Erad­i­cat­ing Racism and Hate Crime

The Miracle - - Local -

VIC­TO­RIA - This year marks the 25th an­niver­sary of B.C.’s Mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism Act. In 1993, when the act was first cre­ated, res­i­den­tial schools re­mained open in Canada. A ban prevent­ing Sikhs from wear­ing tur­bans in the RCMP had only just been lifted. The pro­vin­cial cabi­net in­cluded just one per­son of colour. We have made sig­nif­i­cant strides in 25 years. How­ever, like many of you, I feel and ob­serve an un­set­tling change in our so­ci­ety. This change is oc­cur­ring in daily life both off and on line. Peo­ple’s sym­bols of faith are be­ing chal­lenged in Que­bec. A new Cana­dian po­lit­i­cal party is us­ing is­sues of pub­lic safety and im­mi­gra­tion to stir up hate. Here in B.C., we have seen peo­ple tar­geted on pub­lic tran­sit for who they are or how they dress. And, sadly, racism has led to re­cent hor­rific hate crimes both south of the bor­der as well as here in our own coun­try. This is a crit­i­cal mo­ment in our so­ci­ety. It’s up to us as in­di­vid­u­als, as hu­man be­ings, to build these bridges. Tol­er­ance is no longer enough. In­stead, we must strive for eq­uity, ac­cep­tance and in­clu­sion. Our gov­ern­ment takes this re­spon­si­bil­ity se­ri­ously. We have reestab­lished a B.C. Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion with the power to ad­dress sys­tem­atic dis­crim­i­na­tion in our so­ci­ety. As part of our com­mit­ment to true and last­ing re­con- cil­i­a­tion, we will be fully adopt­ing and im­ple­ment­ing the United Na­tions dec­la­ra­tion on the rights of Indige­nous peo­ples and the calls to ac­tion of the Truth and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Com­mis­sion. These are just first steps, but they won’t be the last. This Mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism Week, our pledge as a gov­ern­ment is to meet hate and in­tol­er­ance headon for the sake of our beau­ti­fully di­verse province. I ask all Bri­tish Columbians to do the same.

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