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

Sports broadcaster and 30-year high school football coach Farhan Lalji. (Image via farhanlalji.com)
Farhan Lalji chats about the new B.C. high school sports governance proposal

Lalji, a 30-year high school football coach, thinks the new proposal will be bad for student athletes

Surrey city Councillor Brenda Locke. (File photo)
Surrey councillor trying to get policing referendum on the table, again

‘I’m sending it back for clarification,’ mayor decides

A simulation lab at Surrey Memorial Hospital has been helping healthcare professionals train during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Submitted photo)
Surrey Memorial Hospital’s simulation lab trains professionals during COVID-19 pandemic

Surrey Hospitals Foundation contributing $100K toward new technologies

Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks about the province’s COVID-19 vaccine plans during a news conference at the legislature in Victoria. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Dr. Bonnie Henry says Surrey immunization targeted at neighbourhoods most at risk

‘What we’ve been looking at is the case rates by neighbourhood,’ provincial health officer says

A horse and driver cruise around the track at Fraser Downs in Cloverdale Sept. 14, 2020 amid smoke from U.S. forest fires. Harness Racing B.C. announced it’s halting the spring season two weeks early because of a lack of money and says racing won’t continue in September without and influx of cash. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Harness racing suspended at Fraser Downs

Spring season ends early, 135 workers out of jobs

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

The female driver of this Jeep Grand Cherokee (right) was driving erratically with a young child inside on Highway 1 eastbound. After hitting a barrier and a parked car, she finally exited the highway at Yale Road West and came to a stop. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Video captures woman driving erratically with child after hitting barrier, car on Hwy 1 in Chilliwack

Smoke seen coming from SUV as it continues to travel eastbound of shoulder of highway

Former Pitt Meadows city councillor David Murray was convicted of sex assault, and is now being sued by the victim. (files)
Former Pitt Meadows city councillor sued for sex assault

David Murray was convicted in 2017 of sexually assaulting a teen 25 years earlier

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Since April 4, 38 flights with COVID-19 cases have departed from Vancouver International Airport, while 23 arrived. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Vancouver the largest source of domestic flights with COVID-19 cases: data

This month alone, 38 flights with COVID-19 cases have departed from Vancouver International Airport, while 23 arrived

Most Read