RICHMOND North Centre BC United MLA Teresa Wat, Critic for Multiculturalism, Anti-Racism Initiatives, Arts and Culture, said on Wednesday: “Anti-Racism Awareness Week provides an opportunity for all of us to reflect on our internal biases and prejudices, educate ourselves and actively work towards positive change in our communities. This extends to our community and political leaders as well, as they serve as important role models and must demonstrate solidarity with racialized individuals.”
Wat noted that Premier David Eby has never formally apologized for his role in co-authoring a disgraced 2015 study on housing, which implied that individuals with non-Anglicized names were driving up housing costs. This deeply flawed study promoted racist tropes and likely contributed to a rise in anti-Asian hate in British Columbia with Vancouver now named the anti-Asian hate crime capital of North America, she added.
“The irony of Premier David Eby’s lack of apology during Anti-Racism Awareness Week cannot be ignored,” said Wat. “While this week is dedicated to learning about B.C.’s diverse culture, history, and fighting discrimination, racism, and hate, his refusal to fully acknowledge the negative implications of his study sends a troubling message to racialized communities and undermines the fight against discrimination.”
BC United said that despite the urgency to address racism, Eby has refused to apologize for his role in the study, evading the issue even in the face of direct questioning earlier this month during the budget estimates debate. Meanwhile, the NDP’s lack of progress in implementing the anti-racism hotline they promised has left communities without the necessary resources to combat racism, it added.
“This week serves as a reminder that actions speak louder than words, and it is imperative for the government to match their rhetoric with tangible steps,” said Wat. “Whether it’s a study that targets racialized people, or a promised anti-racism hotline that never sees the light of day — every broken commitment fails racialized people in British Columbia.”