One of the selling points of immigration enthusiasts is that Diasporas improve bilateral trade relations but an interesting comment made by Ujjal Dosanjh - a Sikh in Canada who was bloc voted into becoming the first Indo-Canadian premier of a province - warrants some attention.
Commenting on Justin Sandiego’s family vacation to India he had the following to say to the CBC regarding trade relations between India and Canada:
"Trade still doesn't amount to much," he said. "Since the time I was premier, prime ministers and premiers have been going over and yet trade just hasn't grown as much as it could."
The article goes on to note how two-way trade between the two nations is a paltry $8 billion despite Canada hosting 1.4 million Indians which includes their Canadian born decedents or, as the Indian government considers them, Non-resident Indians and persons of Indian origin (NRI-PIOs).
Dosanjh further notes:
"The people-to-people links just haven't translated into strong economic links," said Dosanjh. "You've got grains and pulses, some pulp. But India's needs are mostly met by other markets."
The article then quotes some Indian at Carlton University who does some crystal-ball gazing anticipating the materialization of opportunities just over the horizon but isn’t that always the case regarding the economic benefits of mass immigration: speculation and assumption making with some "it's going to happen just be patient" promises thrown in?
To put this in perspective trade between Canada and the United States totaled $627.8 billion in 2016 making it the second largest trading relationship in the world albeit one where the U.S. enjoys a trade surplus. Nevertheless trade with the U.S. is central to Canada’s economic success and why Canadians enjoy such a high quality of life. And there are approximately 327,575 American-Canadians. If Diaspora’s improve trade relations then why aren’t we importing more Americans? (Conversely there are approximately a little over 1 million Canadian-Americans; 400,000 less than there are Indians in Canada. Indeed, there are more Indians in Canada than there are American-Canadians and Canadian-Americans combined).
Even the trade announcement made by Trudeau is lopsided with $750 million dollars going to India and India sending a measly $250 million Canada’s way but that’s typical of Indo-Canadian trade relations with investment being heavily weighted in India's favour. And half of that $750 million investment is from one company, Toronto based Brookfield Asset Management, that is buying an office complex in Mumbai.
India is a country of 300 million households where 73% live in rural villages. And of that 73% only 5% earn enough to pay taxes and 35.7% are illiterate. There’s little to gain by investing in India except as a place to outsource jobs. As for Indians the only thing they want from us is our citizenship and the ability to immigrate here. Other than that they’re of little use to us and we’re just giving our country away to them because they can’t seem to make a country worth living in for themselves.
The truth is Diaspora’s don’t improve trade relations and the fact that 1.4 million Indians in Canada only translates into $8 billion worth of trade proves it doesn’t. You don’t need to host an overseas Diaspora to enjoy a good trading relationship with a country. If India wants something from Canada it will buy it from us. We don’t need 1.4 million Indians in the country to entice them to do so and from the looks of things haven't done so. In fact having 1.4 million Indians in the country, most of which are Sikh, is proving to be a headache for Canada but that’s for another post.