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Canada-India trade mission postponed amid strained ties




Canada is postponing a trade mission to India that federal Trade Minister Mary Ng had spent the past four months promoting as key to the government’s Indo-Pacific strategy.

“At this time, we are postponing the upcoming trade mission to India,” Ng’s spokeswoman Shanti Cosentino wrote.

Ng was set to visit Mumbai on Oct. 9 with Canadian business leaders to form ties with their counterparts in the world’s most populous country, for a five-day trip known as a “Team Canada” trade mission.


Ng’s office would not explain why the trip has been postponed nor when it is likely to occur, when asked by The Canadian Press. She was not made available for an interview.

The move comes after Canada paused negotiations for a trade deal with India, and relations between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his counterpart in New Delhi were frosty on a recent visit.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with Trudeau on the sidelines of the G20 leaders’ summit last weekend, and Modi’s office said he focused on Sikh separatists in Canada. Trudeau told reporters ahead of his arrival in India that he would be raising concerns about India’s foreign interference in Canada.

India’s envoy to Canada revealed two weeks ago that Ottawa had paused the trade talks, and to date neither country has provided a detailed explanation.

Ng did not mention the India trade mission nor the trade talks in her opening or closing remarks Friday as she gathered virtually with her provincial and territorial counterparts.

The meeting was held virtually because Ng said she tested positive for COVID-19 that morning.

“We had productive and candid conversations. It’s the kind of teamwork that I think Canadians have the right to expect from us,” Ng said as she closed the meeting. She did not take questions from reporters “due to scheduling,” according to her office.

Earlier this week, Saskatchewan Trade Minister Jeremy Harrison claimed Ottawa left provinces in the dark for months over the status of trade talks with India.

Harrison said Friday’s meeting gave him no further clarity, nor did a separate Thursday call with Ng.

“Assertions from (Ng) that the negotiations are merely paused to ‘take stock’ is utter nonsense,” his office wrote in a statement.

Harrison argued the province could have used its good relationship with Indian officials to help navigate any issues emerging in the negotiations. The trade deal is of particular concern to Saskatchewan, which has a disproportionately high amount of exports to the country, particularly pulses like lentils.

“The Trudeau government has made a political decision that its best interests in a partisan context are served by a confrontational and negative relationship with the Modi government,” Harrison argued.

The meeting took place while Yukon Premier Ranj Pillai was in India on his own trade mission to Asia.

Last weekend, India’s foreign ministry expressed “strong concerns” over Sikh separatists in Canada, who want to carve out their own state in India.

New Delhi has long argued that Canada undermines India’s national security, saying groups advocating for part of the Indian state of Punjab to become an independent country amount to an extremist movement.

Ottawa has maintained that freedom of speech means groups can voice political opinions so long as they are not violent.

The issue has become particularly heated this spring over unproven allegations that India had a hand in the shooting death of a Sikh gurdwara leader near Vancouver in June. The RCMP have said they have no evidence of any links to foreign interference and had no reason to believe the Sikh community in Canada is at risk.

New Delhi has argued the claim of interference is groundless, and has complained about posters by the advocacy group Sikhs for Justice seeking the home addresses of Indian diplomats.

The Liberals have condemned threats against those envoys and offered them 24-7 security.

The trade mission, the first in Asia under Canada’s Indo-Pacific strategy, was meant to be focused on boosting Canadian clean-technology companies as a way to help meet India’s need for renewable energy.

A description of the trip posted on the Trade Commissioner Service website noted that India was the fastest-growing major economy in 2022.

“India’s growing strategic, economic and demographic importance in the Indo-Pacific makes it a critical partner in Canada’s pursuit of its objectives under the Indo-Pacific strategy,” reads the online notice meant to entice Canadian business leaders to join Ng’s trip.

The Trade Commissioner Service said the trip would also seek to increase trade in sectors such as automotive, agriculture and value-added food, digital technology, infrastructure and life sciences.

It would also involve networking with Indian business leaders, briefings from senior officials and key industry players, and roundtables with local industry and experts.

The Business Council of Canada, which has been pushing for more trade with India, stressed that the two countries benefit from commerce.

“We expect this relationship to continue irrespective of political tensions that may occur from time to time,” wrote the group’s president, Goldy Hyder.

“As we have seen with other bilateral relations, disputes tend to work themselves out. In the meantime, business carries on by strengthening ties and forging new opportunities because trade creates jobs, drives economic growth, and raises living standards for all Canadians.”

Ng’s office stressed Friday that Team Canada trade missions are still slated for six destinations ranging from Japan to Vietnam.

“Canada’s Indo-Pacific strategy is the framework for Canadians businesses — old and new — to expand and grow into the dynamic markets across the Pacific,” Cosentino wrote.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 15, 2023.



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India-Canada news: Sikh groups call for 'united front' – CTV News



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Society in Problematic Transition



The Cavalier Religious Right Wing with its ambitious political support(Republicans in America and Conservatives in Canada) is busy at work in front of our legislatures, City Halls, and City Parks promoting their firebrand anti-this and anti-that. In the name of the children(teachers union call sign) this umbrella organization of disgruntled populists, foot soldiers of ideologies and faiths of the past, present themselves as concerned parents, protectors of righteous education, and a building block towards a socio-religious bulwark against societal confusion. The religious right believes society has moved away from the historically accepted status quo, where man and woman are seen as easy examples of God’s design. Talk of Genders, trans-gender washrooms, the right to reveal your true self, and even self-expression itself is seen as attacks upon faith-built communities, the North America of the past, and even upon God (Himself).

Some progressive groups counterprotest these ever-growing pressure groups, attempting to protect the rights, granted and fought for by The LGBTQ+ Community Emotions are high, as these entrenched yet powerful movements, one of religion vs. Individual expressed rights take the field in many communities across this continent. Book burning in America along with commonplace censorship of books and even teachers who do not meet their expectations, pressuring legislatures or parliament alike with donations and even threats to unseat present-day politicians and replace them with elected officials that support the right.

This umbrella group comprises many conservative faiths, where Christians, Jews, Hindus, and Muslims seem to have buried their competitive hatchet to face down their progressive opponents. Politicians cannot ignore this group, for fear of elections lost, or revenue reserves depleted by this group’s efforts. Mothers, parents, pastors, mullahs, priests, rabbis, and others standing in place representing their God, and their faith, perhaps viewed as closed-minded, but nonetheless determined in their Sacred Books Revelations. Power found within their faith, perhaps tunnel-visioned, but righteous in the world eye’s, just as their efforts against abortion show. An understanding of the different disallowed, or seen as wrongful perversion. The struggle between two essential absolutes, one struggling to get closer to their God, the other to their true human meaning, struggles to see what cannot be fully seen, only felt emotionally and physically. To be true to one’s self, instead of an outer presence.

These events can lead to the toppling of governments, politicians’ careers, and the transformation of social domestic policy. Religiosity and sexual-transitional rights are democratically challenging. The two solitudes are famously uncooperative with each other or democratic agencies. How do you work with two opposites who believe themselves to be right in their efforts and determination to change the direction of society and human affairs?


Steven Kaszab
Bradford, Ontario

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Canada is still processing visas for Indian nationals



A recent diplomatic dispute between Canada and India has placed a strain on the relationship between the two countries.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to a disagreement surrounding the killing of a prominent Canadian-Sikh leader in British Columbia. Trudeau says there is credible intelligence to confirm that agents of the Indian government were involved in the assassination. Modi refutes this.

As a result, on Thursday, September 21, BLS, India’s visa processing centres in Canada, suspended services citing operational reasons. This includes centres in Toronto, Ottawa, and Vancouver.

Earlier this week in New York, when asked outright if Canada would reciprocate, Trudeau said his focus was to maintain the rule of law in Canada. He said Canada would continue to do the work it took to keep Canadians safe.


There has been no indication that Canada will stop processing visas for Indian nationals, and it is still accepting new applications as it normally does.

Processing times for visas for Indian nationals looking to come to Canada remain the same as always. Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) aims to process all 80% of applications within service standards, regardless of nationality.

Canada a safe country

In addition to closing its visa processing centres in Canada, India has issued a travel advisory for Indians travelling to Canada, citing safety concerns.

Speaking with the Canadian Press, Immigration Minister Marc Miller urged Indians who are concerned about safety to remain calm.

“I think everyone knows Canada is a safe country and given the events of the last two or three days and the seriousness of the allegations that – it’s important for everyone to stay calm.”

Canada consistently ranks among the safest countries in the world. According to the most recent Global Peace Index, Canada came in 11th position for 2023.

Further, a 2022 report by the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) found that international students consistently choose Canada for their education because of its unique reputation for safety and tolerance.

The CBIE found that in 2022, 40% of international students in Canada were Indian. This is despite a similar warning from India’s government in September 2022.

IRCC reports that there were 800,000 international students in Canada in 2022. This means approximately 320,000 Indian students were studying in Canada during the last academic year.

Indians in Canada

India is the largest source country for immigration in Canada. In 2022, there were 118,095 Indians who gained permanent residence in Canada. Of these, 59,503 Indians transitioned from permanent residents to Canadian citizens.

Canada has ambitious immigration targets in the 2023-2025 Immigration Levels Plan. It hopes to admit more than 500,000 permanent residents each year by the end of 2025. The next Plan is expected by November 1 this year, but Minister Miller has said he doesn’t anticipate the targets will be lowered.


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