Forge comprehensive relationship with India:Opp to Canada Govt

Participating in a round-table discussion organised by the Canada-India Foundation here, top brass of the Liberal Party emphasised the need for a "comprehensive relationship" with India as part of its Global Network Engagement strategy.

Among those who participated in the discussion were Liberal Party leaders Bob Rae, John McCallum, Maria Minna, Rob Oliphant and Rana Sarkar.

Bob Rae referred to the Canadian response over the years to the Air India Kanishka tragedy as an example of the "maturing" of the Canadian thought process with respect to its population of Indian origin and "recognition of the Canadian tragedy."

Previous Liberal governments had realised the importance of moving from the G8 to the G20 group of nations, reflecting the importance of India and other emerging powers, Rae said, adding that Canada should resurrect the Team Canada concept of delegations to India, with a strong Indian Diaspora component.

McCallum said Australia was "eating Canada's lunch" in attracting Indian students and asked the federal government to act in conjunction with the provinces for friendlier policies on visa and work.

On the economic front, he credited earlier Liberal Government policies against bank deregulation and bank merger, as legacy for the current Canadian relative stability compared to the developed nations.

He favoured holding the corporate tax rate at 18 per cent, which would result in savings of USD 6 billion to the tax payer, to be used to help pay off debt and for other social programs.

He also promised the creation of flow-through shares tax model for start-up businesses, as a way of promoting entrepreneurship as well as Employment Insurance premium holidays to companies as a means to reduce youth unemployment.

Minna emphasised the need for serious engagement of Indian diaspora for deepening of Canada India relations.

Oliphant reminded the participants that during his days in the provincial government nearly 20 years ago, he had identified Gujarat as a great opportunity, something being recognised only recently by the federal government.

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