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e-3771 (Transportation)

E-petition
Initiated by Mohit Dhanju from Surrey, British Columbia

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

Whereas:
  • Canada has one of the largest number of immigrants from Punjab, India;
  • This immigrant population travels year-round visiting family, friends, and important religious places, including Sri Harmandir Sahib (The Golden Temple) in Amritsar, more often than any other ethnic group;
  • Most passengers currently traveling on direct flights to Delhi from Vancouver and Toronto on Air Canada and Air India have their final destination in various areas of Punjab;
  • Irony is that a nation with over a million Punjabis is still not connected with Amritsar International Airport (Punjab, India), the second largest airport in Northern India;
  • In March 2020, thousands of Canadians were stranded in India due to block on international air travel and over 40,000 of them were stuck in Punjab;
  • There was a huge demand for repatriation flights from Amritsar instead of Delhi, which made the Canadian Foreign Office operate those flights from Amritsar itself;
  • For the first time ever, over 7500 Canadians returned to Canada on more than 25 special flights operated directly from Amritsar airport;
  • Currently it takes over 30 to 50 hours for reaching various places in Punjab from Canada; and
  • There is a long-standing demand from the expatriate Punjabis that there should be direct flights from Vancouver and Toronto to Amritsar.
We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to:
1. Take proactive steps by encouraging the airlines to connect Vancouver and Toronto with Amritsar Airport; and
2. Initiate talks through diplomatic channels involving the High Commissioner of India in Canada for initiating this air connectivity to Amritsar on a priority basis.

Response by the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Rob Oliphant

Canada already has a bilateral air transport agreement with India. This agreement offers capacity for flights by Indian airlines between Canada and Amritsar.

The Government of Canada takes note of the campaign advocating for direct flights between Canada and Amristar, India and is aware of the importance of this issue for many Canadians, especially those with ties to Punjab.

The Government of Canada is responsible for negotiating bilateral air transport agreements that include air access rights including number of flights per week, and destinations for both Canadian and foreign airlines. Through these agreements, the federal government provides the legal framework within which airlines make decisions based on their own commercial priorities, actual market demand, and the operational viability of routes. Ultimately, the locations that Canadian airlines decide to service, within the frameworks offered by the air transport agreements, are business decisions.

Open for signature
January 12, 2022, at 9:01 a.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
February 11, 2022, at 9:01 a.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Brad Vis (Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon)
March 3, 2022 (Petition No. 441-00205)
Government response tabled
April 25, 2022
Photo - Brad Vis
Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon
Conservative Caucus
British Columbia
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