“May 1 marked the start of Asian Heritage Month here in Canada. This year, our government’s theme for Asian Heritage Month is Recognition, Resilience, and Resolve.
“This is a time of year to highlight the diversity of cultures and people from communities of Asian descent across Canada, to learn about the long and rich history of Asian-Canadians, who helped build this country, and to recognize the extraordinary contributions Asian-Canadians have made and continue to make to Canada.
“From helping build our country for more than a century to employing thousands of Canadians in their small businesses today, and supporting our families and communities as professionals, teachers, caregivers, and essential workers, Asian-Canadians have contributed so much from coast to coast to coast.
“As minister of small business, export promotion and international trade, I am proud to be a part of a government that recognizes diversity is Canada’s strength. It is what makes our country’s foundation stronger and our future brighter.
“While there is much to celebrate in the history of Canada’s Asian communities, we must also recognize that this history has been painful at times and Asian-Canadians continue to be targeted by racism and discrimination.
“Throughout the pandemic, we have seen a disturbing rise in discriminatory and deplorable racist behaviour against people of Asian descent. Racism continues to exist in our country, and Asian-Canadians will not be able to fight it alone.
“This is why in Budget 2021, the government is investing $11 million in funding to broaden the impact of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation and help racialized communities directly affected by the increase in racism during the COVID-19 pandemic, including by establishing a national coalition to support Asian-Canadians.
“This Asian Heritage Month, I urge all Canadians to stand together with Canadians of Asian descent, to speak out against discrimination in every corner of our country, and to take action against all forms of racism, xenophobia, and hate.”