This story is still being written and it challenges Canada’s history of inclusion with a true narrative of our lived experiences – not just national myths – as all Canadians confront a racist past and present.
And it’s not just us. Black, Indigenous, and other people of colour have similar stories to tell, though our circumstances and outcomes are vastly different. Systemic racism still exists and is ingrained into Canadian society.
The federal government has created the Anti-Racism Strategy 2019-’22 and directorate which work on a vision “where all Canadians benefit from equitable access to and participation in the economic, cultural, social and political spheres.” This key policy paper specifically targets anti-Black, anti-Indigenous and anti-Semitic racism – but notably leaves out anti-Asian racism, which has resurfaced in Canada with COVID-19.
Our experience of racism during the pandemic is different across Canada, but it is persistent in all provinces, territories and in our cities. Racialized communities have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, when health outcomes are compared to other groups. In parts of the country, Chinese and Asian Canadians also are disproportionately represented on the health-care front lines, especially in the lower-paying jobs.
Our history of resilience, through the generations of our families who first settled here, defines our collective experience – and our identity in Canada. This is what being Canadian means to us.
Our “Canadian Experience”
Chinese and other Asian communities have been frequent visitors and settlers to Turtle Island. Chinese presence on Native lands that became Canada pre-date Confederation, in 1867, and Chinese Canadians who described North America as “Gold Mountain” have witnessed and participated in every major historic event in the building of our country.
Throughout Canada’s history, people of Chinese, other Asian, and Indigenous heritage have experienced historic injustices at various times. Resilience to racism and other forms of discrimination has become part of who we are – and it is ingrained in our Canadian identity. The experience of COVID-19 is no different.
This proud history of resilience was recognized on June 22, 2006, when Prime Minister Stephen Harper stood in the House of Commons in Canada’s 39th
How often do we hear a Prime Minister make such pronouncements in response to racially motivated attacks in Canada? In the case of COVID-19, politicians
“As part of their regular public briefings about COVID-19, political leaders should also report the number of incidents of anti-Asian racism and hate. Rallying public