With a possible federal election in the fall, some community members are already hosting events to encourage voter turnout in the Richmond Chinese community.
On Aug. 5, Canada Committee 100 Society, an organization dedicated to promoting the interests of the Chinese Canadian community in Canada, held a virtual forum featuring leaders of Asian descent to engage that community in the democratic process.
“Getting involved in politics means taking some responsibility for the society and exercising rights to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,” said Guo Ding, the event organizer.
“For some parents who find their kids are passionate about getting involved in politics or even turning it into a career, please don’t discourage them from doing that,” added Ding.
Richmondite and youth mentor Franco Ng, who spoke at the forum, also stressed the importance of being aware and staying active in the democratic process, especially for the younger generation.
Ng, who immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong at the age of one, talked about his journey of working as an ethnic outreach coordinator for the BC Liberal Party almost four years ago.
Ng said this experience taught him that the more engaged you are with the democratic process, the more likely your voice and suggestions will be heard during the decision-making process.
“It’s like a chicken-and-egg issue. If you don’t even care about the election, how does the government know what your demands are, and how do they allocate resources to meet your demands,” said Ng in Mandarin.
Ng noted cultural differences between the West and East play a role in stopping Chinese immigrants from becoming more visible in politics.
“When we grew up, our parents told us not to meddle with other people’s lives. We were taught to stay silent, keep quiet and focused on our businesses all the time.
“It’s not a big problem when things go smoothly in our society. But when bad things happen, such as anti-Asian hate incidents climb amid the pandemic, it might take some time for us to react or to find any politician to voice our concerns,” said Ng.
However, Ng added that it’s still promising to see younger Chinese Canadian immigrants stepping up to make a difference in society by participating in more volunteer work and contributing to the community.