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Canada – Readout: Minister of Foreign Affairs holds first bilateral meeting with U.S. Secretary of State

Today, the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Foreign Affairs, met virtually with Antony Blinken, U.S. Secretary of State, to advance work on the Roadmap for a Renewed U.S.-Canada Partnership launched by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Joe Biden following their virtual meeting on February 23, 2021.

The meeting reinforced that Canadians and Americans are stronger when they work together.

Minister Garneau and Secretary Blinken discussed the challenges facing people in North America and the world due to COVID-19. They acknowledged the unprecedented action required in Canada and the United States to combat the pandemic, support citizens, stabilize economies and address climate change.

As Canada and the United States build back from the pandemic, Minister Garneau and Secretary Blinken reaffirmed the need to reject protectionism and preserve their countries’ shared prosperity by protecting the integrity of cross-border supply chains.

Agreement was found on the need to coordinate approaches to the current global challenges, notably those presented by China and the Middle East, including Iran. Minister Garneau underlined the importance of getting answers and justice for the families of the victims of flight PS752. 

As agreed upon by President Biden and Prime Minister Trudeau, both leaders are working on a future joint meeting of foreign and defence ministers and secretaries in which continental security cooperation will be discussed in greater depth.

Minister Garneau and Secretary Blinken also agreed on a shared commitment to achieve collective action and promote democracy, human rights and the rule of law through regional and multilateral institutions. This includes working together toward a global democracy summit aimed at reversing negative trends affecting democracies and supporting multilateral organizations that promote democracy as part of their mandate.

As outlined in the roadmap, Minister Garneau and Secretary Blinken looked for ways to more closely align both countries’ approaches to China, including to address the challenges it presents to our collective interest and to the international rules-based order, including its coercive and unfair economic practices, national security challenges, and human rights abuses, while cooperating with China on areas where it is in our interest, such as climate change. They agreed to work together to secure the release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor who are being arbitrarily detained in China.

Furthermore, Minister Garneau and Secretary Blinken discussed the importance of Canada-United States cooperation in the Americas.

The two discussed the dire situation in Venezuela and agreed to work together alongside the international community supporting Venezuelans to address this crisis and the human suffering it is causing.

Both reaffirmed a commitment to address human rights and needed reforms in Cuba and to ensure the upcoming electoral process in Haiti is credible, inclusive and transparent. Minister Garneau and Secretary Blinken look forward to the next Summit of the Americas, which the United States will host, as an opportunity to work together and with others in the hemisphere to set a unifying agenda focused on recovering from the pandemic’s multi-dimensional impacts and reinforcing democratic governance. Minister Garneau offered Canada’s support in addressing the root causes of irregular migration in the hemisphere.


Canada, British Columbia and Tlowitsis Nation Advance to Final Stage of Treaty Negotiations

The governments of Canada, British Columbia and the Tlowitsis Nation have signed a new agreement that will further advance reconciliation and treaty negotiations.

Chief John Smith of the Tlowitsis Nation, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, federal Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, and Murray Rankin, provincial Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, signed the Tlowitsis Nation Transition to Stage 5 Memorandum of Understanding.

The Memorandum of Understanding advances treaty negotiations to the final stage and will guide the parties to conclude a treaty that supports the Tlowitsis Nation’s right to self-determination and defines a new relationship between Tlowitsis Nation, Canada and British Columbia.

Canada, British Columbia and the Tlowitsis Nation will begin the last stage of work together to finalize a treaty that supports a thriving future for Tlowitsis community members for all the generations to come. This work is creating the foundation for a renewed relationship based on recognition of rights, cooperation, respect and partnership.

The Memorandum of Understanding commits the parties to establish a new approach to their treaty negotiations which will be guided and informed by the Recognition and Reconciliation of Rights Policy for Treaty Negotiations in British Columbia that was collaboratively developed and released by the Government of Canada, the Province of British Columbia and the First Nations Summit in September 2019.

This new approach to negotiations ensures agreements align with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and B.C.’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act. This includes the recognition and continuation of rights without those rights being modified, surrendered, or extinguished when a treaty is signed and that treaties are flexible and able to adapt to changing circumstances over time.

This new collaborative approach supports the shared goal of advancing reconciliation and supporting healthy and prosperous Indigenous communities in Canada, which will benefit Tlowitsis Nation citizens and all British Columbians and Canadians alike.

“We have reached another achievement in this long, arduous journey to ensure the survival of the Tlowitsis Peoples,” said Chief John Smith of the Tlowitsis Nation. “Though I am not pleased with the pace of negotiations, I appreciate the hard work that has been done. Thanks to the Ministers for moving on this occasion. We have had a continuing struggle for 60 years. Our old village – where I was born – was very tiny, and we hope to move more quickly to establish our new community, Nenagwas, on the new land that we’ve purchased.”

Chief John Smith
Tlowitsis Nation

“The signing of the Tlowitsis Nation Transition to Stage 5 Memorandum of Understanding is a key step on our path of reconciliation with the Tlowitsis Nation and their members. By working together as partners we create the foundation for a renewed relationship that supports the Tlowitsis Nation right to self-determination and supports them in building a better future for their community”  

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P.
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

“This MOU is an important step forward in the relationship our government shares with Tlowitsis Nation. It is a tangible expression of our commitment to implementing flexible agreements that are better suited to addressing the needs of individual Nations. Almost 60 years after being forced from their homes and land, Tlowitsis members are establishing a community they can call home. This treaty work supports the Nation’s vision of self-determination, which will help Tlowitsis to build a thriving community for future generations.”


Canada – Minister Ng announces winner at Greater Vancouver Board of Trade’s inaugural Business Reinvention Awards

Today, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, attended a virtual ceremony for the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade’s inaugural Business Reinvention Awards, where she presented the day’s biggest award and namesake, the Reinvention Award, to Novo Textiles.

Run by the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade’s Scale-up Centre for SMEs, the Reinvention Awards recognize and celebrate innovative businesses and organizations that have reinvented, adapted and shown exceptional resilience in the face of challenge and barriers, with this year’s awards acknowledging the incredible difficulty of 2020.

Awards were also given for excellence in collaboration, workplace health, environmental leadership, domestic growth and export planning to businesses in the Greater Vancouver area and region.

The World Trade Centre Vancouver presented the Trade Accelerator Program (TAP) Export Plan of the Year award. TAP provides companies with the knowledge, resources and coaching they need to develop and execute successful export plans and grow internationally.

The Government of Canada continues to support small and local businesses through programs such as the newly expanded Canada Emergency Business Account, the new Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, the extended Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy and the new Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program so they are able to get through—and recover from—this pandemic and build success for months and years to come.

“Celebrating the innovation and resilience of our businesses is more important than ever, recognizing the historically challenging circumstances presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. I sincerely congratulate all the winners of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade’s Business Reinvention Awards and look forward to following their future successes. It’s thanks to this kind of business excellence—in B.C. and across Canada—that we will build back a better future for us all.”
– The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade 


“Hunar Haat” is playing “phenomenal and perfect” role in making “Vocal for Local” campaign a “mass movement”: Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi

Union Minister for Minority Affairs Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi today said here that the “Hunar Haat” is playing “phenomenal and perfect” role in making “Vocal for Local” campaign a “mass movement”.

Addressing media persons at the “Hunar Haat” at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi today, Shri Naqvi said that “Hunar Haat”” has been becoming “Kumbh of backers of brilliance”.


Shri Naqvi said that more than 12 lakh people have visited the “Hunar Haat”, started from 20th February and become “Proud Promoter” of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s “Vocal for Local” campaign by purchasing handmade products of indigenous artisans and craftsmen worth crores of rupees. The number of visitors is likely to go above 16 lakh in the next two days. This “Hunar Haat” will be concluding on 01st March, 2021.

Shri Naqvi said that the 10-day “Hunar Haat” was inaugurated by Defence Minister Shri Rajnath Singh. Several Ministers, MPs, senior government officials, various Diplomats, renowned industrialists have come here to encourage the artisans and craftsmen. 

More than 600 artisans and craftsmen from more than 31 States and UTs participated in the “Hunar Haat” in New Delhi. Artisans and craftsmen from Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu-Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Ladakh, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland, Odisha, Puducherry, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal etc participated in the “Hunar Haat” at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium for display and sale of their exquisite indigenous handmade products.

Shri Naqvi said that exquisite indigenous handmade products such as Applique work, dry flowers, jute-cane, brass products, wooden and clay toys, Ajrakh Block Print, Blue Art Pottery, Pashmina Shawl, Khadi products, Banarsi Silk, Wooden Furniture, Chikankari Embroidery, Chanderi Silk, Lac bangles, Rajasthani jewellery, Phulkari, Oil Painting, Leather products, Khurja pottery, Sandalwood artefacts from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Jute products from West Bengal, rare antiques made of glass, mats and carpets etc were available for sale and display at the “Hunar Haat”.  

Shri Naqvi said that the visitors also enjoyed traditional delicacies from every region of the country at “Bawarchikhana” section. Besides, different cultural and musical programmes were daily presented by renowned artists of the country such as Shri Vinod Rathore (21 Feb); Nizami Brothers (24 Feb); Shri Sudesh Bhonsle (26 Feb); Shri Kailash Kher (27 Feb) and others.

Shri Naqvi said that the “Hunar Haat” has provided employment and employment opportunities to more than 5 lakh 30,000 artisans, craftsmen and artists yet. The Union Ministry of Minority Affairs will provide employment and employment opportunities to 7 lakh 50,000 artisans and craftsmen through 75 “Hunar Haat” which will be organised by completion of 75 years of the country’s independence. 

Shri Naqvi said that the “Hunar Haat” is available on virtual and online platform and on GeM Portal also where the people of the country and abroad can buy products of indigenous artisans and craftsmen digital/online.

Next “Hunar Haat” will be organised in Bhopal (12 to 21 March 2021); Goa (25 March to 04 April); Kota (9 April to 18 April); Surat (23 April to 2 May). Besides, “Hunar Haat” will also be organised at Hyderabad; Mumbai; Jaipur; Patna; Prayagraj; Ranchi; Gauhati; Bhubaneshwar; Jammu-Kashmir etc this year.




PM Modi inaugurates the India Toy Fair 2021

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated the India Toy Fair 2021 today through video conference. Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Shri Nitin Gadkari and Union Minister of Textiles Smt Smriti Irani also participated in the event. The Toy Fair will be held from 27th February to 2nd March 2021. More than 1,000 exhibitors are participating in the fair. 

The Prime Minister interacted with toy makers from Channapatna in Karnataka, Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, and Jaipur in Rajasthan. Through this Toy fair, the Government and the Industry shall come together to discuss how India can be made the next global hub for manufacturing and sourcing of toys by way of attracting investments in the sector and promoting exports.

Addressing the event, the Prime Minister called for bringing out the hidden potential of the toy industry in India and to create an identity for it as a big part of the campaign for AatmaNibhar Bharat. He added this first toy fair is not just a business or economic event. This program is a link to strengthen the country’s age-old culture of sports and cheer. He said this toy fair is one such platform where one can discuss toy design, innovation, technology, Marketing and packaging and also share their experiences. He said the world has done research on toys from the era of Indus Valley civilization, Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa.

The Prime Minister recalled that in ancient times, when travelers from the world came to India, they used to learn sports in India and used to take it along with them. He added that chess, which is so popular in the world today, was earlier played in India as ‘Chaturanga or Chaduranga’. Modern Ludo was then played as ‘Pachisi’. He said in our scriptures, it was described that Bal Ram had a lot of toys. In Gokul, Gopal Krishna used to play with his friends outside the house in a balloon. Games, toys and crafts have also been engraved in our ancient temples.

The Prime Minister said toys made here contributed to the all-round development of children. He said the way reuse and recycling have been a part of the Indian lifestyle, it is also seen in our toys. Most Indian toys are made from natural and eco-friendly items, the colors used in them are also natural and safe. He said these toys also connect the mind with our history and culture and are also helpful in social mental development and cultivation of Indian outlook. He appealed to the country’s toy manufacturers to make toys that are better for both ecology and psychology! He asked them to use less plastic in toys, to use such things that can be recycled.

The Prime Minister remarked that today across the world, in every sector, Indian outlook and Indian ideas are being talked about. He added it is a specialty of Indian sports and toys that they contain knowledge, science, entertainment and psychology. He added when children learn to play with lattu, they are taught the lesson of gravity and balance in playing lattu. In the same way, a child playing with a slingshot, inadvertently starts learning basics about the Potential and Kinetic Energies. He said puzzle toys develop strategic thinking and problem solving. Similarly, newborns also begin to feel the circular movement by twisting and rotating the arms. 

The Prime Minister said the creative toys develop the senses of the kids and give wings to their imaginations. There is no limit to their imaginations. All they need is a little toy that will satisfy their curiosity and awaken their creativity. He urged the parents to play with their children because toys play a vital role in the learning process of children. He said the parents should understand the science of toys and the role they play in the development of children and he urged the teachers to use it in schools. He said in this direction, the Government has taken effective steps and brought changes through the New National Education Policy.

About the new national education policy the Prime Minister said it incorporates play-based and activity-based education on a large scale. This is an education system in which special attention has been paid to the development of logical and creative thinking in the children. He said in the field of toys, India has tradition and technology, India has concepts and competence. We can take the world back towards eco-friendly toys, through our software engineers computer games can spread the stories of India to the world. But despite all this, today India’s share in the $ 100 billion global toy market is very small. 85 % of the toys in the country are sourced from abroad. He stressed the need to change this situation.

The Prime Minister said the country has now graded the toy industry in 24 major sectors. The National Toy Action Plan has also been prepared. It has included 15 ministries and departments to make these industries competitive, countries to become self-reliant in toys, and India’s toys also go into the world. Throughout this campaign, state governments have been made an equal partner in developing the toy clusters. He said along with this efforts are made to strengthen the possibilities of toy tourism. Toyathon-2021 was also organized to promote Indian sports based toys and more than 7000 ideas were brainstormed.

The Prime Minister said if there is a demand for Made in India today, then the demand for Handmade in India is also increasing equally. He added today people do not only buy toys as a product but also want to connect with the experience associated with that toy. So we have to promote Handmade in India as well.