Kumbanad near Tiruvalla is one of the wealthiest places in the state. The place in Koipuram panchayat holds another distinction - it is home to the first Malayali-Canadian parliamentarian.
Joe Daniel, a representative of the five- lakh-odd Malayalis in Canada, was elected to the House of Commons on May 2, 2011 from the federal electoral district of Don Valley East. Born to Mattackal Koshy Daniel and Chinnamma, he is a member of the Canadian Parliament’s standing committee of human resources and skills development and the standing committee on natural resources.
Speaking to Express on the sidelines of an interactive session with the Canadian Commonwealth Parliamentary Association here on Friday, he stressed on the big difference in the attitude of politicians in India and Canada. “The politics in India and Canada are entirely different. In Canada, politicians are much concerned about the development activities of the country, whereas in India politicians play politics only,” he said. He pointed out that none of the half a million Malayali population in Canada is interested in active politics.
“Literally, I am the single Kerala ambassador in Canada” he added. Born in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, the 57-year-old is an engineer by profession. His father the late Koshy Daniel was a civil engineer who worked for a Canadian company. After graduation, Joe joined Westland Helicopters Ltd as an engineer in England. In 1987, he went to Canada as part of a team work on the Canadian New Ship-borne Aircraft (NSA) Programme for the Canadian Military.
In October, 1995, he moved to Toronto and joined Celestica International Inc, at Don Mills and Eglinton, where he worked as engineering and senior programme global manager.
As a part-time professor at Humber and Centennial Colleges, Joe published and presented a number of papers on Fibre Optic technology. A frequent visitor to Kerala as part of various Canadian delegations, he is convinced the state has a huge potential for growth.