Stressing that Punjabis had contributed a lot in the progress of British Columbia, its finance minister Micheal De Jong said that it was high time to transform the cultural relations into strong economic ties.
Jong, who was talking to reporters after paying obeisance at Harmandar Sahib, said, "British Columbia and Punjabis have strong cultural relations. I think, now time has come that the two sides build strong economic ties."
Jong said that there was a lot of scope on the economic front, "We will be soon opening a trade office in Chandigarh for inviting business opportunities. We look forward to have ties in the fields of education, bioscience, agro good and various other sectors in Punjab," he said.
Jong, who was also honoured by the SGPC, said, "I have visited Punjab many times and am fond of people here. I have always enjoyed walking in this part, visiting the 'khuh' (well) and the sunshine." The minister also visited the health centre in Manawala and gave fitness tips. He also spoke on 'diabetes awareness' programme.
Jong later visited the International Fateh Academy and interacted with students.
Walk cancelled due security reasons
The plan of Jong to walk from Amritsar to Chandigarh received a jolt when he was denied permission on security grounds. Jong, who was to walk 220 kms to spread awareness about healthy living, said, "I think I am not being allowed due to the security concerns. That is all I am being told."
"I would have definitely liked to walk through Punjab and meeting its people," he added,
Jong was accompanied by chief parliamentary secretary (health) Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu. "I had also planned to walk along the Canadian minister to spread health awareness," Dr Sidhu said.