December 6, 2013
In 2007 during His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s visit to Ottawa, Prime Minister Stephen Harper agreed to help resettle Tibetans from the north Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh to Canada.
Through the consistent efforts of then Minister for Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney and his able staff, and in coordination with The Office of Tibet, New York, the process for the resettlement project was finalised. Several rounds of discussions were held within the Central Tibetan Administration in this regard. For administrative and practical purposes relating to the resettlement of Tibetans in Canada, the Project Tibet Society (PTS) was established to facilitate their smooth resettlement.
CTA through its Department of Home provided the settlement resident data, allocated the number of seats based on the population of various camps, and monitored the entire process. The actual process of preparing a list of people, organizing the lottery, etc. was conducted by the camp representatives in conjunction with Mr. Nima Dorjee and Mr. Mc. Dermott of PTS and with the Canadian High Commission, New Delhi.
The first 17 Tibetans, from among the first batch of more than 200, arrived in Canada on Friday, November 29, 2013. The second batch of Tibetans will leave soon followed by the third batch and eventually all 1000 Tibetans will be resettled.
“I sincerely thank the Government of Canada and its Prime Minister Stephen Harper, particularly former Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, the current Immigration Minister Mr. Chris Alexander and his dedicated staff. I also thank the Government of India for agreeing to this burden sharing program, and the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh for facilitating the relocation. I would like to thank and urge PTS and local Tibetan Association to continue their efforts to see a successful resettlement of Tibetans from Arunachal Pradesh. I once again request all fellow Tibetans and our friends in Canada to contribute to make this a success,” Sikyong Dr. Lobsang Sangay said.