As the crowd cheered and chanted ‘Modi, Modi,’ India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed an estimated 10,000 Indo-Canadians on Wednesday in Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto.
In an exceptional speech given just hours after meeting Canadian PM Stephen Harper, Modi said that he would work to build a stronger relation with Canada.
Modi took an opportunity to woo Canada’s vast and influential Indian diaspora in a first bilateral visit to Canada by a sitting Indian Prime Minister in over 40 years.
In a speech clearly directed to the Indo-Canadian community and delivered in Hindi, Modi said that, “There is a new atmosphere of trust in our nation. We say Jan Gana Man Adhinayak — that ‘Jan Man’ has changed.”
Modi also did not leave a stone unturned in attacking the previous governments. “Jinko gandagi karni thi, gandagi kar ke chaley gaye, hum safai karke jayengey (Those who had create a mess, they have done so and left. We will go after cleaning it up),” he said.
Indian PM also commended the uranium trade deal, and Canada’s potash exports, which help Indian farmers.
In addition, Modi also referred to the Swachh Bharat campaign. He said that it is not just the government but the people are also coming forward with initiatives to clean their surroundings. He cited the effort of cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar in this regard.
“It is a sign of the change in people’s attitude (jan man) in the country. There is a lot of mess to be cleaned and it has been there for a long time now,” he said. He also spoke about the government’s step to build toilets in schools especially for girls.
“People wonder if the Prime Minister should talk about such things. Others may be different but I will talk about such small things. The face of India will change with such small steps,” Modi added.
In an hour long speech, Modi referenced Mangalyaan too. He said that, “We are the first country to reach Mars in its first attempt. Our Mars mission cost less than what it takes to make a Hollywood film.”
From Canada, that boasts of a first Indian-origin Defence Minister in Harjit Singh Sajjan, here is the story of another Indian-origin woman migrant who has risen to become a minister in the government of the British Columbia — the Western-most province of the country known for its tech prowess globally.
Meet Jinny Jogindera Sims, who was born in Jalandhar in Punjab and migrated at age nine to England where she got a B.Ed degree at the University of Manchester.
Then, Sims and her husband moved to Canada in 1976. The first woman President of British Columbia’s largest teachers’ union, she was elected to the Canadian Parliament in 2011.
The 65-year-old mother of two, who now heads the Ministry of Citizens’ Services of British Columbia, is quite passionate about her job.
In a conversation with IANS, when asked about Canada’s inclusive nature and how emigrants like her can make it to the top in different fields including political power, pat came her reply: “If you ask me is there more we can do, my answer will be absolutely. We need to do more on aboriginals and the nations’ ethnic communities”.
“We need to do more. Inclusivism and racism is not a one-time issue. We need to do more for their education and other issues. We need to do it all the time”.
Asked about Indians and attracting the talent in the growing tech sector of British Columbia, Sims said Indians have made a name for themselves in the tech and other sectors and are in the forefront.
“I have been to India as an MP to various cities, including Bengaluru and Kolkata. Looking at the skills and talent and amazing companies, India is important in the tech sector. We are looking at new cooperation with Indian tech companies,” she emphasised.
As member of the British Columbia legislative assembly, she is a minister representing the Liberal Party in the government headed by Premier John Horgan.
Asked about her ministry’s work, Sims said her department has gone more digital in delivering services to citizens and that has brought its own problems.
Cyber crime, fake news and other related problems faced by the countries across the world are also her main problems.
“Digital economy is growing. More and more people are getting sophisticated and trying to commit cyber crimes. We are engaged more with businesses that are worried that more people are trying to get information online through Internet bandits.
“We are telling businesses to build extra layers of security. It is like when we construct a home, we have doors and windows which we close for security. Likewise, businesses have to build layers of security like Next-Gen anti-virus solutions and firewalls,” the minister stressed.
She said her ministry is very agile on cyber security and has become smarter with time.
“They (cyber-criminals) have got technology and are, all the time, trying to get into our systems. Nearly 300,000 systems were affected which is mind-boggling. It also shows we have to be extra-cautious, building firewalls and constantly monitoring them,” Sims said.
Asked about the problem of data stealing and stalking over social media platforms, Sims said the government’s role in this is limited.
As a mother and a grandmother, she would only advise that schools and parents have to tell children on the newer risks arising from the use of Internet.
“Parents can limit the children from accessing Internet. We can teach and guide them on cyber security. Businesses also have a responsibility,” Sims added.