Harper lauds punjabis as partners in progress...


Staff member

Amritsar November 19:

Visiting Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that the Punjabi community settled in his country had contributed to its development and acknowledged them as "partners in progress".

Harper told Punjab's Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal during his brief visit to this city that Canada owed its development to the "hard work and grit of 1.2 million Punjabis who since more than 10 decades have become partners in the progress of this country".

The Canadian prime minister arrived here for a visit that lasted less than three hours, during which he visited the famed Golden Temple, the holiest of Sikh shrines. Harper said that as per the latest population figures in Canada, over 8 lakh Punjabis from India were settled in Canada and were making significant contribution in strengthening the Canadian economy.

He said the Canadian government was fully committed to preserve as well as promote Punjabi culture and the Punjabi language. Badal urged the visiting prime minister to explore the possibility of transfer of technical know-how from their agro-based industries and power plants to provide value addition to Punjabi farmers and help the state in attaining self-sufficiency in the power sector.

Badal also offered to send a batch of Punjabi language teachers to Canada to teach Punjabi to the second and third generation of Punjabi immigrants settled there. Lauding the progress of Punjab, Badal pointed out that the state, with just 1.3 percent geographical area of the country, was contributing over 50 percent foodgrain (rice and wheat) to the national kitty.

Later, Prime Minister Harper along with Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade and Asia-Pacific Gateway, and Canadian MPs Nina Grewal, Tim Uppal, Devinder Shory and Deepak Obhrai paid obeisance at the Golden Temple sanctum sanctorum.