VICTORIA – Premier John Horgan and Rachna Singh, Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives, have issued the following statement marking the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination:
“On the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, we call on everyone in B.C. to stand together against racism and work toward a more equitable and inclusive province.
“The last two years have been incredibly challenging. While the pandemic has brought out the best in most people, we have also seen it bring out the worst in some. Unfortunately, we have seen a staggering increase in hatred and racist actions targeting and scapegoating Indigenous Peoples and racialized communities since COVID-19 began.
“At the same time, we are seeing a rise in white supremacy and brazen displays of hateful speech, symbols and acts that many hoped we had left behind us. Now more than ever, we must come together as a society to stand against this rising hate and say, ‘No more’.
“In the coming months we will be introducing new anti-racism data legislation to help to eliminate systemic racism by supporting secure race-based data collection. This data will be critical in helping us identify and address the gaps and inequalities that exist in how government delivers programs and services.
“This will help pave the way to a more equitable, inclusive province, delivering better outcomes for those who rely on these programs and services, such as health care, education and policing.
“It is essential that those who are most affected by systemic racism are at the centre of this work. That’s why we have developed the legislation in consultation with Indigenous Peoples and engaged extensively with racialized communities throughout the province. These communities will be included at every step to make sure that data is collected, stored and used in a way that better supports their needs.
“This significant new legislation builds upon the other steps we have taken over the past few years to address racism. These include re-establishing the BC Human Rights Commission, launching Resilience BC, our provincial anti-racism network, and reviewing and revising B.C.’s K-12 curriculum to reflect other histories and ways of learning. As part of this, the Ministry of Education recently announced that secondary students will soon need to complete Indigenous-focused coursework before they graduate.
“As a government, we will continue our work to create a province where everyone is treated with kindness, dignity and respect, regardless of their race or the colour of their skin. But we know that we can’t do it alone.
“We are stronger when we work together. On this day, we encourage everyone in this province to join us in the ongoing fight for equality and justice in B.C.”