2nd Session, 43rd Parliament
Volume 152, Issue 35

Tuesday, April 20, 2021
The Honourable George J. Furey, Speaker

Anti-Asian Racism

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, I rise today to address the issue of increasing racism and, as a result, assaults against Asian Canadians across Canada and the world.

Just over one month ago in Atlanta, Georgia, a shooter rampaged at three separate massage parlours. This gruesome violence led to eight women losing their lives, six of whom were Asians.

In our country, a first-of-its-kind report titled A Year of Racist Attacks: Anti-Asian Racism Across Canada One Year into the Pandemic was released by several advocacy groups. The report examined more than 1,000 incidents of racism, and it’s truly heartbreaking that such hatred exists in our country.

Many of the attacks were against the elderly and children 18 years and younger. One in five attacks occurred in restaurants and grocery stores. These are places everyone should be safe to go to.

Shamefully, anti-Asian attacks also occurred on academic campuses, in government and professional offices and even in people’s places of worship.

Kennes Lin, co-chair of the Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter, reminds us to:

. . . remember this is only a snapshot of the anti-Asian racism happening in Canada, and across the world right at this moment.

Honourable senators, these next figures should upset all of us. In my home province of British Columbia, 43% of Asians reported having endured anti-Asian racism, and a staggering 87% believe that racism against them has gotten worse during the pandemic. Still, I am very proud that in spite of this mounting hatred, our great community in British Columbia remains strong. I was very moved at the end of March when I saw hundreds of people from different walks of life take to the city streets in my home of Vancouver and stand against anti-Asian racism.

This unity in the face of pain reminds us that here in Canada we have more compassionate and caring people, and together we can and will stamp out all acts of racism against all people.

Honourable senators, I stand here very proud that in our great institution none of us will ever accept any act of racism against any person, whether it is in Canada or around the world. Thank you.