Sunday, April 21, 2024

Diaspora

Demand for Canada to Amritsar direct flight gets another boost, Conservative Party launches campaign

PUNJAB NEWS EXPRESS | April 22, 2023 08:12 AM

TORONTO: The long-pending demand for direct flights between Canada and Amritsar has got a welcome boost with the leader of the official opposition Conservative Party of Canada Pierre Poilievre announcing his campaign for establishing direct flights between Canada and Amritsar.

The FlyAmritsar Initiative, an independent advocacy group working to promote better air connectivity to Amritsar for last decade has welcomed the announcement, saying Canada-Amritsar direct flights would immensely benefit the Punjabi diaspora.

The Conservative leader recently spoke at an event in Brampton with room full of people holding banners “Direct Flights to Amritsar Now”, “Open the Skies to Amritsar”. Poilievre said “Punjabi Canadians have been calling on the federal government to deliver direct flights between Amritsar and Canada. But even after years of activism from the Punjabi community, the Liberal government has failed to fight gatekeepers and open the skies to Amritsar”.
In 2022, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signed a new Open Skies Agreement with India that has abandoned Punjabi Canadians. Travelers wishing to go to Amritsar often have to wait an additional seven hours once they arrive at an airport in India or face an eight-to-10-hour drive to reach Punjab state, said Poilievre.

He further added, “I along with my deputy leader Tim Uppal, shadow minister Jasraj Singh Hallan and a group of other conservatives are launching a full campaign to get the direct flight from Canada to the State of Punjab especially to Amritsar so that over million Canadians who have their origins in that part of the world can fly directly from our country to that beautiful place”.

FlyAmritsar Initiative Global Convener Sameep Singh Gumtala who especially flew in from USA, while speaking at the event applauded Poilievre’s call for renegotiation of air service agreements with India to establish direct flights to Amritsar.

The direct flights will not only benefit the Punjabi community but also provide an opportunity for Canadians to experience the rich culture and heritage of the region including the holiest place for Sikhs “The Harmandir Sahib”. Mr. Poilievre’s call for renegotiation is a welcome step in the right direction”, said Gumtala.
The FlyAmritsar Initiative spokesperson in Canada Mohit Dhanju and Convener for North American region Anant Singh Dhillon, thanked Poilievre and MP Tim Uppal for their efforts and urged the Conservative Party leadership to continue reaching out to Canadian and Indian airline carriers including flagship carrier Air India as well, to help make the dream of diaspora a reality.

Notably, in January 2022, a parliamentary petition was introduced in the Canadian House of Commons by Initiative spokesperson Dhanju. The petition was sponsored by Conservative Party MP Brad Vis from Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon received an overwhelming response from the Canadians securing nearly 20, 000 signatures within a short span of 30 days.

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