FEDERAL NDP Leader Tom Mulcair extended his “best wishes to Indians and Indo-Canadians everywhere as they celebrate the anniversary of India’s independence.”
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Mulcair said: “Sixty-eight years ago, Indians understood that, despite their many differences and by working together, they could take hold of their destiny and become a model for others to follow. Today, India is the world’s largest democracy and boasts one of the fastest growing economies.
“Over the years, Canada and India have maintained a close relationship and we are lucky to have such an important Indian community. Generation upon generation of Indo-Canadians have worked tirelessly in their communities and have only added to the richness of Canada’s mosaic.
“For this joyous occasion, I leave you with these words by one of humanity’s most inspiring leaders, whose wisdom transcends time: “a nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people.” Regardless of where you are, your traditions and values live on.
MEANWHILE, in another press release, the federal NDP said: “Stephen Harper was in Brampton yesterday [Tuesday] to celebrate Indian Independence Day, but Canadians of Indian descent didn’t get answers for the following:
“1. This year marks the 100 year Anniversary of the Komagata Maru Tragedy, yet Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party refuse to issue an official apology for this historic wrong. Why does the Prime Minster feel Indo-Canadians are unworthy of this recognition?
“2. For Stephen Harper and the Conservatives Family Reunification is not a priority. Indo-Canadians have to wait up to 9.5 years to sponsor their loved ones from India. The immigration system is broken, why does Stephen Harper think it is okay for families to be kept a part for nearly a decade?
“3. Stephen Harper’s Sari and Spice Tax hurts consumers and businesses. These increases will cost Canadian importers and consumers $330 million annually. The tariffs on imports from India include a 6% tax on saris and 3% tax on ground spices including tumeric, fennel, coriander and many others that are an essential part of South Asian cuisine. When will Stephen Harper end his unfair tax on Indo-Canadian families and businesses?
“4. Stephen Harper and the Conservatives promised the India-Canada Trade Deal would be finished and signed by 2013, but so far we’ve seen nothing. Stephen Harper’s trade mission to India was so small and poorly organized that many leading business people did not participate. Why doesn’t Stephen Harper think trade with India is important?”
NDP Critic for Multiculturalism Andrew Cash said: “Indo-Canadians deserve real answers from Stephen Harper and the Conservatives. Broken promises, unfair taxes and insincere apologies are simply unacceptable. Canadians of Indian descent deserve better.”