MP's mother among 40,000 Canadians stranded in India
VANCOUVER -- Surrey-Newton MP Sukh Dhaliwal says his mother is among the thousands of Canadian citizens unable to get home from India while the country is in a mandatory lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“It’s not about my mother,” Dhaliwal said. “To me, every Canadian is my family.”
He says there are 40,000 Canadian citizens and permanent residents in India that the federal government knows about.
Many of them are anxious to get back to Canada and be reunited with their families and Dhaliwal says the federal government is doing what it can to help them.
“Rest assured, (Foreign Affairs) Minister Champagne is in touch with his counterpart in India, and the airlines, to make sure we are able to find a solution to bring them home,” said Dhaliwal.
In the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government has already brought Canadians home from a number of places, but so far there have been no flights from India.
More than 400,000 Canadians abroad have registered with Global Affairs Canada.
“We are working to help as many Canadians as possible return home, but some may remain outside of the country for an indeterminate amount of time,” the agency said in a statement Saturday.
Ritu Sihota’s father and three of her grandparents are stranded in the state of Punjab in northern India.
She had strong words for the federal government in a Skype interview with CTV News Vancouver on Saturday.
“You have repatriated other citizens from other countries. You cannot pick and choose which citizens you want to repatriate,” said Sihota. “You started this process, so you have to get everybody back.”
In an effort to pressure the government, Sihota has collected thousands of signatures calling for repatriation flights from India.
“I want to hear it from Justin Trudeau,” she said. “We hear you. We hear your pleas. We’re working on it and we’re going to get you guys back as soon as we can.”