A massage parlour is seen after a shooting, late Tuesday, March 16, 2021, in Atlanta. Amy Go says she was saddened to hear the news about the shootings in Atlanta that left six Asian American women dead, but as an Asian Canadian women, she wasn’t surprised. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Brynn Anderson

A massage parlour is seen after a shooting, late Tuesday, March 16, 2021, in Atlanta. Amy Go says she was saddened to hear the news about the shootings in Atlanta that left six Asian American women dead, but as an Asian Canadian women, she wasn’t surprised. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Brynn Anderson

Advocates call on Canadians to examine treatment of Asian Canadians

Killings in Atlanta follow a wave of recent attacks against Asian-Canadians since the novel coronavirus

Amy Go says she was saddened by the shootings in Atlanta that left six Asian American women dead, but as an Asian Canadian women, she wasn’t surprised.

Go, the president of the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice, said many Asian Canadian women have experienced hatred or violence in their daily life.

“There’s so much pain and grief,” she said about her initial reaction to the attack. “At the same time, as Asian Canadian women, none of us were surprised. There was no sense of shock. It was as if we knew this was coming … it just happened to be in Atlanta.”

The killings in Atlanta follow a wave of recent attacks against Asian Americans and Canadians since the novel coronavirus first arrived in North America.

In Atlanta, the 21-year-old suspect has denied his attack was racially motivated and claimed to have a “sex addiction,” with authorities saying he apparently saw massage parlours as sources of temptation.

The national council has tracked 931 anti-Asian racist incidents during COVID-19, and Go said the numbers should highlight myths about how Canadians view themselves.

“This myth about Canada that we are multicultural, more kind, we’re gentler than Americans, to me that’s just a myth. As racialized Canadians, particularly racialized women, we know that the reality is quite different,” she said.

Federal Trade Minister Mary Ng, who was born in Hong Kong before moving to Canada when she was seven, said she’s been the victim of discrimination.

“Every time I speak out about the need for us to keep working together as Canadians to prevent more intolerance and incidents of anti-Asian hate or discrimination, I will get a whole lot of other responses that are not becoming of Canadians,” she said in an interview.

She said the news of Tuesday’s attack left her feeling “horrified” and she emphasized the need for Canadians to offer support to the Asian Canadian community.

“I think the request is that Asian Canadians need all Canadians to stand alongside us, to speak out and to be vocal and to stand against anti-Asian racism and to certainly stand up for us in this fight,” Ng said.

Police in major cities across Canada have recorded increases in hate crimes in the past year, although not all could identify the specific targets of the alleged crimes.

Vancouver police reported a 717 per cent increase in anti-Asian hate crimes between 2019 and 2020, with the incidents peaking in May. Incidents in Vancouver have ranged from assaults to racist graffiti targeting businesses.

Sgt. Steve Addison, a Vancouver police spokesman, said in an email that police do not have the ability to recommend hate crimes charges under the Criminal Code. It is a sentencing provision that is applied by the courts if a person is convicted of a Criminal Code offence, Addison said.

Toronto police said it has seen an increase in the number of hate-motivated occurrences, comparing 2019 with 2020 — including incidents against Asian people — but could not provide data.

Ottawa police reported an increase of 56.9 per cent in the number of hate crime reports between 2019 and 2020, and noted Asian Canadians have seen the largest increase in hate incidents directed toward them.

Henry Yu, an associate professor in the University of British Columbia’s history department, said Asians have historically been blamed for a range of societal problems in Canada.

Yu cited the recent examples of people listing Chinese investment in Vancouver’s real estate market as a reason they cannot afford homes or the racist stereotype of Asians as poor drivers as ways Canadians blame others.

“I’m not a sex worker, I’m not female, but it doesn’t matter. The idea that Asians are blamed and scapegoated for societal problems that have nothing to do with us, that is what makes you feel insecure,” he said.

Discrimination against Asians can be traced back to when Canada became a formal country in 1867, he said, pointing to examples like the head tax specifically targeting people of Asian origin.

“(Discriminatory legislation) went hand in hand with the founding of the country,” he said.

Hate crimes

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dawson Road Maintenance crews have been working on road base failures on Highway 20. (Dawson Road Maintenance Facebook photo)
ROAD REPORT: Dawson Road Maintenance provides update on Cariboo Chilcotin road conditions

Road bases still soft, saturated at multiple locations in Cariboo Chilcotin due to spring freshet

The Central Coast snowpack is now sitting at 146 percent (Felicia Harris photo)
Central Coast snowpack now 46 per cent above normal

The risk of spring flooding is elevated due to the above normal snowpack across the entire province

Residents line up socially distanced at the Seedy Saturday event, held at the Lobelco Hall parking lot from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 3 with strict COVID-19 restrictions and precautions in place. (Nicole Kaechele photo)
Seedlings, plants and seeds offered at Seedy Saturday

“It was a fairly good turnout,” noted Elizabeth Howard

The Bella Coola Valley Arts Council (BCVAC) has recently received two awards totaling $40,000 from the province-wide British Columbia Arts Council, part of the StrongerBC: BC’s Economic Recovery Plan. The grants are to be used to stimulate local arts communities and to help them cope with impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo submitted)
Bella Coola Valley Arts Council receives $40,000 for local projects

The grants will be used to stimulte local arts communities and help them cope with the pandemic

Nuxalk Sputc Crew technician Scmlh (Jason Moody) walks in Bella Coola River towards sputc holding tank with cinematographer Louvens Remy (photo submitted)
Documentary to highlight importance of sputc for Nuxalk Nation

Sputc: We Shall Eat When the River is Full is a cinematic tale of wealth, loss and recovery

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Nanaimo RCMP say a man was injured while pouring gunpowder on a backyard fire in Harewood on Wednesday, April 21. (File photo)
Nanaimo man hospitalized after pouring gunpowder onto backyard fire

RCMP investigating explosion in Harewood also came across a still for making alcohol on property

Most Read