VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Friday’s op-ed in the Vancouver Sun emboldens and encourages racism, according to B.C.’s Parliamentary Secretary for Multiculturalism.
MLA Ravi Kahlon has heard countless tales of racism while travelling the province this summer.
“We have stats showing that hate crimes continue to rise but people in communities don’t need stats to tell them that there’s something happening. They can feel that there’s something happening, that there’s a shift amongst their neighbours and the conversations they’re hearing,” he says.
International students tell Kahlon that being told to “go back to their country” is a weekly, if not daily occurrence.
“When you have a really respected newspaper put something up like that it validates all the racism and hate that’s being spewed out there in our society,” Kahlon says.
I read this oped that was posted last night. I was so angry that I promised myself I wouldn’t say anything till I slept on it. I can’t sleep!!! Given what I heard from communities this summer on anti-racism tour I am sickened that this hate is validated by the Vancouver Sun. pic.twitter.com/2U9CEbMiYF
— Ravi kahlon (@KahlonRav) September 7, 2019
The column “Can social trust and diversity co-exist?” was published on the websites of the Vancouver Sun and The Province Friday evening, quickly sparking a firestorm of criticism. The backlash prompted an apology from Harold Munro, the Editor-in-Chief for the Vancouver Sun and The Province. The op-ed was taken offline but ran in Saturday’s print edition.
Kahlon says the blatantly anti-immigrant, racist rhetoric in the piece was shameful.
“Having a healthy and strong society takes work. It doesn’t just happen. So when we see these things we need to continue to call them out. We do need to have a conversation about how stories are covered and how important it is to have people with diverse backgrounds in the news business,” he says, adding having diverse people in management and decision-making roles is crucial.
Kahlon noted the bitter irony of the fact the anti-immigrant column was published on the same day Canadians are celebrating the historic victory of tennis player Bianca Andreescu, a daughter of immigrants.
-With files from Monika Gul