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

Food trucks will be allowed to operate in several Sooke parks beginning May 1. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sooke’s food truck pilot project under scrutiny

Councillor questions impact food trucks will have on nearby restaurants

A walk for autism awareness. (Black Press Media file photo)
COLUMN: Autism acceptance, not autism awareness

Elizabeth Sparling is the mother of a 24-year-old son with Autism Spectrum Disorder

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
PHOTOS: Vehicle driven into Saanich Walmart removed after two trapped workers rescued

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

Tons of bottles were donated during bottle drives in Sooke and Langford on March 27. The funds raised from the drives will help a local family stay with their daughter during her leukemia treatments in Vancouver. (Photos: Glendora Scarfone)
Sooke, Langford bottle drives help cover family’s costs of staying with daughter during cancer treatments

More than $11,900 raised to help Shae Hanilton’s family stay with her in Vancouver

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
Man finds men who rescued him from drowning in B.C.’s Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person when the pandemic ends

Tyson Ginter, 7, is proud of his latest Hot Wheels he recently received by Quesnel RCMP Const. Matt Joyce. (Photo submitted)
B.C. Mountie handing out toy cars to light up children’s faces

‘A lot of times it will be the only interaction they have with the police,’ says Const. Matt Joyce

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, Friday, January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s ICUs see near-record of COVID-19 patients last week as variant cases double

Last week, Canadian hospitals treated an average of 2,500 patients with COVID-19, daily, up 7% from the previous week

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
UVic, women’s rowing coach deny former athlete’s allegation of verbal abuse

Lily Copeland alleges coach Barney Williams would stand close to her and speak aggressively in the sauna

Most Read