Peter Liu: On rise in Rich­mond pol­i­tics BIO

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSSCANADA - By DAN­WEI BU in Van­cou­ver For China Daily

Peter Liu has been a phe­nom­e­non in Greater Van­cou­ver’s Chi­nese com­mu­nity since run­ning for school trustee.

Liu ran un­der the Rich­mond First Vot­ers So­ci­ety (Rich­mond First), the dom­i­nant po­lit­i­cal party in the city. Liu was Rich­mond First’s first can­di­date from the Chi­nese main­land to run for of­fice. Although Liu lost in the Nov 15 elec­tion, he got 9,717 votes.

“We are glad to have Peter Liu on board to run with us, and we are sure that he will be a most im­por­tant po­lit­i­cal fig­ure in Rich­mond First for the next 20 years,” said Coun­cil­lor Bill McNulty, leader of Rich­mond First. “Peter Liu is the per­fect can­di­date for us to bring the Chi­nese com­mu­nity to­gether. As we are build­ing a uni­fied and har­mo­nious com­mu­nity, we need a can­di­date like Peter Liu to rep­re­sent one of the most im­por­tant parts of the pop­u­la­tion.”

Liu was born in Tian­jin, China, and at­tended Sichuan Univer­sity. He moved to Canada in 2002 with his wife and daugh­ter. Like most new im­mi­grants, Liu had some tough times but ended up start­ing his own company to ex­port Cana­dian wines to China and to bring in­vest­ment to Canada.

Liu’s daugh­ter is study­ing business at the Univer­sity of Bri­tish Columbia. His son, who was born in Canada, is in el­e­men­tary school.

Liu is ac­tive in the lo­cal Chi­nese com­mu­nity. He serves as di­rec­tor of the Cana­dian Com­mu­nity Ser­vice As­so­ci­a­tion (CCSA). He is also a mem­ber of the Ro­tary E-club of Lulu Is­land, a char­ity or­ga­ni­za­tion sup­ported by McNulty, Ki­ichi Ku­ma­gai and Kevin Lainch­bury, the ex­ist­ing mem­bers of the Rich­mond First Team.

“I see many chal­lenges of our com­mu­nity, and I would like to act as a bridge be­tween the main­stream po­lit­i­cal plat­forms and Chi­nese com­mu­nity,” Liu said in his cam­paign plat­form.

Liu told lo­cal Chi­nese me­dia site la­hoo.com: “Elec­tions are about choos­ing some­one who rep­re­sents you in main­stream pol­i­tics. Our voice must be heard as a whole, as we have more and more Chi­nese liv­ing here. We can­not af­ford to be the silent majority again. If the Chi­nese com­mu­nity choose me as the can­di­date, I shall not hes­i­tate to stand up and speak for them.”

Many Chi­nese Cana­di­ans be­lieve they are closer to hav­ing a coun­cil­lor or school trustee from the Chi­nese main­land elected in Rich­mond.

“One day in my life there will be a China-born Rich­mond mayor,” said Pro­fes­sor Zhou Nan­shuo, a re­tired teacher and com­mu­nity ac­tivist in Rich­mond.

Rich­mond is an im­por­tant des­ti­na­tion for new Chi­nese im­mi­grants. Many Chi­nese peo­ple choose Rich­mond as their start­ing point in Canada. They fly into Rich­mond In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

Rich­mond has an im­mi­grant pop­u­la­tion of 60 per­cent, the high­est in Canada, and more than 50 per­cent of its res­i­dents iden­tify as Chi­nese. The city is known for its shop­ping and Chi­nese restau­rants. Rich­mond has be­come the new Chi­na­town in North Amer­ica.

Rich­mond City Coun­cil­lor Derek Dang, also a mem­ber of Rich­mond First, was elected coun­cil­lor in 1996. He is a third-gen­er­a­tion im­mi­grant from Hong Kong, speak­ing flu­ent English and lit­tle Can­tonese.

“Although he is Chi­nese eth­ni­cally, we will not look at him as Chi­nese, be­cause he can­not speak Chi­nese,” said Coun­cil­lor Chak Au, sec­ond Chi­nese coun­cil­lor in Rich­mond, who im­mi­grated from Hong Kong. Au claimed he was the first coun­cil­lor in Rich­mond to speak Chi­nese.

“We are look­ing for­ward to the can­di­dates who speak Man­darin and un­der­stand our back­ground and cul­ture,” said Zhou. “Liu will be our per­fect can­di­date: hum­ble, in­tel­li­gent and hard-work­ing. English lan­guage and lit­er­a­ture is his ma­jor, and he speaks per­fect Chi­nese. Given more time and ex­pe­ri­ence, he can win big.”

The next mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion will be held on 2018. Rich­mond First is rep­re­sented with three coun­cil mem­bers and three school trus­tees.

“There will be 10,000 Chi­nese mov­ing into Rich­mond ev­ery year in the next 10 years,” Liu said. “There will be more peo­ple get­ting cit­i­zen­ship in the next four years in the city of Rich­mond. I am con­fi­dent that Chi­nese main­land-born Chi­nese Cana­di­ans will be elected some day in the fu­ture in this city,” Liu said to sup­port­ers after the elec­tion.

Shortly after the elec­tion, Liu started a non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion called Bike Watch So­ci­ety with McNulty and other com­mu­nity lead­ers.

“Safety has been the No 1 is­sue of Rich­mond cit­i­zens, and I would like to have more in­put into the com­mu­nity,” Liu said. “I will or­ga­nize thou­sands of young vol­un­teers to safe­guard our com­mu­nity and got more peo­ple in­volved.” Con­tact the writer at read­ers@chi­nadai­lyusa.com.cn

DAN­WEI BU / FOR CHINA DAILY

Tian­jin na­tive Peter Liu is ac­tive in lo­cal pol­i­tics in Rich­mond, Canada.

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