MISSION INDIA: PM Stephen Harper says Canada-India trade links must come faster

Published: November 8, 2012

Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper gets a blessing from a priest inside the Sri Someshwara temple in Bangalore Nov. 8, 2012. Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

MARK KENNEDY
POSTMEDIA NEWS

BANGALORE, India — Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper declared Thursday that India’s democratic system is partly responsible for the slow pace of change as Canada tries to boost trade ties with the South Asian giant.

Harper made the comments at a news conference as he neared the end of a trip to India, during which the focus was on fostering better political relations and increasing bilateral trade and investment.

Canada wants to sign a free trade deal with India next year and reach a pact that will gave legal protections to Canadian business people who invest in India. Progress on both those fronts has been slow.

Harper indicated Thursday he was frustrated, but understands the limits on India’s government.

“I think I am very clear that we need to go farther and faster,” he said.

Harper met India’s senior leaders, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, whose coalition government is on shaky ground and has appeared paralyzed by an inability to get opposition consent for economic reforms to allow more foreign investment.

“What we do have to realize when we deal with India, as opposed to some other countries that we’re dealing with in the developing world – this country is a democracy,” said Harper.

“And that means that governments cannot simply dictate a whole set of policy changes to happen the next day. That means governments must develop consensus behind policy changes. And that, in this country is not easy. We understand that.”

“At the same time I’m also a believer that although democracy can slow things down from time to time, in the long term, democracy produces more robust consensus. That means better things for the long-term trajectory.”

Harper said he believes the Singh government sincerely wants to expand foreign trade and that it is clear that “Canada is a top priority in that regard.”

He said it wasn’t always that way, insisting that when he replaced the governing Liberals in office in 2006, Canada-India relations were “frozen”.

Harper wants to boost Canada-India bilateral trade to $15 billion by 2015.

“I think we’re making significant progress.”

During his trip, Harper delivered a speech at the World Economic Forum in New Delhi in which he urged India to strike a free trade agreement with Canada.

Harper noted that the two countries have now reached deals to allow the export of Canadian uranium for the Indian nuclear power industry, as well as a pact that makes it easier for people to work temporarily in each country.

Meanwhile, after eight years of negotiations, the countries are still toiling away behind the scenes on an agreement to give investors legal protections — with no clue of when — or if — a deal will be successfully reached.

Perhaps most importantly, Harper has publicly committed his government to reach a comprehensive free trade agreement with India sometime in 2013.

There have been five rounds of talks, with the next negotiating session set to occur next week in Ottawa.

In his Wednesday speech to the Forum, Harper attached a sense of urgency to the negotiations.

“Friends, here’s the bottom line. The world is moving quickly. Canada and India must also.”


Tags: ,





Featured

Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 3.45.37 PM

Large fire at Port of Vancouver (with video)

VANCOUVER DESI Vancouver firefighters and haz-mat crews are battling a large fire at Vancouver’s port on Burrard Inlet that began Wednesday afternoon. The fire was…
Continue Reading »

immigrants-work-study-bc-career

Canada-wide initiative helps immigrants find work in fields for which they have prepared

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI When Manbir Randhawa immigrated from India to B.C., she knew she’d have to “start from scratch” in order to land a…
Continue Reading »

Desi-weird news

Doctor’s afraid to release baby who ‘spontaneously combusted’ to his mom

VANCOUVER DESI Doctors in India are reluctant to release a baby who ‘spontaneously combusted’ to his mom, fearing she suffers from an attention-seeking syndrome, Britain’s…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 3.45.37 PM

Large fire at Port of Vancouver (with video)

VANCOUVER DESI Vancouver firefighters and haz-mat crews are battling a large fire at Vancouver’s port on Burrard Inlet that began Wednesday afternoon. The fire was…
Continue Reading »

immigrants-work-study-bc-career

Canada-wide initiative helps immigrants find work in fields for which they have prepared

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI When Manbir Randhawa immigrated from India to B.C., she knew she’d have to “start from scratch” in order to land a…
Continue Reading »

Environment-Surrey-students

Surrey students grow ‘green mindedness’ at school

SARAH ORLINA SURREY NOW SURREY — On a cloudy Thursday morning, three Grade 7 students are roaming the hallways of Royal Heights Elementary school in…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Rebellious matrimonial goes viral

“Definitely not bahu material”: Indian woman’s rebellious matrimonial ad goes viral (with video)

VANCOUVER DESI When 24-year-old Indhuja Pillai’s parents put her profile on a regular matrimonial website, she couldn’t take it down soon enough. “I am no…
Continue Reading »

brutal DELHI gang rape

“What is there in spreading the views of a rapist?” India orders TV stations not to broadcast rape documentary

ASHOK SHARMA THE ASSOCIATED PRESS NEW DELHI — Indian authorities ordered television stations Tuesday not to broadcast a documentary about a gang rape on a…
Continue Reading »

Immigrant-language test

‘You are an outsider’: Community rallies around Canadian convenience store owners beaten by customer

THE CANADIAN PRESS BEAUSEJOUR, Man. — Owners of a convenience store in Manitoba who were beaten by a customer are seeing an outpouring of support….
Continue Reading »

Hands Against Racism

Hands Against Racism: Send us a selfie and make a statement against racism (with video)

VANCOUVER DESI Vancouver Desi’s digital anti-racism campaign, Raise Your Hands Against Racism, officially kicked off Thursday, with people across the Lower Mainland sending in selfies…
Continue Reading »

bully

Video of Sikh boy being bullied, called ‘terrorist’ on school bus goes viral (w/ video)

VANCOUVER DESI A video of a young Sikh student in the U.S. being bullied and called a “terrorist” by a group of children on a…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Bollywood photos

Gallery: Aishwarya Rai’s stunning photoshoot for Vogue

VANCOUVER DESI The world’s most beautiful woman, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan may have stepped away from the silver screen for a while but she says, “Comeback?…
Continue Reading »

Instagram photo

Gallery: Bollywood celebrity shots this week

VANCOUVER DESI Bollywood’s growing love for selfies is self evident. More and more celebrity photos are showing up on Twitter and Instagram than ever before….
Continue Reading »

Mallika Sherawat

Indian court lifts stay on release of controversial Bollywood film ‘Dirty Politics’

IANS Patna – A day after it stayed the release of Bollywood film “Dirty Politics” in cinema halls, the Patna High Court Wednesday lifted the…
Continue Reading »