songs and live music by uniformed brass bands, which, like the English language, are a legacy of colonialism that continued to flourish post-independence.[/quote]

In fact, his splashy take on history is missed later on in the film when the mechanized tone of an audio-tour app, which is all set to replace the human guides, is heard.

For its musical track, English India taps into renditions of Hindi film songs and live music by uniformed brass bands, which, like the English language, are a legacy of colonialism that continued to flourish post-independence.

The films highlight and biggest strength is the camera work by Mrinal Desai, which takes viewers to the narrow lanes of Old Delhi and captures its various hues. If drama or twists in the plot is the desire, English India will disappoint, but if audience members give in to the flow of visuals, they will surely be left craving rumili roti, kababs and jalebi street foods of Old Delhi.

English India screens at 6:45 p.m. on April 28 inside the TIFF Bell Lightbox 4 (350 King St. W.) and at 1:45 p.m. on April 29 inside the Scotiabank Theatre 7 (259 Richmond St. W.) in Toronto. 


Shazia Javed is a writer, photographer and filmmaker. All week long, New Canadian Media will feature her ongoing coverage of diverse films and filmmakers at this years Hot Docs Canadian International Film Festival.

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Published in Arts & Culture

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