TERESA Wat, MLA for Richmond-North Centre and Opposition Critic for Multiculturalism, said on Friday that she had hoped that Thursday’s announcement would finally deliver the Chinese Canadian Museum that British Columbians have been patiently waiting on for years, however, the announcement instead proved to be little more than fanfare for a community that is growing more and more impatient.
“Our Chinese Canadian communities have been advocating for this museum since 2017, but this government has shown repeatedly that a heritage site to honour our province’s culture and heritage is not a priority for them,” said Wat. “Only weeks ago, Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture Lisa Beare said there was no money allocated in the budget for the museum. In February, the NDP also repealed the Chinese-Canadian heritage properties regulation, which registers Chinese heritage properties throughout B.C., including those located in Vancouver’s Chinatown.”
The B.C. Liberals said that following increased pressure from their Caucus and members of B.C.’s Chinese community, the government announced on Thursday a commitment of $2 million for development and planning and $8 million for ongoing efforts. The announcement did not provide any timeline or location for the actual museum but instead, only revealed the location of a temporary exhibit that will be on display this August.
“I am pleased that this government has renewed its commitment to this museum but yesterday’s announcement has done little to bring us any closer to ever actually seeing one in place,” added Wat. “With the rise in vandalism and hate crimes against Chinese Canadians, a temporary museum is a temporary solution against the growing sentiment of racism in our province. We need a real plan and timeframe for a permanent museum to show the world that British Columbia will always protect and embrace our Chinese and multicultural heritage.”