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.




Softline wins second place in Microsoft E5 Open Hackathon

Microsoft E5 OpenHack is a space that brings together teams of developers and experts to solve several experimental issues that some customers could potentially have, usually caused by cyber-attacks. The E5 Open Hackathon is  another competition where Microsoft has dedicated it to the cybersecurity solutions. This time, partners in India and Asia Pacific worked for four days to create a best-in-class security solutions using Azure Sentinel and Azure Security Center.

Microsoft 365 is the Company’s premium offering to enable customers to create secure, compliant, and collaborative “Modern Workplaces”.Microsoft relies on their trusted Network of Gold Certified Partners to help customers realize the potential of Microsoft 365 under their specific needs and requirements. The “Microsoft E5 Open Hackathon” is a yearly event meant to accelerate the development of skills in their Partner Ecosystem as well as to showcase some of their most strategic partners in the field within the India and Asia Pacific regions. It being one of Softline’s core strengths, the company presented two teams with member from the Softline India and Vietnam offices whom collaborated to create a cybersecurity solution for a large electronics manufacturer with more than 2000 employees. The challenge was to design a transformation program for the customer’s information security system by experts on Microsoft 365 Defender and Azure Defender technologies as per the Zero Trust model. The competition ended with the jury awarding Softline as the second best winner at the Hackathon

Softline’s team worked remotely with a large electronics manufacturer with over 2,000 employees. Given the context of an ever-changing threat landscape of global cyber-attacks and the lack of knowledge or tools thereof to detect and prevent them, the  realised its vulnerability and the need to act and protect its business.

Softline offered the customer to implement a robust cyber-threat transformation program:

    The first phase included solution areas tostrengthen the client’s IT infrastructure without any additional investment. The second phase was to deploy an advanced detection and response system that gathers an indepth analysis of information. The final stage of implementation included an enterprise visualization tool using Azure Sentinel, which in the future will pre-empt and apprise the organization about possible threats and to stay ahead of potential attacks.

“We differentiated our proposed solution by demonstrating how Azure Sentinel’s unique features can revolutionize security operations with an assured support from Softline. For organizations that use cloud and artificial intelligence solutions, we have provided a clear action plan so that they can react quickly and decisively, using both built-in and customizable dashboards if a cyber threat emerges.” explains Atul Ahuja, Vice President Asia. “The way technology is evolving today is really amazing. What used to be a long time-consuming task, can now be done in minutes and it keeps improving every second. I’m really proud to say that we’ve received the second-best position at the Hackathon, it clearly demonstrate that we are not just only one of the best and most reliable Microsoft partners in Asia but also that we also have built extensive capabilities in some of the cutting edge technologies that keeps us ahead.”