Premier David Eby has issued the following statement marking Canadian Multiculturalism Day:
“On Canadian Multiculturalism Day, we celebrate the many cultural communities that make our province strong and vibrant. We also renew our commitment to equity, inclusion and anti-racism.
“First Nations have lived on, cared for and maintained relationships with these lands and waters since time immemorial.
“People from around the world have also been coming to British Columbia to build better lives and seek new opportunities for more than a century and a half. Additionally, our province has long been a place where people have sought safety and security. Most recently, we have welcomed and supported more than 15,000 people fleeing war in Ukraine.
“Today, B.C. is home to more than 200 First Nations communities, Métis and Indigenous people from other parts of Canada as well as people from more than 200 countries. We all benefit from this growing diversity – from exchanging cross-cultural ideas in government, business and civil society to enjoying multicultural festivals and food.
“Our government is committed to fostering multiculturalism. We are proud to support planning and public engagement for a new provincial cultural centre celebrating the Filipino community, the Chinese Canadian museum opening soon in Vancouver Chinatown and many diverse cultural fairs, festivals and events that bring people together. Just this past weekend, I celebrated Greek Day on Broadway in Vancouver, which served as a timely reminder of the vibrancy that multiculturalism brings to British Columbia.
“As we celebrate this day, we acknowledge that many people in our province continue to experience racism, discrimination and hate crimes. We also recognize that, in addition to these harms, Indigenous Peoples also continue to experience the ongoing effects of colonization.
“Our government is committed to fighting racism, creating true and lasting reconciliation in partnership with Indigenous Peoples and building a province where everyone feels safe and welcome.
“British Columbia was the first jurisdiction in Canada to release an action plan to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We also passed the Anti-Racism Data Act, which is the first of its kind to be developed in partnership with Indigenous Peoples and racialized communities. The act allows us to identify gaps and barriers caused by systemic racism in government services.
“Racist – and anti-racist – ideas and actions often start when children are young. That’s why this year we launched the K-12 Anti-Racism Action Plan, which gives students, staff and families the tools they need to drive change in their communities.
“On this Canadian Multiculturalism Day, let’s celebrate our rich diversity and reflect on what we can do to help build a better, anti-racist B.C. for everyone.”