Canada-India Foundation’s novel way to lobby Canadian MPs

October 21st, 2008 - 12:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Oct 21 (IANS) Having successfully lobbied for Canadian support on the nuclear waiver for India last month, the newly formed Canada-India Foundation (CIF) now plans to sponsor Indian-origin students to work with Canadian MPs.”Our aim is to make Canadian leaders aware about India, and sponsoring Indian-Canadian students to work with them is part of our organisation’s agenda,” CIF founder-chairman Surjit Babra told IANS.

He said the foundation, which honoured Sam Pitroda with the first $50,000 Global Indian Award at its gala in April, will select 10 students each year to work with Canadian MPs during the school summer vacation.

“Canadian MPs will become more aware about India by interacting with these students. We will pay all their expenses,” said Babra who is also founder-chairman and CEO of SkyLink Group of Companies here.

“As our success shows, lobbying always pays. We have got three new Canadian trade offices in India through lobbying and we have got Canada to vote for India at the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) last month,” he said.

Promoting trade between the two countries tops the agenda of the Canada-Indian Foundation, said Babra, who was honoured with an NRI award in London last month for his pro-India work.

“Currently pegged at $4.1 billion, our two-way trade is nothing to crow about. There is a huge scope for Canada-India trade, and the foundation will work hard to realise this potential between our two countries,” he said.

Sounding upbeat about India in the midst of the global economic crisis, he said that barring a few sectors the Indian growth story will continue.

“In fact, you could see more outsourcing to India as companies in North America and elsewhere cut costs in the long run,” said Babra.

The aviation man said India will see merger of airlines and higher fares even as fuel prices come down.

“I think the Indian government will have to bail out airlines by lowering tariffs and upgrading landing facilities as airlines currently waste fuel in India while circling over airports before landing,” he said.

Babra, whose SkyLink Group operates chartered flights to tourist destinations around the world, said the traffic volume between India and Canada has not been affected by the current economic crisis.

“But let us see till the Christmas season. Right now, there is no impact. In fact, we have just launched to cater to the retail segment from Canada and the US to India and elsewhere,” he said.

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