“May is Asian Heritage Month, a time to celebrate the incredible contributions of Asian Canadians and recommit ourselves to building a more inclusive society. The story of Asian immigration to Canada is one of ambition and achievement. This year’s theme-Recognition, Resilience, and Resolve-reminds us of the generations of Asian Canadians who have helped build this country, and their success in the face of adversity and discrimination.
“The first Asian newcomers set foot on these shores in the late 1700s. In the centuries since, generations of immigrants from Asia have made Canada the nation it is today. Today, nearly 20% of Canadians are of Asian descent, and Asian communities are among the fastest growing in Canada. As Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, I was honoured to lead 35 new Canadians in the Oath of Citizenship at a recent citizenship ceremony marking Asian Heritage Month.
“From the arts to sports to politics, Asian Canadians have added many glorious stitches to the fabric of our nation. Yet in spite of this success, the story of Asian immigration has also been marred by racism and discrimination. It includes shameful episodes like the ‘head tax’ and even an outright ban on Chinese immigration. We’ve come a long way since then, building an open and equitable immigration system that welcomes thousands of newcomers from Asia every year.
“The fight against anti-Asian racism is particularly important at this unique moment. During the pandemic, we have seen a distressing rise in anti-Asian hate crimes, from heinous acts of violence to the everyday racism faced by Asian Canadians on the streets of our cities. More than ever, we must stand with Asian Canadians against all forms of racism, discrimination and hate.