Premier John Horgan has issued the following statement marking Canadian Multiculturalism Day:
“Today, we celebrate Canadian Multiculturalism Day, an opportunity to reflect on our shared work to create a British Columbia that is a welcoming place for everyone.
“Indigenous Peoples have called this land home since time immemorial. For more than a century and a half, people from around the world have come to British Columbia to build better lives for themselves and their communities. As we celebrate this day, we acknowledge the territories of Indigenous people, and we again reconfirm our commitment to reconciliation in partnership with Indigenous people and communities.
“Multiculturalism is a hallmark of Canadian identity. We celebrate it as a central part of our national character. Our country and our province are stronger because of our diversity.
“At the same time, we must acknowledge the deep inequalities Canadians face, especially those from racialized communities. Discrimination in housing, education, public services and job opportunities are a lived reality for too many. Systemic racism and the long-lasting effects of colonialism have unfairly held people back. These injustices are compounded when Indigenous people and racialized communities ask for action, only to be told by government to provide evidence using data that is not being collected.
“As a step to dismantle systemic racism and discrimination, our government introduced the Anti-Racism Data Act. It is an important tool to build a more equitable province by shining a light on barriers that exist. By doing so, we will improve services and make life better for everyone.
“It is time to move beyond simply embracing multiculturalism to becoming actively anti-racist. By doing so, we will create a safer, more equitable society for us all.
“We are all responsible for building a place where everyone – regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality or gender identity – is free to be who they are.
“On Canadian Multiculturalism Day, let us celebrate what we have accomplished and pledge anew to build a better world for us all.”