CPAC Sends Open Letter to Party Leaders Regarding Alleged Election Interference; Calling for Balance and Sensitivity towards Chinese Canadians
March 21, TORONTO – On this International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, CPAC, a multi-dimensional organization that is an association of internationally educated professionals, a career and skills development service provider, and a developing think tank that provides research-based support for the understanding and elimination of systemic racism and barriers to equity, diversity and inclusion, sent an open letter to the leaders of all four major national parties, Mr. Justin Trudeau, Mr. Pierre Poilievre, Mr. Jagmeet Singh, and Ms Elizabeth May, regarding the current environment surrounding the alleged election interference by the Chinese government.
The full text of the letter is as follows.
Dear [Party Leader],
We want to bring to your attention our deep concerns about the impact of the political framing and media narratives of alleged election interference by the Chinese government.
CPAC is an organization representing over 30,000 Canadians of Chinese descent. We fully appreciate the importance of election integrity, and we believe that election interference undermines election integrity in a free and democratic society. We support fair and thorough investigations of any allegation of election interference by a foreign state.
However, we are troubled by the narratives of certain media outlets and statements made by some politicians. Our community fears that Chinese Canadians will become collateral damage and victims of racial discrimination that the Chinese community in Canada already experiences in various forms, such as stereotyping, subconscious bias or hate crime at its worst.
At this time, our community is still suffering from anti-Chinese racism stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Our elders, children, and indeed people of all ages, have been attacked and victimized either physically, verbally or virtually. We worry that the current toxic environment may lead to unfair labeling and alienation, causing further physical and mental harm to us and our children.
In this centennial year of the infamous Chinese Exclusion Act, we fear that another wave of Chinese exclusion sentiment will sweep Canada, if necessary measures are not taken to protect Chinese Canadians. We fear that a new version of Chinese exclusion may resurrect in Canada leading Chinese Canadians to be regarded as “others” and “outsiders.”
Chinese Canadians have been an integral part of the Canadian fabric for nearly a century and a half. Chinese railroad workers built the most dangerous part of the Canadian Pacific Railway that saved Confederation in the 1880s. Today, Chinese Canadians are making significant contributions in all sectors of society, from science and arts to philanthropy, law and democracy. We are equal citizens to people of any other ethnic origins. However, we fear that the peaceful and respectful multi-racial Canadian mosaic may unravel, if the current strident rhetoric is not countered by leaders like you.
Therefore, we urge you to take a balanced approach and exercise care for Chinese Canadians. We urge you to stand with the Chinese Canadian community, while protecting Canada’s election integrity. We urge you to publicly recognize the significant contributions of Chinese Canadians and condemn any irresponsible rhetoric or propaganda from any hate promoting groups or individuals against Chinese Canadians. We request that you ask all your caucus and party members to do the same in their statements and actions regarding issues that concern Chinese Canadians. We also request that you take the time to meet with us in the Chinese community to hear our fears and concerns to inform your policies and statements.
Chinese Canadians have often been targeted unfairly, as a result of ignorance or malice. As a national party leader, what you say about Chinese Canadians has lasting consequences for us. We sincerely hope that you will be sensitive to the concerns of over a million Canadians of Chinese descent and that you will do your part to protect us from racism and unfair treatment.
Thank you very much for your attention to this matter.
CPAC is a professionals’ association with over 30,000 members, a career service provider for new immigrants and youth from underserved communities, and a research, training and education organization that facilitates the understanding and elimination of systemic racism and barriers to equity, diversity and inclusion.