Resolving immigration procedural delays, a national responsibility: British Columbia Premier

December 5th, 2007 - 1:39 pm ICT by admin  

By Ashok Dixit
New Delhi, Dec.5 (ANI): Acknowledging the existence of procedural delays in the processing of applications for immigration to Canada, visiting British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell said its solution was a national responsibility that would be tackled sooner than later.
Immigration is a national responsibility. We can be here in British Columbia and say, here are the things we have to do to facilitate the flow of people who want to make British Columbia their home. We will be working with the High Commission here to try to make sure we find ways we can deal with those problems quickly, Campbell told ANI in an interview here on Tuesday evening.
He further went on to say that he was pleased to be accompanied by a high-profile education delegation that was equally concerned about making the processing time for immigration much shorter, much more direct and much more understandable, so the people here know what they are going through and getting through quickly.
Giving details about the focus of his weeklong visit, Mr. Campbell said it was essentially aimed at promoting bilateral partnerships with India in the fields of green technology, education, trade and investments.
We want to continue to build our relationships with India. This is my second trip. We have a life sciences delegation, which is looking to both partnerships, collaborations, exchanges of students and professors, with both private sector and university sector in India because we think there is huge potential, said Campbell.
On promoting bilateral partnership in education, Mr. Campbell agreed that at present the number of Indian students going to Canada to pursue higher education was on the lower side (2, 500), and accepted that Canada needed to pursue more aggressive strategies to attract more students from this country.
Yes, it is on the lower side. I think Canada has to do a more focussed job in terms of taking its education brand to India, so people in India know about the quality of education available in Canada, not just in British Columbia, but across the country, the Premier said.
In our country, which is about 33 million people, we have many great institutions. In British Columbia, we not just great universities, but we have great colleges that are focussing on specific areas of concern. So, I think that there is real opportunity. In education, we have an exchange of Canadian students coming to Indian universities and institutions, as well as Indian students going to Canada and British Columbia, he added.
Mr. Campbell said that it was his governments goal to bring many more Indian students to his province.
With 32 people here in our education delegation, and they have come because they see a real bridge being built between India and British Columbia in agriculture, life science, trade development, computer science and a number of other areas of concern. We think we can really reinforce one others strength to go forward, Campbell told ANI.
On the existence of a large Non-Resident Indian (NRI) population in British Columbia, he said: We have almost 200,000 British Columbians who have direct descendant and direct lines back to India and Punjab. Its a very strong community we have not just in Vancouver, Victoria, Williams and Thompson Okanagan. All of these places have strong communities who are in forestry, academics and business.
Giving his views on Indias decision to follow an Open Skies policy in the aviation sector and his desire to position British Columbia as a key gateway destination for Asia-Pacific airlines, Premier Campbell said: We also believe in Open Skies. Again, this is a national initiative and a national responsibility. So, we have to educate the fellow governments on Open Sky strategy. We have done that, we will continue to pursue that.
We would love to have more carriers, delivering people directly to British Columbia and to make Canada the gateway of Asia Pacific. It also helps Canadians come to India, he said.
We are also building our transport connection. We are very pleased that Kingfisher Airways has agreed to commit to land at Vancouver Airport with non-stop flights from Delhi, which will be important for students, but also for business connection, he added.
He concluded by saying: I think British Columbia has an important role to play in Canada to introduce opportunities to Canada that Asia presents. For many people, I think they dont think of Canada as a Pacific country, we do. We have a strong Indo-Canadian community, Chinese community, Japanese community and Greek. We want to be an international centre for the Pacific, and we think Open Sky is one way to help solve those problems. (ANI)

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