Vision Vancouver shows off it's connections with Vancouver's cultural diversity: Sikh, Taiwanese, First Nations, Chinese pioneers, and even Scottish!
CUPE 391 Vancouver Library Workers attended the Vision Vancouver Floata Dinner on Thursday evening. (standing) Paul Faoro CUPE 15 President, Todd Wong CUPE 391, Kashmir Dhaliwal Vision Council candidate, Aaron Jasper Vision Parks Board candidate, Mark Whittam CUPE 391, (sitting) Alex Youngberg CUPE 391 President, and Inder Pannu CUPE 391 Vice-President – photo Todd Wong
As a Vancouver city library worker, I see so much of Vancouver's multicultural population. We have books in many different languages, and many patrons who borrow books in Chinese, French, Italian, Vietnamese, Spanish and Russian. We have many different ethnicities in our work force. It is important for Vancouver's City Council, Parks Board and School Board to reflect and understand the cultural and ethnic diversity that it represents.
It was an incredibly diverse display of Vancouver's cultural diversity attending Vision Vancouver's fundraising dinner at Floata Restaurant on Oct 23, Thursday. There were new immigrants. There were multi-generational Vancouverities. There were First Nations, Sikh, Taiwanese, and Chinese community tables. There were even COPE and Greens all attending. It was a wonderfully inclusive example of community.
For the first time, Vancouver may have a First Nations representative on School Board, and an Afro-Canadian on Parks Board – if Ken Clements and Constance Barnes are elected. City council could have three Chinese-Canadians and a Sikh-Canadian all at the same time, along with the requiste Scottish-Canadian – if Raymond Louie, George Chow, Kerry Jang, Kashmir Dhaliwal, Heather Deal and Gregor Robertson are elected. Oh – you didn't know that Deal and Robertson were Scottish? They both wore their family tartans to the 2008 Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner this year. Did you know that the first mayor of Vancouver, Malcolm Alexander Maclean was Scottish? Maclean was born in Tyree, Argyllshire
on Scotland’s west coast. Deal was born England and raised in Michigan, while Robertson was born in Vancouver.
Add to the mix Alvin Singh and Allan Wong for School Board, and Raj Hundal for Parks Board, and the Vision / COPE / Green slate has 8 members of visible minority ethnicity.
Okay, we can say that “race” shouldn't matter. But it does matter in many different ways. We are who we are because of our personal experiences. If we have experienced racism, or ethnic diversity – it can enhance our outlook in life. But we can't all be the same, or have the same experiences – this is why for any working group, it is important to have a range of skills, talents, and viewpoints. Ethnic or cultural experience can be one of these factors. And for a multi-cultural city like Vancouver which has multi-generations of intercultural activitiy, cultural diversity can be a very important factor.
It was a great honour to meet Miles Richardson – former President of the Haida Nation who received the Order of Canada earlier this year. Pat Kelly was sitting with him, and I introduced my friend Constance Barnes to them. Constance's father is for BC MLA Emery Barnes, another one of BC's great figures as both politician and BC Lions football player.
Green Party Parks Board candidate Stuart Mackinnon greets the COPE table with Councilor candidate Ellen Woodsworth, School Board candidates Allan Wong and Al Blakely and guest – photo Todd Wong