Premier John Horgan has issued the following statement marking Canadian Multiculturalism Day:
“Today, we celebrate Canadian Multiculturalism Day and reflect on our work together to make B.C. and Canada a safe and welcoming place for everyone.
“Indigenous peoples have called this land home since time immemorial. Over the past 150 years, people from around the world have had a hand in building our province. It is not enough to only acknowledge people’s unique heritage, history and stories as a celebration of our diversity. We must also keep working toward being a province where everyone has the opportunity to feel a sense of home and belonging.
“As we celebrate this day, we acknowledge the unceded territories of Indigenous peoples and recommit to reconciliation in partnership with Indigenous people and communities.
“While the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to stay apart, we experienced the strength that comes with looking out for one another through this exceptionally difficult time. Now, with hate and racism on the rise here at home, we must continue to stand together. Not only is it the right thing to do – especially for those of us with privilege – it is our responsibility.
“We are all responsible for creating a place where everyone – regardless of religion, ethnicity, sexuality or race – is free to be who they are. For too many British Columbians, that is not their lived reality. Not only is this unacceptable, the consequences of allowing any form of racism to take root can be profoundly tragic, as we have seen in recent weeks.
“In British Columbia, work is underway to introduce our province’s first anti-racism act and legislation on race-based data collection. This is essential to modernizing sectors like policing, health care and education. The new anti-racism network, Resilience BC, is effecting change on the ground and in partnership with communities.
“On Canadian Multiculturalism Day, we recognize that British Columbia is stronger and more successful through the contributions of everyone who calls our province home.”