Speaking at the inaugural gala dinner of the Canada India Foundation, Harper spoke of India's growing importance to the Canadian economy. "Canada simply cannot afford to miss out on India's phenomenal economic growth. That's why our government is putting so much emphasis on improving trade and investment between our countries," he said. Harper also announced that Canada will open two new trade offices in India -- one in Hyderabad, the gateway to southern India's Information-Communications Technology hub, and the second one in Kolkata, the main business, commercial, financial, and transportation centre of eastern India.
To further enhance trade and investment ties, the government will also post additional commissioners at the established offices in Mumbai and Delhi.
"These new trade offices will expand Canada's reach in India beyond our traditional focus on the north. India's boom is not just happening in the northern region, and Canada needs to be where all the action is," said Harper.
Harper concluded his speech by highlighting the connection between the freer flow of goods and the freer flow of people. A decade of inaction has left Canada with the largest immigration backlog in the world. So last month, the government tabled amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act aimed at reducing the application backlog and shortening wait times for newcomers.
If passed, the reforms will dramatically reduce Canada's immigration backlog and provide the skilled workers needed to prevent critical labour force shortages. Simply put, our government's immigration reforms will get skilled workers into the country earlier, help families get reunited sooner, provide the Canadian economy with the human capital it needs to maximize its enormous potential, and continue to enrich our great country with the cultural influences of newcomers from the four corners of the earth," said Prime Minister Harper.