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Rediff.com  » News » Canada names Consul-General to Chandigarh

Canada names Consul-General to Chandigarh

September 22, 2006 04:59 IST
Helen Economo Amundsen, whose appointment as Consul General was announced on Thursday by the Foreign Affairs Minister Peter McKay is currently Acting Director-General in the Corporate Services in the Department of Citizenship and Immigration.

Canada had announced opening of its Consulate-General in Chandigarh in October 2003, when former Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chretien went there. Indo-Canadian journalist Bhupinder Liddar was named the Consul-General then and Chretien himself formally introduced him to the invited guests.

His appointment, however, become a subject of controversy as the Canadian Security Intelligence Service wouldn't give him security clearance and that put that appointment into jeopardy. Liddar, however, continued to receive his annual salary of Rs 50,31,400.

After a lot of discussion the controversy was finally resolved. Liddar was given the necessary security clearance and he is now serving as the Canadian Representative to the UN Environment Program and the UN Human Settlements Program (HABITAT) in Nairobi.

Amundsen has a degree in Education. She joined the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Ottawa in 1981, and has served in Warsaw, Athens and London.

She has however, spent more time in the Immigration Department, as Director of Africa and Middle East; Acting Senior Director (Geographic Operations),  and more recently as acting Director-General in the Corporation Services Sector (Immigration).

She should soon be proceeding to Chandigarh to take charge of the post that has been lying vacant for almost three years.

Chandigarh Consulate-General is supposed to be devoting most of its energy to visa matters and thus take some of the burden off the shoulders of the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi so that visa processing at least for family class immigrants could be expedited.

Ajit Jain in Toronto