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.
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.
TORONTO: Asian Television Network International Limited (ATN), Canada’s largest South Asian broadcaster, announced on Monday that it has acquired exclusive cricket rights for Cricket Australia, England Cricket Board, Cricket Ireland and Caribbean Premiere League. The rights consists of all the games that will be played in Australia from 2016 to 2021 including Big Bash League […]
Environmental groups are reporting that the Canadian firm in the centre of a firestorm for shipping hazardous wastes into the country had actually sent more garbage to the Southeast Asian nation.
BAN Toxics, the Seattle-based Basel Action Network, and Greenpeace Philippines, in a joint statement, said another 48 containers of “rotting household garbage” “has been sitting for over a year at the Manila International Container Port (MICP) and is just now undergoing abandonment proceedings under the Bureau of Customs as the consignee — Live Green Enterprise failed to claim the shipment.”
The groups said the garbage was “illegally” shipped to the country by Chronics Inc., the same company that sent 50 container vans of waste that has prompted an international campaign to pressure Canada to take it back, according to TV5.
Groups waging the campaign had earlier urged President Benigno Aquino III to take up the issue of the garbage during his recent state visit to Canada. However, this call apparently went unheeded and environmental groups have slammed the government for agreeing to process and dispose of the 50 vans of waste.
“This is insult to injury,” Richard Gutierrez, BAN Toxics executive director, said. “Canada’s callous disregard for international law is simply not acceptable anymore.”
“We had warned President Aquino about the consequences of letting Canada push us around by agreeing to bury their first illegal shipment on Philippine soil. How long will the Philippines be willing to submit to what is nothing less than waste colonialism?” he added.
“The chorus of voices from Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago to street protests clearly have demonstrated the displeasure of Filipinos to be continuously subjected to the indignity of becoming the world’s trash bin,” Abi Aguilar of Greenpeace Philippines said. “Canada must do the right thing and take back all of these illegal shipments immediately.”
A Dangerous Precedent
The groups pointed out that the Basel Convention bans the export of household wastes to other countries “without prior notification and consent,” which they said Canada failed to do.
They added that, under the Convention, “Canada should repatriate the waste and prosecute the exporter criminally.”
The environmentalists said Customs officials informed them that the newly discovered waste had been “misdeclared as recycled plastics rather than household waste” and “could pose health and environmental risks.”
Meanwhile Philippine Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago has filed a resolution urging the government to force Canada to take back the stinking containers of waste it illegally exported into Philippine soil since 2013.
The feisty senator, who heads the Senate committee on foreign relations said:
“This issue goes beyond waste management and threatens our sovereignty. I am alarmed that the government seems willing to say that we are an international trash bin out of fear of ruffling Canada’s feathers.”
Malacañan has earlier ruled out negotiations to return the illegal shipment to Canada. A multi-agency task force has also allegedly agreed to locally process the waste, which includes household waste such as used adult diapers.
“The decision to process the waste in the Philippines upon the request of the Canadian government sets a dangerous precedent for other countries to dump their waste in Philippine soil with impunity,” Santiago said in the Senate Resolution No. 1431.
She added that the garbage from Canada is covered by a provision in the Basel Convention, noting that Annex 2 of the international agreement explains that “other wastes” include those collected from households.
Published in Partnership with Asian Pacific Post.
EARLIER this year, India’s Ministry of Home Affairs used an extensive arsenal of vague and overbroad laws to muzzle the world’s largest environmental watchdog, Greenpeace International. Using seemingly innocuous provisions in the Indian Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act 2010, the government effectively silenced criticism of a controversial nuclear power plant by freezing the bank account […]
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Shanghai (IANS): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday stressed the shared legacy of Buddhism between India and China and their commonalities, including their large population, and said the two countries together could not only solve their problems but also be a force of good for the entire world. Modi, who wound up his three-day visit […]
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Bangkok: Indian Universities have drawn a blank in 11 of the 36 subjects ranked by ‘QS Top Universities 2015’ list released in Bangkok. In agriculture and medicine, neighbouring Pakistan has performed better than India with three entries in agriculture and one in medicine — both areas where Indian universities have failed to emerge among the […]
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The Weekly Voice
Marathon Man, released around the same time the World Series Cricket breakaway was being dreamed up in 1976-77, is a tightly wound, paranoid thriller that begins with a series of seemingly jumbled, unrelated scenes. A road-rage incident escalates into a fatal car crash in Manhattan. A man goes for a run then talks flirtatiously with […]
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The Weekly Voice
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.
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.
Milk screens at 11 a.m. on April 29 inside the Isabel Bader Theatre (93 Charles St. W.) in Toronto.
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 film’s 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 Delhi’s Red Fort, and its adjacent monuments, provides a good peak at the experience of visiting with a tour guide.
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 film’s 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 year’s Hot Docs Canadian International Film Festival.
This content was developed exclusively for New Canadian Media and can be re-published with appropriate attribution. For syndication rights, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org
-- Canada's economic development minister Navdeep Bains at a Public Policy Forum economic summit