The following statement was issued by Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney on visa refusals by the Canadian High Commission in India:
Ottawa, May 28, 2010 — “Canada has the highest regard for India, its government institutions and processes. Our friendship as democratic nations who operate under the rule of law grows ever stronger and we share a common bond of ethnic, religious, and linguistic diversity. Our economic and trade ties continue to strengthen both of our economies.* * * * * *
“Furthermore, at a time when global security continues to be a cause for concern, Canada values the increasing ties and cooperation with India in the fields of defence, security and counter-terrorism. Each year, Canada welcomes about 131,000 Indian residents on both a temporary and permanent basis, including many individuals from the various Indian security forces.
“The Government of Canada therefore deeply regrets the recent incident in which letters drafted by public service officials during routine visa refusals to Indian nationals cast false aspersions on the legitimacy of work carried out by Indian defence and security institutions, which operate under the framework of democratic processes and the rule of law.
“This language, or the inaccurate impression it has created, in no way reflects the policy or position of the Government of Canada. While, under Canadian law, admissibility to Canada is determined by a number of different criteria, candidate assessments should in no way question Indian institutions which operate under the rule of law and within a democratic framework.
“As to the decision process itself, decisions on visa applications are made on a case-by-case basis by non-partisan public servants following an independent process based on Canada’s immigration law as it currently stands. However, this unfortunate incident has demonstrated that the deliberately broad legislation may create instances when the net is cast too widely by officials, creating irritants with our trusted and valued international allies. For this reason the admissibility policy within the legislation is under active review at this time.”
May 26, 2010
Canada cans India!
*Canadian High Commission officers malign, insult India
*No need for diplomatic niceties with boorish 'diplomats'
Last week when media reported how the High Commission of Canada had denied visa to a retired head constable of the BSF (whose daughter lives in Canada) on the grounds that the para-military force he had served was a “violent” and “notorious” force, there was more amusement than anger in New Delhi. Here was a naïve visa officer being self-righteously sanctimonious.
I was later told that the visa officer is a relatively junior official, a First Secretary, who knows next to nothing about India, is a cussed individual prone to being nasty, and for the most basic facts about her host country and its institutions, ‘googles’ for information. It is possible she looked up ‘BSF’ on Website operated by Kashmiri separatists and came to the conclusion that it is a “violent” and “notorious” force.
It now transpires that there is a pattern to Canada rejecting visa applications submitted by a certain category of Indians. On Wednesday, May 26, PTI put out the following story:
New Delhi, May 26: In fresh revelations of provocative actions, Canada has denied visas to a member of the Armed Forces Tribunal, three serving Brigadiers, a retired Lt General and a former senior IB official on the grounds that their organisations have been “engaging in violence”.I have posted alongside a copy of the letter issued to the former senior IB officer by the High Commission of Canada, signed by First Secretary S Auger. The details are self-explanatory. You can read it by clicking on it. I wonder if Ms Auger is the visa officer at the High Commission who decided on the visa applications that were turned down by citing the most absurd, outrageous and astonishing reasons.
A serving Intelligence Bureau officer, assigned to travel to Toronto in connection with the Prime Minister's trip there next month, was also denied visa recently but was later allowed to travel after protest from India.
The denial of visas, over the last two years, has angered the Home Ministry which has warned that India would also "retaliate" by denying visas to Canadian officials who go to Afghanistan via this country.
If the Manmohan Singh Government had any sense of self-respect and dignity, had it been bothered about India’s stature and national pride, and had the Prime Minister not been so enamoured of Western Governments whose approval matters to him more than approval by the masses at home, then the Ministry of External Affairs would have been instructed to summon the Canadian High Commissioner, give him 24 hours to set things right, de-roster the guilty visa officer/s and send them back to wherever they have come from. Simultaneously, it would have issued a statement declaring no more visas for Canadians travelling to and from Afghanistan via New Delhi.
Since no ostensible purpose will be served by the Prime Minister’s tax-payer funded junket to Toronto, it should have been called off too. In the event of the Canadians not complying with the MEA’s demands, the relevant officers should have been declared persona non grata and asked to leave the country by the first available flight. There is no scope for diplomatic niceties over another country’s diplomatic crudity.
Canada has no moral authority to play good cop. Its own record of officially-sanctioned racism and racist violence would shame any country. The ‘exclusion laws’ devised by Canada to keep ‘darkies’ out of the country are not entirely forgotten. The Komagata Maru incident in 1914 will forever remain a blot on Canada’s history.
We must also not forget that Canada was the biggest sanctuary for Khalistani terrorists wanted for crimes against civilians in India. Canada refused to entertain any requests from India on either restraining the Khalistanis or handing over criminals to stand trial for murder and worse in India. The Babbar Khalsa International was launched right under the noses of Canadian authorities.
The bombing of Air India’s Kanishka (flying on the Montreal-London-Delhi-Bombay route) on June 23, 1985, was planned and executed by Khalistanis living in Canada. The aircraft blew up off Ireland, killing 329 people on board – 307 passengers and 22 crew members. Among the dead were 280 Canadian nationals, most of them of Indian origin, and 22 Indians. Twenty-five years and a 20-year sham trial later, the conspirators remain unpunished.
Canada also happens to be one of the most secure sanctuaries for supporters, members and fund-raisers of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eeelam.
I have travelled through Canada and have happy and fond memories of that country and its people. I don’t think the denial of visa by ill-informed, boorish officials at the Canadian mission in New Delhi on such ridiculous grounds enjoys any degree of support among Canadians and their political leadership. Yet, this nonsense must be halted and an example made out of it so that other missions are not tempted to treat India and Indians shabbily while enjoying our hospitality.