New Canadian Media
Saturday, 03 October 2015 14:53

Art Exhibit Explores Loss and Language

by Deanna Cheng in Vancouver

Hidden behind red solid pillars in a tranquil space nestled on the edge Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, a new exhibition at the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Vancouver explores how artists move past the voids in life to produce artwork full of vitality. 

The exhibition, "Realm of Possibilities,” features the work of painters Wai Yee Chiu and Synn Kune Loh as well as photographer Hailien Tam. 

For Chiu and Tam, their artwork was inspired by their connections with nature and their experiences with the cycle of life. Loh takes his inspiration from the Chinese language, exploring what is found in the "empty space between conversations.”

Finding beauty in loss

Chiu began painting her series, "Gone Winter, Come Spring,” about six months after her husband's death in 2008. The Hong Kong-based artist was morose and sick at the time and spent most days watching the sun set and rise.

The artist said her doctor suggested she use her art to help with her sickness, and from that advice the series was born. "After watching [sunsets and sunrises] so many times, I became one with nature. I felt the rhythm and became more peaceful,” Chiu explained.

One piece of the artwork consists of four resin-coated painted circles representing the life cycle of a lotus plant: the leaf, the flower, the seed and the root. Brushstrokes show the outline of each part. It also correlates to the four seasons: spring, summer, autumn, winter.

Chiu was not the only artist featured in this exhibit who has experienced profound loss. Tam lost her best friend two years ago. They were the same age — 31 years old — and her friend’s death hit her especially hard. "It was sudden. Overnight,” Tam said.

Chiu began painting her series, "Gone Winter, Come Spring,” about six months after her husband's death in 2008.

Every time Tam felt any negative emotions, she channeled those feelings into her art and took her camera outside. "I looked for beauty,” she said.

Earlier in her life, Tam had worked as a lawyer in Hong Kong where she provided "legal advice in black and white, within strict rules and precedents, trying to find order in chaos.” Photography became her emotional and artistic release.

Tam moved to Vancouver in 1996 and now spends most of her free time hiking and photographing what she finds.

Chiu encouraged Tam to use photography to create art instead of documenting daily life; each moment was an opportunity to look beyond the superficiality of an image and explore it as a piece of art. As Tam put it, "The possibilities are endless.”

In her still life photography, Tam positions the light to stroke the curve of an indigo sun tomato or the crevices of a dried shiitake. The organic shapes are treasured and cushioned by the space around each item.

Tam said she uses these methods and more to make "life" be visible through her work. It can be seen in her series, as the photographs in warm hues emit a quiet beauty while the cooler shots carry a greater sense of liveliness and movement. 

Bringing words to life

In his section of the exhibit, Loh, a visual artist and international speaker on the evolution of consciousness, examines how words are born in the silence between conversations.

The pieces are hand-painted with beautiful, traditional calligraphy — not the simplified versions that China's education system uses today. Some of the pieces depict specific, single words while others recite passages from classical Chinese literature.

Each artwork has tiny white dots, which Loh says were intended to give the pieces a spiritual feeling of cohesion. "I wanted to use the molecular form to create art," he said.

Loh explained that the square and rectangle shapes imply a man-made form, reflecting how language itself is man-made.

One of the pieces, ”Unbidden Memories Had Surfaced” (pictured right), takes inspiration from the Chinese character for promise or vow, which is represented in the centre of the canvas. The word itself means "origin" and "paper" put together, which are also depicted in their own panels on either side of the painting.

"Simplified, [it] takes away the spirit of the culture.”

The piece comes from one of Loh’s many musings. He describes it as an exploration of the words themselves as pieces of separate entities and how they can possibly join together to become something.

Another piece, titled "What's Next," incorporates characters from the classical Chinese tale "Yellow Emperor," a story about the origins of Chinese civilization. Loh said the two tiny stick figures standing on the Chinese character "mountain" alludes to this story.

Loh likes the traditional characters because they have a history or story of evolution behind them. "Simplified, [it] takes away the spirit of the culture,” he said. 

"Realm of Possibilities” is currently on display from September 19 until October 24 at the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Vancouver at 555 Columbia Street.

This content was developed exclusively for New Canadian Media and can be re-published with appropriate attribution. For syndication rights, please write to publisher@newcanadianmedia.ca

Published in Arts & Culture

by Paul Barber

Waves of immigration throughout Canada’s history have made ethnic sub-populations key targets for Canadian election campaigns.

Historically this has benefited the federal Liberals; the party supported mass immigration while governing Canada for two thirds of the 20th century, making ethnic voting a staple of Liberal politics. Challenges have come in recent years, notably from the Conservatives — who achieved considerable electoral success in immigrant ridings in 2011 — but also from the NDP.

It’s largely forgotten now, but at one time Canadians of British origin were openly suspicious of immigrants’ politics. In 1924, one prominent Winnipeg businessman said of newcomers: “We welcome all good citizens from foreign lands, but if they do not believe in the Christian religion, nor intend to keep our laws, they should be asked without delay to return from whence they came.”

Let’s look at some constituencies where there are large concentrations of Canadians from various ethnic backgrounds.

Ukrainians

Many of the immigrants that Winnipeg businessman was talking about came from Eastern Europe, particularly the Ukraine. Most came prior to World War I and settled on margins of the good farmland in the prairie provinces.

Based on the 2013 redistribution, in 2011 the top five federal ridings with the highest concentration of ethnic Ukrainians would have elected Conservatives, all but one by comfortable margins, all in Manitoba or Alberta. Most of this population is made up of Ukrainians whose families migrated to Canada prior to World War I or shortly thereafter and no longer speak the language.

The federal Liberals were successful at first with this vote, winning strong Ukrainian ridings in the '20s, '30s and '40s. But the Liberals were displaced on the prairies by the Progressive Conservatives under John Diefenbaker in the 1950s.

Harper has made support for the Ukraine in its struggle with Russian-backed secessionists a key symbolic foreign policy priority — no doubt partly for its domestic political benefit, even if many diplomats remain unimpressed. However, in 2015 Conservative support has slipped even in the party’s strongholds — and that includes ridings with significant Ukrainian populations.

Ethnicity is not the only influence on voting behaviour.

Four out of five of these ridings would be retained by the Conservatives today, but current polling suggests one (in urban Winnipeg) could go to the NDP. Note that this constituency, Elmwood-Transcona, is about 21 per cent Ukrainian heritage. A majority voters are from other backgrounds. Ethnicity is not the only influence on voting behaviour.

(Data on the ethnic composition of electoral districts comes from the 2011 National Household Survey, which replaced the long form census.)

Italians

Large numbers of Italians settled in Ontario and Quebec after the Second World War, mainly in Toronto and Montreal. They reliably supported the Liberals. That may be changing.

The example of Toronto’s designated ‘Little Italy’ neighbourhood is a good illustration. The neighbourhood is located in University-Rosedale, a constituency with the 46th-largest Italian population in Canada (7.6 per cent). But many Italian-Canadians have long since moved to the suburbs.

The two constituencies with the highest concentration of Italian voters are relatively prosperous GTA ridings just north of Toronto (both King-Vaughan and Vaughan-Woodbridge rank among the top 25 most affluent constituencies in Canada).

Both would have elected Conservatives in 2011. Current polling suggests the Liberals could win back one of the two (and also pick up an NDP seat in Montreal). And the northern Ontario riding of Sault Ste. Marie, which elected a Conservative in 2011, is likely to go NDP.

South Asians

More recent years have seen large-scale immigration from Asia. The Conservatives targeted these ridings in 2011 and achieved significant, but not universal, success.

Over time, new Canadians become more integrated into Canadian society. As they do, their ethnic identities become less important in determining how they might vote.

Again, using the redistributed vote we find that half of the top 10 South Asian constituencies would have elected Conservatives in 2011, although the NDP would have won four and the Liberals two.

With the considerable improvement in Liberal support during the current election, it is likely that the Conservatives would retain just a third of these constituencies; the NDP would drop two and the Liberals would make significant gains.

Chinese

We see a similar pattern among constituencies with substantial Chinese populations: considerable Conservative success in 2011 with likely large-scale losses, mainly to the Liberals, but also one to the NDP, anticipated in 2015.

Over time, new Canadians become more integrated into Canadian society. As they do, their ethnic identities become less important in determining how they might vote.

As second, third and fourth generations replace the original immigrants they develop political views they share with others outside of their ethnic sub-groups. Whether they are environmentalists or social justice advocates, free traders or anti-tax conservatives, their ethnic identities have progressively less influence on how they vote and view politics.

Although the Liberals continue to do well among ethnic minority voters, political support from Canada’s minorities has diversified. The efforts made by the Conservatives in 2011 met with considerable success and the NDP has made its own gains. The days of monopolizing the immigrant vote are over, and the political importance of ethnic identity clearly fades over time.


Paul Barber is a retired former public servant and journalist. He worked for the governments of Ontario and Manitoba, mainly in intergovernmental relations, and as a TV current affairs documentary producer in Winnipeg and for the program The Journal in Toronto. He offers his opinions on politics and media at the blog: tcnorris.blogspot.com

Published in partnership with iPolitics.ca.

Published in Commentary

by Shan Qiao in Scarborough, Ontario  

Seven Conservative candidates representing Greater Toronto Area (GTA) ridings with a significant presence of ethnic Chinese voters came together on Tuesday to promote their party platform.

The Chinese Canadian Conservative Association (CCCA) organized the event for the Chinese language media.

The seven candidates who participated were Bin Chang representing for Scarborough-Agincourt; Joe Daniel, for Don Valley North; Jobson Easow for Markham-Thornhill; Maureen Harquail for Don Valley East; Chungsen Leung for Willowdale; Michael Parsa for Richmond Hill; and Bob Saroya for Markham-Unionville.

Playing the Chinese heritage card

Apart from Bin who came from Mainland China and Chungsen who was born in Taiwan, most of the other non-Chinese candidates also had immigrant backgrounds.

For example, Parsa, who came to Canada at age six, has his roots in the Iranian community, Saroya immigrated to Canada in 1975 from India and Easow, who was born and brought up in India, came to Canada over two decades ago.

“[A] MP who truly represents people needs to understand Canada’s diversity.”

Daniel, who is South Asian, but speaks with a British accent and has a “mainstream” name, said he has supporters from every community. Born in Tanzania to Indian parents, he went to school in India and started his career in England before coming to Canada.

During the event, he contrasted his support base with that of his Liberal rival Geng Tan, who has publicly asked voters of Chinese heritage to vote for him.

Tan’s supporters have shared WeChat messages such as “He (Tan) represents the Liberal that is more friendly to Chinese”; “Without a Mandarin-speaking Chinese politician in the Parliament, who will speak for our Chinese people?”; or “Who will you vote for, a Chinese or an Indian?”

Daniel showed these messages to the media, but shrugged off his challenger.

“Chinese communities are split in three ways: Taiwanese, Hong Kong and Mainland Chinese,” Daniel said. “His (Tan’s) appeal is to Mainland Chinese. Many of them are completely opposed to what he says. I have a lot of Chinese supporters coming out and canvassing for me who say what he says is wrong.”

Daniel’s close caucus member, Willowdale incumbent Chengsun, is against ethno-centric campaign strategies.

In reference to a Globe and Mail article earlier this year that said “Toronto’s suburbs are shaping up to be a Mandarin-speaking powerhouse for the federal Liberal Party,” Chengsun had this to say:

“What is a powerhouse? A powerhouse is the MP that most represents his constituents and [speaks] for them in the House of Commons. Plus, a MP who truly represents people needs to understand Canada’s diversity.”

“If you rely solely on the Chinese vote, you are going to lose.”

He went on to add, “If you rely solely on Chinese vote, you are going to lose because that’s not representing all Canadians, that doesn’t represent diversity of Canadians. I happen to be Chinese, but I certainly don’t see myself as a Chinese candidate because it’s incorrect.”

He said his message to the Chinese community was to “vote for the government that best represents you.”

Wooing the Chinese vote

Alex Yuen, the president of CCCA indicated that although two of the Conservative candidates were Chinese, the organization’s mission was to hear out voices from all communities.

Nevertheless, the seven candidates who had gathered at an upscale Chinese seafood restaurant in Scarborough were fully prepared to woo the Chinese community with topics that interested them.

They each had a Chinese name that was most likely given to them by their ethnic Chinese volunteers. For instance Saroya’s Chinese name meant “contribute to the country” and Daniel’s meant “stronger and talented.”

“It’s clear that Chinese families share our Conservative values,” said Saroya. “They agree with our low tax, balance budget policies and they do not want marijuana to be legal and accessible like cigarettes and alcohol.”

Harquail, the only native-born candidate, who also happens to be a cousin of late Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, had this to say: “The Prime Minister recognizes the outstanding contributions that Chinese Canadians have made.”

This content was developed exclusively for New Canadian Media and can be re-published with appropriate attribution. For syndication rights, please write to publisher@newcanadianmedia.ca

Published in Politics
Thursday, 17 September 2015 07:05

Youth Volunteers Support Chinatown Seniors

by Deanna Cheng in Vancouver

One outreach worker is creating a bilingual volunteer program because there's not enough support for Chinese seniors, especially those in Vancouver's Chinatown.

Chanel Ly, a 23-year-old outreach worker who is part of the Downtown Eastside SRO Collaborative, initiated the Youth for Chinese Seniors program because when she sees all these seniors – who are predominantly female – she thinks of her grandma. She cannot imagine not helping them out.

"I can't stand seeing seniors being neglected. It's disrespectful."

She points out that it's part of the Chinese cultural values to care for elders.

Ly will connect bilingual youth volunteers to seniors in the Strathcona area, the city's oldest neighbourhood.

Tasks for volunteers include translating legal documents, taking seniors to the doctor's office or the pharmacy, and informing seniors about their rights as tenants.

The biggest problem for Strathcona seniors is affordable housing.

One of the biggest challenges Ly faced while building this program from scratch was the amount of work required because there was no previous infrastructure, despite the demand for service that was culturally appropriate and in Chinese.

The program will run from this month to March next year, Ly says, because that's when grant funding ends.

"The goal is to improve the quality of life for Chinese seniors."

Addressing Chinese seniors’ challenges

The biggest problem for Strathcona seniors is affordable housing. With condo developments in the area, rents are going up and pushing out the original residents.

Vancouver activist Sid Chow Tan believes the Chinese benevolent and clan associations should contribute to Chinatown by providing their buildings and property for social housing. These associations, grouped either by provinces in China or last name "clans," were community centres.

Historically, most of the association buildings were community homes and bachelor suites for Chinese immigrants, a demographic regularly ignored by the government and institutions, Tan says. "It's sad to see space that used to house hundreds and hundreds of bachelors are now used for mahjong and ping-pong."

Another concern for seniors is health, says Ly. "Doctors are not always accessible. Drop-in clinics are not always available. Or opened only during certain hours."

Volunteers will help by accompanying seniors to the doctor's office and translate if needed.

"We want to fill in the gaps between the generations." - Chanel Ly, Downtown Eastside SRO Collaborative

Racism against Chinese seniors does happen at community centres, due to an unfounded belief that there's no such thing as poor Chinese people.

"There are poor Chinese," Tan said at a July event where bilingual volunteers and seniors met. "The Chinese poor doesn't want to be seen as poor. They just bear it."

Tan says they don't want to "lose face." In Chinese, the phrase means losing a combination of self-respect, honour and reputation.

Community survival

Despite the barriers they encounter, these seniors survive by banding together. "They're always self-sufficient and resourceful. They have their own networks," Ly says.

However, Mandarin-speaking seniors are even more marginalized, she says, because what little support there is, it's usually for Cantonese speakers.

Tan says the boomer generation couldn't leave Chinatown fast enough, but the "echo-boomers" came back. "They see something to save and protect. It's sacred ground to Chinese people.”

"It was where people organized to vote, worked to send money home," he says. "Now it's sullied by market forces, economic greed and political entitlement within the community."

Three in five Canadians say their families are not in a good position, financially or otherwise, to care for older family members requiring long-term health care.

Connecting generations

The program also promotes intergenerational interactions. Says Ly, "We want to fill in the gaps between the generations."

Ly started collecting volunteers before the summer and will have check-in meetings with youth once a month. At the moment, she has 15 dedicated volunteers lined up.

The online volunteer form is comprehensive, even asking for preferred pronouns. The program organizer says she wanted the volunteers to feel comfortable.

When asked if seniors – especially those with a traditional mindset – would be upset with transgender volunteers, Ly says the seniors might accept them.

She says they'll notice more that the volunteer is a young, Chinese-speaking person. They'll be grateful for the assistance, and would get to know them as human beings with good intentions.

Seniors’ health care: the numbers

A report titled "2015 National Report Card: Canadian Views on a National Seniors' Health Care Strategy" by Ipsos Reid Public Affairs for the Canadian Medical Association said seniors today represent 15 per cent of the population. In 1971, seniors only represented eight per cent of the population.

Three in five Canadians say their families are not in a good position, financially or otherwise, to care for older family members requiring long-term health care, the report said.

Respondents 55 years of age and older indicate they want more home care and community support to help seniors live at home longer as a key priority for the government.

Ninety per cent of Canadians surveyed believe we need a national strategy on seniors' health care that addresses the need for care provided at home and in hospitals, hospices and long-term care facilities, as well as end-of-life care.

This content was developed exclusively for New Canadian Media and can be re-published with appropriate attribution. For syndication rights, please write to publisher@newcanadianmedia.ca

Published in Health

by Jeremy J. Nuttall (@Tyee_Nuttall) in Ottawa, Ontario

The battle for votes in Vancouver's large Chinese community is being complicated by deep divisions over immigration issues here and across the Pacific in Hong Kong.

Chinese-language radio talk-show hosts say callers are more worked up than ever about the federal election.

And their support seems largely determined by where they came from in China and their attitude toward tougher immigration rules introduced by the federal government since the 2011 election.

Cantonese-speakers, mainly people from Hong Kong and southern parts of Mainland China, tend to be staunch Conservative supporters.

But for Mandarin-speakers, from northern China and Taiwan, new immigration rules have become the focus of opposition to Stephen Harper's party.

It's an important political battle. About 14.8 per cent of Greater Vancouver residents reported Chinese as a mother tongue in the 2011 census, with 5.8 per cent reporting Cantonese and four per cent Mandarin. Five per cent didn't specify a Chinese language.

On 'Public Forum,' supporters chatter

Johann Chang hosts Public Forum, a weekend Cantonese language show on the Richmond-based Fairchild radio. He said phone lines light up with support for Harper.

"The Conservatives have a strong support base in the Cantonese community. They've been working for that base for a long time," he said. "Conservative supporters call into our show and basically take up the phone lines."

Callers are concerned with New Democratic Party (NDP) and Liberal stances on marijuana legalization and chide the media for talking so much about the Mike Duffy trial, Chang said. They also complain the NDP satellite office issue hasn't been brought up as often as they would like.

"Part of the Cantonese community who are from Hong Kong feel like that city has been flooded with immigrants from Mainland China."

But the community is most divided over tougher immigration rules. The elimination of the skilled-worker program in 2012 and immigrant investor program in 2014 made it harder for Chinese residents to make a new home in Canada. The replacement programs set a tougher standard for would-be immigrants.

The Cantonese community, especially people from Hong Kong, welcomes the changes, Chang said.

"Part of the Cantonese community who are from Hong Kong feel like that city has been flooded with immigrants from Mainland China," Chang said. "So whatever policy makes it harder for Mainland Chinese, or even stops them, from coming to Canada, they can relate to."

Hong Kong's special status in China, created when the United Kingdom ceded control of the territory in 1997, provides freedoms not available in the rest of the country.

The influx of mainland immigrants and tourists to Hong Kong has increased as wealth in China grows, which has led to protests in Hong Kong.

On 'News Frontline,' foes grumble

But if you tune into Fairchild radio during drive time and catch Debbie Chen's show News Frontline, disgruntled Mandarin-speaking callers aren't happy with Harper.

Chen said immigration rules are the bullseye on a dartboard of policies that many Mandarin speakers oppose.

"[Mandarin callers] think Conservatives only benefit the rich people."

Generally, Mandarin speakers think the immigration changes are intended "to block out people from Mainland China," she said.

Most of Chen's Mandarin callers are not happy with Harper, she said, and don't care for policies like income splitting, which critics say favours wealthier Canadians.

"They think Conservatives only benefit the rich people," she said. "They think paying more taxes would be good to get more social benefits."

Chen said the anti-Harper callers appear to be split fairly evenly between support for the NDP and the Liberals, with the Liberals enjoying a slight edge.

Chen said many recent immigrants from China are more working class than the long-established Hong Kong community.

Divisions not unexpected: Houlden

Gordon Houlden of the University of Alberta's China Institute said the link between issues in China and Canada is not entirely unexpected, but still fascinating.

It's a reminder that the Chinese community isn't as monolithic as outsiders assume, he said.

"If you've been here longer and you're more settled, you may not welcome a wave of people who are similar in some ways, but different in others."

New immigration rules focus more on skill set and education than family reunification, he said, so it makes sense that Mandarin speakers would be upset about the changes. The changes reduce the opportunity for relatives to join family members already in Canada.

On the other hand, the Cantonese community may support tougher immigration rules because it tends to be older and more established.

"If you've been here longer and you're more settled, you may not welcome a wave of people who are similar in some ways, but different in others," he said.

Houlden said protests in Hong Kong last year over Beijing's refusal to allow open elections may have added to the divisions between the two groups.

Chen, who is originally from Taiwan, said that Mandarin-speaking Taiwanese immigrants who call in generally also voice opposition to Harper.

"We have the free election right in Taiwan, so we don't like the government staying too long," Chen said. "The Conservatives kept power over 10 years, so some Taiwanese people think it's time to change."


Re-published with permission from The Tyee.

Published in Politics
Thursday, 27 August 2015 04:40

Richmond Residents Divided on Immigration

by Deanna Cheng (@writerly_dee) in Richmond, British Columbia

If Joseph Martinez was given the option, he would “export half of the population of Richmond back to China.”

Owner of Little Paws Animal Clinic and resident of the newly created federal riding of Steveston - Richmond East in British Colombia, Martinez is upset by the “arrogance” of immigrants.

His is part of a growing undercurrent of anti-immigrant sentiment in the riding.

Along with contiguous riding of Richmond Centre from which it was partly carved out, this area near Vancouver has a high concentration of visible minorities.

The debate around immigration has long-since been a hot button issue in the area.

According to the recently published Multiculturalism in Canada: Evidence and Anecdote book by former director-general of Citizenship and Multiculturalism, Andrew Griffith, 43 per cent of Steveston - Richmond East identifies itself as ethnic Chinese and 11 per cent as South Asian, while in Richmond Centre the split is 51 per cent Chinese, five per cent South Asian.

Martinez says for him it isn’t about race per se as he would prefer to have Taiwanese immigrants around because “they’re more respectful.”

In fact, he wants “nice Chinese” people who he defines as anyone who isn’t from Hong Kong and makes an attempt to learn English and “greet other races instead of ignoring them.” He also wants newcomers to respect the rules of the road and not drive recklessly as they do in Asia.

A community divided

The debate around immigration has long-since been a hot button issue in the area, and a letter to the editor in last week’s Richmond News brought it to the fore at the start of the election campaign.

In her letter, reader Emilie Henderson expressed her frustrations on reading letters from other residents about their dislike of new immigrants and the change that comes with them.

I read these letters and feel anger at the pure ignorance and lack of perspective of these ‘locals’, descendants of immigrants who likely faced similar hurdles in their adaptation to this country.

“Week after week, I read these letters and feel anger at the pure ignorance and lack of perspective of these ‘locals’, descendants of immigrants who likely faced similar hurdles in their adaptation to this country populated by immigrants,” she wrote.

Henderson goes on in her letter to say Richmond is a wonderful place to live because of its diversity, not in spite of it.

Steveston resident Lori Crump says she is inclined to partially agree with Henderson as immigration has its good outcomes too.

Out on an evening bicycle ride by the water, Crump says her relative’s property value going up is one such positive. “You also learn more about other cultures. There were some Russians who came in. Mandarin. It’s all over the map.”

However, she says more regulation on immigration is needed – something electoral candidates Kenny Chiu (Conservative), Joe Peschisolido (Liberal), Scott Stewart (New Democratic Party) and Laura-Leah Shaw (Green Party) should debate on in the coming weeks.

The decision to stop businesswoman Wendy Yuan from seeking nomination seems to have upset many ethnic Chinese supporters of the [Liberal] party.

But the Liberal nomination in the riding itself had its own share of controversy. The decision to stop businesswoman Wendy Yuan from seeking nomination seems to have upset many ethnic Chinese supporters of the party.

The acclamation of Peschisolido, a former Richmond MP who was elected in 2000 under the Canadian Alliance banner, is seen as an attempt by the Liberals to field someone with sufficient right-wing credentials to breach a Conservative stronghold.

Alice Wong, the Conservative incumbent in neighbouring Richmond Centre, won her seat in 2011 with over 58 per cent of the votes. This time around she will be competing for votes from her own ethnic group as the Liberals have fielded Lawrence Woo and the Greens Vincent Chui. Jack Trovado is running for the NDP.

More accepting than Vancouver 

But whether attitudes around immigration will shape the election outcome in both the Richmond ridings remains a moot issue.

When New Canadian Media hit the streets for a straw poll, it found most people were welcoming and open to immigrants.

Simon Fraser University (SFU) student Fran Li, who grew up in Steveston before moving into a suburban neighbourhood of Richmond, said the city had a “pretty good attitude” towards immigrants.

“It was important to have a bigger perspective of the world.”

Based on her experience of travelling between Vancouver and Richmond to attend SFU’s downtown Vancouver campus, the 19 year old feels more accepted in Richmond. She shared an example of a panhandler in Vancouver telling her to go back to Asia when she ignored him.

Li says her high school had more multicultural events due to international transfer students. It even had a multicultural club, which she enjoyed.

Those school events helped her learn more about the world as opposed to just what’s happening locally. “It was important to have a bigger perspective of the world.”


 

Published in partnership with Asian Pacific Post

Published in Top Stories

by Shan Qiao (@dmaomao) in Toronto

An editor's open letter following her firing by a Chinese-language newspaper over the Michael Chan affair has re-opened the conversation among "ethnic" journalists about professional standards and the future of the industry.

In her open letter to the Chinese media, Helen Wang, the former editor-in-chief of the Chinese Canadian Post (pictured left), claims she was fired because she published an article written by columnist Jonathan Fon criticizing Michael Chan.

“Not to mention the legitimacy of Jonathan Fon’s column, the fact [Wang] was fired without any reasoning indicates further evaluation is needed on Chinese media employees’ tough work environment,” Wang writes at the start of the open letter.

The letter continues by arguing that media, as a “social conscience,” should be separated from any government influence and reveal truth. However, the hardship of making a living working in the Chinese media is hard to ignore – some newspaper’s publishers sacrifice their journalistic standards in return for more advertising revenue.

"What I don’t like the most is that my story was always compromised by heavy workload. I tried to be unbiased but at the end of the day, we don’t have enough resources or manpower to do a balanced story." - Min Li, former journalist

Wang concludes by expressing her lifelong passion in working as a journalist, and promised to return to Chinese media in the future. Jonathan Fon, on the other hand, assured he would keep freelancing and speak out without being influenced.

Journalists struggle under pressures

Min Li, who used to work at a daily Chinese newspaper based in Scarborough, didn’t hesitate to speak about her frustration working as a reporter for seven years.

“What I don’t like the most is that my story was always compromised by heavy workload. I tried to be unbiased but at the end of the day, we don’t have enough resources or manpower to do a balanced story. It’s not about quality that we are working on. It’s the quantity the editor targets.”

Li adds: “The workload is fixed with two stories a day, at least 800 Chinese characters per story. Nobody cares how thorough or how balanced your story is as long as you submit two stories at the end of the day.”

Several months ago, Li quit the job and became a freelance interpreter. Without a stable bi-weekly paycheque or any medical benefits, she is determined to go in a new direction and build up a professional career she firmly believes in.

What cost Wang her job at the Chinese Canadian Post was an article Jonathan Fon wrote right after the Globe and Mail published a two-day investigative feature on Ontario cabinet minister Michael Chan’s ties with the Chinese government and the fact he was investigated by CSIS, Canada’s spy agency.

Li is lucky to be young and single. Jianxin Huang, on the other hand, is a father to two teenage children. He worked as an editor at a newspaper that no longer runs in the community, losing his job after three years.

Huang graduated from university in China with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Between his work experience in China and here after immigrating to Canada, he had been in the newsroom for two decades.

Huang had to enlist the help of Second Career, a program funded by the Ontario government that provides laid-off workers with skills training and helps them find jobs in high-demand occupations.

“I now work as a construction worker, going everywhere in the GTA. It’s very different than the job I had been doing for decades in newsroom, but I’m happy with what I got,” Huang says. Although his workload is quite literally heavier, he admits he earns a higher wage and gets more comprehensive medical and dental benefits, as well as work injury insurance.

What cost Wang her job at the Chinese Canadian Post was an article Jonathan Fon wrote right after the Globe and Mail published a two-day investigative feature on Ontario cabinet minister Michael Chan’s ties with the Chinese government and the fact he was investigated by CSIS, Canada’s spy agency.

Fon argued in his column (pictured right) that Chan doesn’t represent the Chinese community, only his constituents. CSIS’s investigation on Chan is about his own integrity and has nothing to do with the Chinese community.

Chan’s office has denied any involvement in Wang’s job termination.

Chan files lawsuit

In the meantime, Chan has already filed a libel suit with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice against the Globe and Mail for its two features that suggested his ties to the Chinese government. In the statement of claim, he seeks $4.55 million in general and punitive damages.

“This has been a difficult time for me and my family … Since these stories were published, I have given a great deal of thought to the impact the unfounded allegations against me will have in the immigrant communities of Canada,” the claim says.

In the claim, Chan also indicated that his personal goal “in this litigation is to clear my name and restore my reputation.” He will donate any amount awarded to him by the court to PEN Canada, a writers’ association for freedom of expression, and the Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation.

During an interview with Sing Tao Daily, one of the largest Chinese daily newspapers in North America, Chan indicated that he has met with Ontario’s Integrity Commissioner, asking about who pays for his libel-suit fees given the triple identities he has as an MPP, a cabinet minister and a citizen. He said it would take the Integrity Commissioner one month to give a proper guideline.

This content was developed exclusively for New Canadian Media and can be re-published with appropriate attribution. For syndication rights, please write to publisher@newcanadianmedia.ca

Published in Arts & Culture

By John Baimba Sesay.
Sierra Leone's top diplomat to the People's Republic of China has informed senior Chinese government officials that prior to the Ebola outbreak in the small West African State, Sierra Leone was enjoying a thriving economic growth under the leadership of President Koroma.
Her Excellency Madam Alice Kumba Momoh (first from right in photo), Charge D' Affaires at the Sierra Leone Embassy in Beijing spoke on Friday 14th August during a meeting with Cao (...)

- World News

The Patriotic Vangaurd

Read Full Article

Published in China

Numbers released by MacDonald Realty suggest in 2014, 70 per cent of homes costing $3 million or more were bought by people from Mainland China, reported CKNW.
Managing director Dan Scarrow says the participation rate from foreign [...]

-- Delivered by Feed43 service

The Link

Read Full Article

Published in Economy

More than 103,000 people in China and around the world have filed criminal complaints against former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin for his lead role in...

-- Delivered by Feed43 service

Epoch Times

Read Full Article

Published in China

Poll Question

Do you agree with the new immigration levels for 2017?

Yes - 30.8%
No - 46.2%
Don't know - 23.1%
The voting for this poll has ended on: %05 %b %2016 - %21:%Dec

Featured Quote

The honest truth is there is still reluctance around immigration policy... When we want to talk about immigration and we say we want to bring more immigrants in because it's good for the economy, we still get pushback.

-- Canada's economic development minister Navdeep Bains at a Public Policy Forum economic summit

Zo2 Framework Settings

Select one of sample color schemes

Google Font

Menu Font
Body Font
Heading Font

Body

Background Color
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Top Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Header Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Mainmenu Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Slider Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Scroller Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Mainframe Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Bottom Scroller Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Breadcrumb Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Bottom Menu Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image

Bottom Wrapper

Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image
Background Color
Modules Title
Text Color
Link Color
Background Image