Wilkinson asks Horgan to create hotline to report racist incidents

B.C. Liberal Andrew Wilkinson on Wednesday called on Premier John Horgan to create a hotline to report racist incidents.

Wilkinson and his Liberal Caucus also want Horgan to:

* Increase funding to multiculturalism and anti-racism programs;

* Develop more educational tools and resources for the K-12 education curriculum to combat racism and educate students about the contributions of Asian Canadians to British Columbia;

* Ensure local police forces have sufficient resources to respond quickly and fully investigate hate crimes and racist incidents; and

* Ensure that the Attorney General’s Crown Prosecution service treats racist incidents as a priority for charge determinations and prosecutions.

In a letter to the Premier, Wilkinson said: “I join British Columbians in being deeply troubled by the recent rise in hate crimes and racist incidents in our province. During this COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen disgusting acts of racism and hate targeting people of Asian descent in our province. Such heinous actions do not represent who we are in this province. The conversations we must now have are important ones, not just for our communities, but for all of British Columbia.

“We all must take a stand and speak out against these hateful and cowardly acts because all British Columbians have the right to live without fear of violence or discrimination. We need to continue along that path and move forward to protect the safety and well-being of all British Columbians.

“It is vital that we educate British Columbians in this time of crisis to recognize and respond to issues of racism and bigotry. The provincial government plays a significant role in both multiculturalism and education. We need to educate our children and society to develop tolerance and respect for all people, no matter their race, religion, or background.”

Wilkinson said that implementing the five steps the Liberal Caucus have suggested “will go a long way to securing a bright and tolerant future for all British Columbians and a future of acceptance where all people can feel safe no matter their race, religion, or background. Let’s lead by example and demonstrate our commitment to building a better British Columbia that is welcoming and accepting of everyone.”