渥太华 – 2019年5月14日星期二/今天，联邦参议员胡子修在参议院致辞庆祝亚裔文化遗产月，并向4月27日去世的华裔作家崔维新致敬。崔维新被誉为“加拿大最有讲故事天赋的人”，其著作《玉牡丹》等刻画了华裔身份认同，强调接纳包容，成为加国文坛的里程碑。今天亦是“排华法案”废除72周年纪念。这是加拿大历史上唯一禁止特定人种入境加拿大的法律。正是通过各族裔人民为维护自身权利而进行的不懈抗争，加拿大才成为最成功的多元文化社会之一。
Honourable Senators, it is with great pride that I rise today to mark Asian Heritage Month. As stated in the declaration 17 years ago, “Diversity represents one of Canada’s greatest strengths, and we strive to ensure that all Canadians have the opportunity to reach their full potential and participate in Canada’s civic life.”
One Chinese-Canadian – who did just that – was celebrated author, Wayson Choy, considered to be a pioneer of Asian literature here in Canada. His most lauded works The Jade Peony and Paper Shadows: A Chinatown Childhood explored the difficult issues of identity politics and the challenges of growing up in an immigrant community in Vancouver in the 1950s.
This courageous and enduring author, who recently passed away, had his remarkable accomplishments fittingly recognized in 2005 when he received the Order of Canada.
Choy’s resolve to lean into adversity was remarkable and serves as a prime example of how one can find success even when confronted with great struggle.
Today, we are fortunate to live in a country that welcomes and embraces diversity. However, this has not always been the case, for our history includes many sad examples of systematic discrimination against cultural minorities. For example, on this day, May 14th, we mark the 72nd anniversary of the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1923. This law not only imposed a head tax but restricted nearly all Chinese immigrants to Canada.
In the late 1940’s, Kew Dock Yip, Canada’s first lawyer of Chinese descent, along with a group of lawyers and activists, successfully lobbied for the repeal of the Act.
Some 60 years later, a formal apology was made by Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper whom I proudly quote: “We have the collective responsibility to build a country based firmly on the notion of equality of opportunity, regardless of one’s race or ethnic origin.”
The Japanese community also suffered injustices and in 1988, Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney acknowledged and apologized saying “the treatment of Japanese Canadians during and after World War II was unjust and violated principles of human rights as they are understood today.”
I believe we should continue to learn from our mistakes in order to pave an inclusive and respectful path for future generations and set an example for the world.
Colleagues, I encourage you to attend the Asian Heritage Month reception this evening co-hosted by my fellow colleagues. Together, we will celebrate our cultural diversity while recognizing the positive impact of the Asian community throughout Canada’s civic life.