Canada to offer uranium
As Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper undertakes his second visit to India in three years from Nov 3-9, the question is: Will Canada and India finally sign the much talked-about nuclear deal that will open the gates for the Canadian nuclear industry to sell uranium and technology to India?
Further, will the two countries also clinch the comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) which they have been negotiating for years?
No official from either side is willing to say anything about these agreements. “We have worked out a few things which could be announced in New Delhi,” is all that a member of the Canadian government would say when asked about possibilities of the two deals being inked during Harper’s India visit.
Alleging that New Delhi had used its supplied nuclear technology (CANDU reactors) to conduct Pokhran-I in 1974, Canada had slapped a nuclear ban on India. Barring large-scale immigration from India all these years, Canada-India relations remained frozen for years.
In 2008, when the US reversed its nuclear policy vis-a-vis India, Canada followed suit. In the Nuclear Suppliers Group in 2008, Ottawa backed New Delhi to allow it access to nuclear technology and fuel. Canada was basically altering its policy following in the footsteps of the US.
The Canadian government is under pressure as its nuclear industry is eyeing business worth billion of dollars through sale of uranium and nuclear technology to India. One has to wait till the two prime ministers shake hands and sit in New Delhi.
Khalsa Heritage Complex
The Canadian Prime Minister is visiting India after just three years. “This shows that the Canadian government is eager to take business relations with India to a higher level. This visit is an opportunity to seek clarifications from India about rules and regulations surrounding institutional investment as India starts a new wave of reforms. We are interested in Indian real estate as India is a developer’s dream because of its demographics, migration from rural to urban areas, and the breakdown of extended family to the nucleus,” says Bob Dhillon, Canada’s biggest Indian landlord, who is in the Prime Minister’s delegation to India.
Curiously, the Golden Temple is not on the itinerary of the Canadian Prime Minister this time. Instead, he will visit the Khalsa Heritage Complex at Anandpur Sahib during his trip to Chandigarh. This will make Harper the first foreign head of government to visit the complex which was inaugurated just a year ago.
Two Sikh ministers – Tim Uppal (minister of state for democratic reform) and Bal Gosal (minister of state for sports) — will accompany the Prime Minister to India.
The latest Census of Population says that Punjabi is among 10 immigrant languages spoken most at home in Canada. Over 4,60,000 people returned Punjabi as their mother tongue in the 2011 census. But if speakers of Chinese languages – Cantonese, Mandarin and Chinese (not otherwise specified) – are taken together, they relegate Punjabi to the second spot.
In Vancouver and surrounding cities, 17.7 percent people who spoke immigrant languages reported Punjabi as their language.The percentage of Punjabi speakers in the Toronto area was eight percent.
But if one takes into account Punjabi speakers in the huge Pakistani community that returns Urdu as their mother tongue, the number of Punjabi speakers would easily touch the million-mark in this country of 34 million people.
“The jump from the sixth most spoken language in 2006 to this level in Canada has given all of us an excellent reason to celebrate. To rise to this level out of 200 languages being spoken in Canada is a great honour for our mother tongue. These census results have shown that Canada is not only a truly multicultural but also a commendable multilingual country,” said Vancouver-based Balwant Sanghera who is the president of the Punjabi Language Education Association of Canada (PLEA Canada) that has been promoting the Punjabi language in schools, colleges and universities for the past 20 years.
(Courtesy of the Tribune where this article appeared on November 1)