Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Mississauga-Erindale Goes Bollywood While Bob Dechert Goes Nuts

On October 16, 2009; residents in the riding of Mississauga-Erindale opened their doors to a surprise visitor. It was none other than famous Bollywood actor and OXFAM Ambassador, Rahul Bose.

He was there distributing pamphlets and asking those he spoke with to encourage Stephen Harper to go to Copenhagen and make an honest effort to address climate change.

This could be very damaging for the riding's Reform member of Parliament, Bob Dechert, since he was already in trouble for not spending enough time at home.

And of course, Jason Kenney's crack about being the 'minister of curry in a hurry', because of his exploitation of immigrants, including East Indian; didn't help either.

So it was time for a little damage control.

The opposition had long been critical of Stephen Harper for abandoning ties with India, so maybe this was a good time for a little photo-op there, to raise the party's profile with the Indo-Canadian community. And of course this would include an appearance on a favourite dance show and a well publicized visit with another famous Bollywood star.

MUMBAI, India — Prime Minister Stephen Harper will meet India’s answer to Brad Pitt on Monday and pose for pictures with Indo-Canadian contestants of wildly popular TV dance contest. The reason? More votes in Canada.

The pictures of Harper meeting Bollywood mega-star Akshay Kumar are pure political gold, say Conservatives in Canada. So too is Harper’s tour Monday of the television studio that is home to the reality show Premier Dance League — the subcontinent’s version of So You Think You Can Dance — that is a hit here and with the Indian diaspora in Canada. Three Indo-Canadians have advanced through several rounds of the contest. Harper’s three days India will certainly contain some of the standard photo-ops one would expect ...

And who better to make the announcement in the House of Commons, than the embattled Bob Dechert.

Mr. Speaker, before the Liberal leader decided to return to Canada to be crowned, the Liberal government pursued an ideological policy of isolation toward India, slapping it with sanctions and marginalizing Canada's influence with India well into this decade.

Our government has been working to repair this long-term damage to our relationship. That is why the Prime Minister is in India this week, rebuilding relationships and deepening our economic ties with an emerging economic power.

I am happy to point out that under our government, Canada-India relations are at an all-time high. Canada's exports to India have more than doubled since our government was elected and exports are still on the rise. We recently expanded our trade network in India to eight offices, making it one of Canada's largest networks worldwide. When it comes to free and open trade with important allies like India, it is this government that is getting the job done.

Of course this was not really an announcement, so much as a bit of self-promotion, and typically, completely false.

After the bombing of the Air India flight 182, our relationship was strained, but:

Major economic reforms were brought about in the early 90’s and India began growing its economy, increasing its visibility and impact on the global economy. Canada realised the need to expand its presence to Asian countries and identified India as a major market with abundant scope for commercialism. In the late 90’s, Canada initiated the move to improve bi-lateral relations. There have been a number of bilateral visits at the political level since thus moving forward the trade growth. Trade between India and Canada has increased many folds in the past decade.

The Reformers are actually working toward a free trade agreement, which in neo-con language means that Canadians will probably just get screwed again.

I don't know how successful this side show was, but news from India revealed that it was pretty much what we see at home. Harper refused to answer questions and the domestic media got roughed up when they tried to 'break the rules'.

And we all know what happened when Harper finally agreed to go to Copenhagen. Another bust.


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