South Asian Insider
Canadian parliamentary secy refers to Punjab as a ‘country’
(News Agencies) A member of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has referred to Punjab as a “country” in a statement made on the floor of the Canadian Parliament’s House of Commons.
Kevin Lamoureux, a Liberal Party MP from Winnipeg in the province of Manitoba, made the faux pas on Wednesday while presenting a petition during routine proceedings of the House.
According to the official report on the proceedings, he said, “Mr Speaker, I have a petition that has been signed by many constituents in regard to Canada's super visa for individuals who want to visit from abroad, whether it is from the Philippines, Punjab, or any other country.”
That had Indian officials shaking their heads, since Lamoureux also happens to be the parliamentary secretary to the leader of the government in the House of Commons, who is Indo-Canadian Minister Bardish Chagger. And the incident came just days prior to Trudeau’s weeklong visit to India.
When contacted on the matter, Lamoureux emailed a response with the transcript of the same petition presented the following day, with India replacing Punjab in the text: “For people from countries like India, the Philippines, and many others, it is of critical importance in the sense that it allows individuals to come to Canada for up to two years, go back home, and then return to Canada for another two years.”
In the response to the Hindustan Times, he said, “Thank you for asking, earlier this morning I did another petition.” He added, “It is my opinion that the Punjab is like many other communities a part of India. 95% of the correspondence that I send to India is related to the constituents of mine who have family/friends in the Punjab.”
The Super Visa allows parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens or permanent residents to remain for up to two years in the country while visiting. The “concern” expressed by Lamoureux was that “many of them are not being allowed to have their visas renewed for the additional two years after their initial visit.”
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