As the Central Tibetan Administration reported today, Tibet’s Prime Minister, Kalon Tripa Dr. Lobsang Sangay, met with Canadian Minister for Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney to discuss an immigration program for exiled Tibetans in Arunachal Pradesh, India. They discussed the project, which allows for exiled Tibetans living in the Indian state to apply for permanent residence status in Canada. Kenney expressed hope that the program will go smoothly, allowing for similar initiatives in the future.
In related news, His Holiness the Dalai Lama met with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper for about twenty minutes at his Parliament Hill office on Friday. The Dalai Lama is in Canada as part of his tour of North America. His Holiness gave a talk at the Civic Centre on Saturday, titled “Ethics for a Whole World” – arranged by the Canada Tibet Committee.
The meeting, dubbed a “private courtesy call” by Harper, has been criticized by Canadian lawmakers and Tibetan supporters who feel the meeting should have been held publicly to demonstrate a sense of solidarity. The Tibetan news/activism website Phayul.com speculates that the meeting was billed as a “private courtesy call” in “an apparent attempt to defuse criticism from China.”
Harper’s last meeting with the Dalai Lama occurred in 2007, resulting in a statement from the Chinese Embassy to “stop interfering with China’s internal affairs.” Harper has since made trips to China in order to bolster trade relations between the two countries. During his most recent visit, in February of 2012, Harper stated that he will continue working toward improved human rights conditions in China.
Responding to critics about the private meeting, Harper said, “Do I wish it were in a public format? Yes. Do I think we need to aid our allies more than we do? Yes.”