A Chilliwack man whose daughter's autism led to his family being refused entry to Canada has returned to India.
Last August, Transwest Helicopters general manager Krishnan Balakrishnan told the Times that he was considering returning to his native country because of Immigration Canada's declaration that his daughter would pose a long-term burden to Canada' health care system and was thus ineligible for a temporary residency permit.
A CBC Radio documentary produced by John Chipman for the Sunday Edition revealed that Balakrishnan had indeed decided to return to India. According to Chipman, by October, Balakrishnan's life was in turmoil, and not only because of the immigration problems.
Transwest Helicopters-a major Chilliwack airport tenant-had begun to move to new facilities in the South Okanagan town of Oliver. But at the same time, Balakrishnan's wife Prabha became ill with a serious lung infection.
Balakrishnan flew back to India to be with her and he hasn't returned since. He told Chipman his wife has since recovered from her illness, but that his rapid departure caused a falling out with his friend and boss Transwest owner Ernst-Ullrich Maas. Maas had been a friend and confidant and was outspoken about his belief that Balakrishnan's family should be able to immigrate to Canada.
Balakrishnan plans to file a new application for permanent residency in Canada, according to Chipman. But that may take three or four years. But in the meantime, he will be able to spend that time with his son Anirudh and daughter Sahana.
"I should never have come alone," he told Chipman.
By email, Balakrishnan told the Times that he has started his own "education training institute to coach children from Grade 8 onwards [to] their Masters degree in IT and Aviation."
He told the Times that he misses the solitude and quiet provided by Chilliwack.
"Being a c i t y b red individual, I thoroughly value the fresh air, natural beauty, the lack of noise and air pollution, absence of road congestion, et al, in Chilliwack especially now that I am back in Mumbai, which unfortunately is notorious in all the above areas.
"Most of all, I will certainly miss my good friends in Chilliwack and colleagues. People in Chilliwack are extremely friendly, cheerful and helpful. My mother asked me on numerous occasions when she visited if the last person who cheerfully greeted me was known to me. My answer always was 'No, I do not know her/him but Canadians are very friendly people."