May 16, 2020 - Canada is home to Canadians of Asian origins as much as anyone else.
Since the 1990s, Canada has celebrated Asian Heritage Month in the month of May.
This year is no different, as the country honours the contributions made by Canadians of Asian heritage.
However, this year’s celebration is also a time to note that the task of combating racism is not over.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, acts of racism against Asians in Canada have been reported to be on the rise.
This situation was noted in a statement by Anne Kang, Minister of Citizens' Services and minister also responsible for multiculturalism concerns in British Columbia.
“I have seen the rise of anti-Asian racism and hate crimes in our province due to the COVID -19 pandemic,” Kang said.
Kang, who belongs to the ruling B.C. New Democrat Party, is the Member of the Legislative Assembly for Burnaby-Deer Lake.
She and her family immigrated to Canada from Taiwan when she was a child.
“Any act of racism is unacceptable and everyone deserves to feel safe,” according to Kang.
“In this time of global crisis, we must remember that our communities are richer because of the contributions of all British Columbians,” Kang also said.
“More than ever, we need to stand together, show kindness and demonstrate through our words and actions that hate has no place in B.C.,” the B.C. Cabinet minister added.
Meanwhile, the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice has launched an online reporting tool to document incidents of racism across the country due to the pandemic.
The CCNC-SJ project is funded by the Department of Canadian Heritage.
In April, CCNC-SJ commissioned a poll in three of Canada’s largest cities: Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.
The survey indicates that 14 percent of respondents either believe that all Chinese and Asian people are carrying the COVID-19 virus or were not certain about that.
Susan Eng, director of the CCNC-SJ, said in a media release that with results like this, it’s not surprising to see an increase in anti-Asian racism.
“Canada’s leaders must stand up and unequivocally denounce every such racist incident and ill-informed belief, lest this behaviour is deemed acceptable and others are invited to do the same,” Eng said.
In Vancouver, the police department said that it has observed an increase in the number of racially-motivated crimes.
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