Feb 18 2011

Canadians for Reconciliation – no Liberal leadership support

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February 3, 2011,
the  C A N A D I A N S    F O R    R E C O N C I L I A T I O N   S O C I E T Y…

加     和     會                           Contact: Bill Chu

held a press conference announcing the sending of a pledge statement for all 12 (now 11) leadership candidates to sign. The statement simply asks if elected as leader, whether the candidate will lead the party to:

  • . Acknowledge the history of British Columbians of Chinese descent in BC, including their contributions, and to recognize the adverse effects of BC’s policies on early Chinese Canadians and their communities;
  • . Acknowledge the history of Indigenous People in BC, including their contributions, and to recognize the historical and political adverse effects on their communities.
  • . Review and incorporate the above histories into the learning objectives of BC school curriculum


Feb 16 was our deadline to receive any signed responses to our pledge statement (see background below) from the 12 (reduced to 11 on Feb 16) candidates. We are happy to announce the following four MLA’s have signed the pledge statement:

Adrian Dix, MLA for Vancouver-Kingsway
Mike Farnworth, MLA for Port Coquitlam
Harry Lali, MLA for Fraser Nicola
Nicholas Simons, MLA for Powell River-Sunshine Coast

While as Canadians, we are encouraged that 36% of the 11 candidates are supporting our call to have the history of two large people’s group in BC acknowledged, we are discouraged that such non-partisan issue did not received the support of any Liberal party candidates. Such lack of response flies in the face of basic Canadian values of human rights, respect and national efforts to combat discrimination. It raises serious question as to the intent of Liberal candidates George Abbott, Mike de Jong, Moira Stilwell and Kevin Falcon making their rare appearances at Chinese New Year parade just two weeks ago, and to the effectiveness of George Abbott and Mike de Jong when they were appointed Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation.

“I am deeply disappointed and disheartened but not surprised to hear that not one BC Liberal leadership candidate had the decency to at least acknowledge the public request to declare the value of the historical contributions of Indigenous and Chinese communities in BC,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.

Reconciliation is a process rather than a one-time event. In BC, stereotyping and discrimination happened and still happen due to a lack of comprehensive understanding of BC’s history. That in turn causes alienation and lack of unity in building a better BC.  Our above action is a continuation of our efforts to have the history of two major cultures in BC acknowledged, and to pave the way for reconciliation for the province. It is also a way to ensure the upcoming leadership selection will not be based on what candidates say on their website or flyers, but on whether they will respond to what people see as common good.

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