James Wang: passionate about Burnaby
When looking to Burnaby’s future, Wang said he hopes to see more Chinese Canadians with talent and ideas letting their voices be heard.
“My wish (as a city councillor) is to see all the members in our community willing to share their talents and respect each other’s identities,” Wang said. “I want to work hard to make sure all cultures and races can survive and thrive on this land because that’s what made Canada a great country.”
Unlike two decades ago when Wang first landed with few fellow immigrants from the Chinese mainland, the population of Chinese Canadians has been booming in recent years.
“I understand that getting involved in politics is not in our nature as Chinese,” Wang said. “But I truly hope my experience can encourage more immigrants here of Chinese background to get themselves out and integrate our culture in different communities. And once you’re out there, you’d discover how diverse and colorful a country we are living in.
“There are so many ways that new immigrants can feel isolated or trapped when adapting to a new society — language barriers, culture shocks, lifestyles, culture norms and so forth,” he said. “But what made us different also made us capable of contributing to the society from a unique way that no one else can. That’s what made building a new life here exciting to me.”
Wang said that “the idea of exploring the outside world and building a life from scratch is perhaps something comes with my blood. Growing up, my family was constantly on the move. It is perhaps also why I am able to call any new land I’m settling in home and immerse myself into local communities quite naturally.”
Wang’s efforts have been frequently recognized, including as a winner of a Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award in 2014 and as a nominee for the British Columbia Multicultural Awards in 2015.
I don’t want to passively live in a community as an observer or an outsider. I want to grow together with it.”
James Wang, Burnaby City Council James Wang, a City Council member in Burnaby, British Columbia, is the first elected municipal official in Canada from the Chinese mainland.