NBCC President Monir Hossain invited by Hon. Pierre Pettigrew, Foreign Minister of Canada at his Parliament Hill office. Both has discussed about Bangladeshi-Canadian immigration, immigrant accreditation issues and bilateral relations with Bangladesh as well as the improvement of free trade and keeping Bangladesh in 48 nations with free trade agreement with development countries in which Bangladesh is highly benefited by this agreement . - 2005
Engaging Bangladesh: National Bangladeshi Canadian Council Action Plan
The National Bangladesh-Canadian Council (NBCC) is the voice of Canada’s Bangladeshi community. The Council brings together under one umbrella all the national, provincial and local Bangladeshi-Canadian organizations. Together with its member organizations, NBCC has been leading, coordinating and representing the interests of one of Canada’s vibrant ethnic communities (100,000)
for 40 years and has been instrumental in shaping Canada’s social, economic and political landscape.
The National Bangladesh-Canadian Council has prepared an action plan outlining its strategy and associated plan for interaction between the Bangladeshi-Canadian community and Bangladesh. The plan was written in consultation with member organizations and was approved by its Board of Directors.
During an uprising political violence, fundamentalism and terrorism activities in Bangladesh - 2005. NBCC organizes Bangladeshi-Canadian communities to take part from all levels in a meeting with Canada's Justice Minister Hon. Irwin Cotler at his constituency office in Montreal
There are about 100,000 Canadians of Bangladeshi descent with close familial, cultural and linguistic ties to Bangladesh. Canada was the first Western country to recognize Bangladesh’s independence and this attachment has been recognized in the special relationship between these two countries. There is also mutual benefit to be derived from maintaining the relationship between them including the geo-political position of Bangladesh and potential for deriving mutual economic benefit.
Among the purposes and objects of the NBCC is: “To support the democratic, civil, social, economic and state development of Bangladesh.” By extension, the Bangladeshi Canadian community wishes to see a great country and its talented peoples succeed in overcoming the legacy of its difficult past and continue to build a democratic, stable, prosperous, and harmonious society within Bangladesh based on respect for national and religious minorities, and strong mutually respectful relations with its neighbors and beyond..
The Bangladeshi Canadian community is looking to the National Bangladeshi Canadian Council (NBCC) to provide some direction as to the actions and activities that could be implemented within Canada to improve the situation.
The Bangladeshi Canadian community wishes to develop and maintain positive relations with Bangladesh.
Today, many feel Bangladesh’s sovereignty is at risk as there is a perception that Bangladesh’s current government is bowing to neighboring countries’ pressure to re-integrate into the former colonial state. There are signs that Bangladeshi language, history, and national identity are being threatened amid media reports indicating that the rule of law and democratic freedoms such as freedom of the press, assembly and speech are being stifled. International communities and many fears Bangladesh’s long-earned democracy and fear election process being jeopardized. Among the government and politicians, bureaucratic corruption is higher than ever.
Canada, and indeed the West’s interests, is best served by a democratic and independent Bangladesh, something of an anomaly in that region of the world where the democratic tradition is fragile.
These factors have collided to create the opportunity for Canada and for the organized Bangladeshi community, and also the Government of Canada, to respond to the situation. Canada is widely respected in Bangladesh as a model for democratic values and as a civil society, for its economic and social development, and its long-term support for Bangladesh. Canada’s bilateral aid to Bangladesh is higher than ever, trade and commerce are getting higher and higher.
Among the purposes and objects of the NBCC is: “To support the democratic, civil, social, economic and state development of Bangladesh.” By extension, this policy paper reflects the desire of the Bangladeshi-Canadian community to see a great country and its talented people succeed in overcoming the legacy of a difficult past and in building a democratic, stable, prosperous, and harmonious society within Bangladesh based on respect for national and religious minorities, and strong mutually respectful relations with its neighbours and beyond.
The Key Areas of Engagement of the strategy are as follow: i) Safeguard sovereignty and territorial integrity; ii) Advance Bangladesh’s cultural, historical and national identity; iii) Respect for the Constitution, rule of law; democratic rights and anti-corruption actions; iv) Preserve right to life, liberty and security of person; v) Strengthen civil and open society; vi) Promoting the Bangla language as the official mother language; vii) Defend fundamental freedoms of expression, media, religion, peaceful assembly, and association; viii) Balance and independence among the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government; ix) Promote and enhance education of Bangladeshi’s unique history; and x) Support person to person contact between Bangladesh and Canada through tourism, athletic, professionals, labour and student exchanges.
The engagement strategy is a multi-pronged approach to influencing the governments of Canada and Bangladesh in order to follow key principles that support the objectives outlined above in all cooperative endeavours with the Bangladeshi government
In order to achieve the objective, the primary strategy is to influence policy decisions of the governments of Canada and Bangladesh, to promote the Key Areas of Engagement. To do so we must engage key stakeholders in Bangladesh by establishing and reinforcing the channels through which we can foster mutually advantageous cooperation.
Common Ground Issues
As a first step, issues where highest level of head of the government relation buildup:
Presently at the highest level of the government relation are bitter than ever due to some incident like some of the killers of Bangladesh’s founding father sheltered by Canada government and corruption allegation about Jamuna Bridge, etc..
Continuing a positive bilateral relationship between Canada and Bangladesh, as well as between Canadians and Bangladeshis.
Economic development. Support the economic development of Bangladesh through provision of Canadian expertise including small business development, agriculture and energy.
Support for continued free trade opportunity for both nation.
To achieve the strategy we must engage the government of Bangladesh and its citizens through a multi-pronged campaign with direct engagement being at the heart of the strategy. The plan focuses on four groups of stakeholders: i) the Government of Canada; ii) engaging the government of Bangladesh at all levels; iii) the media; and iv) civil society in Bangladesh.
Instruments of Engagement
Business has become potentially the most dynamic force for change in Bangladesh. It attracts the young elite and interacts with the outside world; in a growing number of companies, it requires conformity with international standards of law, accountancy, and governance. Wider interaction will have a beneficial influence on all concerned.
Information: We need to be vigilant in defending the flow of information to and from Bangladesh and should take very seriously any interference with it including freedom of media.
Education: Along with business, education should be a very significant instrument for bridging the gap over the next generation. Where there are resources available, there can be no better use of them than in sustaining and expanding the volume of educational interchange between Bangladesh and Canada.
Opinion and policy makers: The level of interchange between opinion and policy makers and the level of understanding needs to be enhanced.
NGOs - There are estimated to be more than 50,000 NGOs of one kind or another in Bangladesh. Many with contacts to Canada have learned best practises, for example, in various sectors such as homelessness, domestic violence, natural disasters, transport accidents and a wide range of health-care problems.
Engagement with the government of Bangladesh is necessary provided it is grounded on mutual interests, with a firm approach to principles and standards, and a realistic appreciation of Bangladeshis direction. We must engage policy makers with credible arguments, and by shining the public spotlight on issues of importance both in Bangladesh and within the international community.
Engagement with Bangladesh should not solely be a matter of engagement with state actors at the highest level. The most effective contribution that both the diaspora and our governments could make to Bangladesh will be to use the many opportunities that now exist to engage with as wide a range of people and organizations as possible.