Archive for the 'Racially Visible' Category

via email to: Self-ID’d PSAC members in BC, Youth Caucus, Human Rights Committee

B.C. Regional Triennial Convention – May 13-15, 2011 – Public Services Not Private Profits

The 5th B.C. Regional Triennial Convention of the Public Service Alliance of Canada will be held at the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver, 791 West Georgia Street, Vancouver, from Friday, May 13th to Sunday, May 15th, 2011. For more information, visit the regional website –

As per the BC Regional Council by-laws, one delegate to Convention will be elected from each of the following equity groups:

  • racially visible
  • aboriginal
  • lesbian, gay, transgendered, bisexual
  • members with a disability

And three delegates will be elected from amongst youth members, under the age of 30. For more information, see the BC Regional Council by-laws.

Download the nomination form for these delegate positions here. Note the nominations deadline is January 17 2010. Please completed fax nomination forms to (604) 430 0194, or return via email to Mail-out ballots will be sent out once the nominations have been closed.

The application deadline is approaching –  for more information and online application, visit the national website.

The 2011 Conference for Racially Visible Members will take place April 1-3, 2011 at the Westin Bayshore in Vancouver under the theme “United, Empowered, Fearless: Ready for Action!”. The objectives of the 2011 PSAC National Conference for Racially Visible Members are to:

  • educate, politicize and mobilize racialized members by making links between themselves, the union, the workplace, the community and equality rights;
  • empower and engage racialized members to take action and move the human rights agenda forward;
  • provide tools and leadership skills to advocate for racialized workers’ rights

source: The Globe and Mail

Some Chinese-Canadians who saw Campus Giveaway never forgot their reaction

The television segment lasted about 11 minutes, an exposé of the takeover of Canadian classrooms by foreign students.

A section of a university lecture hall filled with non-white faces was shown.

The documentary, which aired on television 30 years ago this month, had unintended consequences.

It awoke what had been, until then, a silent community.

A history of the Chinese in Canada includes such benchmarks as building the railroad; defending against rioters in 1907; paying the head tax; enduring the Exclusion Act; bravely contributing to the war effort; gaining the franchise in 1947; and, oddly enough, protesting against a single episode of a current-events television program.

Some who watched back then have never forgotten their initial reaction.

Victor Wong was studying science at the University of British Columbia when Campus Giveaway aired on the popular program W5 (today known as W-Five ).

“It touched many of us,” he said Tuesday. “The message was: Because of your skin colour, or your ethnic heritage, you don’t belong here. You’re just taking up someone’s space.”

Sid Tan was also studying at UBC in 1979.

“They were calling a bunch of Canadians foreigners. It was quite disgusting and quite off the mark,” he said. “I remember it as a galvanizing experience.”

Anthony Chan, a communications professor born in Victoria, recalls the shock.

“We’re going, ‘Huh?! They’re saying we’re foreigners. They can’t be serious.’ ”

The report alleged that Canadian students were being prevented from studying medicine and engineering because foreign students were occupying their rightful place in university classrooms. Much of the segment focused on the plight of a student from Ontario who was thwarted in her aspiration to study pharmacy at the University of Toronto.

Joseph Wong missed the episode when it originally aired on Sept. 30, 1979. He was completing a residency at a hospital when he watched Campus Giveaway on a videotape a few weeks later.

“My reaction was so vigorous I’ll never forget it,” he said. “How could this happen in Canada? We’re living in a country without discrimination, I thought.”

He had already booked tickets for a flight to Calgary to visit his mother-in-law. He brought with him the videotape, which he showed at a meeting on New Year’s Eve, 1979, in Calgary, and on New Year’s Day, 1980, in Edmonton. He then flew to Vancouver for a showing four days later.

The tape made the rounds to small audiences in Regina, Ottawa, and Montreal, as well as in smaller Ontario cities such as Waterloo and Sarnia.

A community known for “not wanting to ruffle any feathers,” in Dr. Wong’s words, formed Ad Hoc Committees of the Council of Chinese Canadians Against W5 in 16 cities, from Victoria to Halifax.

In late January, four simultaneous protest marches were held. About 2,000 marched on CTV’s offices. “Red, brown, black, yellow and white,” they chanted, “all Canadians must unite.”

The protesters were told Canadian universities had only 85 foreign medical students, 66 of them from the United States.

As well, university officials disputed W5 ‘s numbers, stating the number of foreign and visa students had been multiplied by a factor of five.

Even 30 years later, Dr. Wong is baffled by the airing of footage in which any Asian face was presumed to be non-Canadian.

“All the yellow-coloured students they showed were [naturalized] Canadians, landed immigrants or permanent residents, or local-born Chinese Canadians,” he said.

The committee had identified all of the unnamed students shown in the report. Not one was a foreign student.

W5 aired an on-air apology that tiptoed around the committee’s complaints.

It was rejected by the committee. Finally, in April, CTV issued a statement Globe columnist Dick Beddoes described as “a retraction, an apology, a confession of error, a disorderly retreat.”

Murray Chercover, the network’s president and managing director, wrote: “Right after the program was broadcast our critics – particularly Chinese-Canadians and the universities – criticized the program as racist: they were right, although it was never our intention to produce a racist program.

“There is no doubt that the distorted statistics combined with visual presentation, made the program appear racist in tone and effect.”

With the apology came the offer to fill an 11-minute segment on an upcoming W5 episode.

It aired in December. A survey of 25 job placement agencies found 17 casually agreeing to send only Caucasian employees, while only three flatly refused a request violating provincial and federal laws. The segment was titled, White and Bright .

“It was a beautiful victory,” Dr. Wong said.

Mr. Chan, who is now a professor at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology at Oshawa, traces his own family roots in Canada to the arrival of his grandfather in 1881. His mother was born in Vancouver, his father, like himself, in Victoria. He devoted a chapter of his book Gold Mountain (New Star, 1983) to the W5 scandal.

In retrospect, he sees 1979 as a pivotal year for the Chinese-Canadian community. Many had been working on the resettlement of the Vietnamese boat people, most of them ethnic Chinese, at the time Campus Giveaway was aired.

“It was time,” he said. “Things just coalesced. Thank you very much, W5 .”

The politics have reverberated in the 30 years since, as Chinese-Canadians won election to Vancouver city council, to the mayoralty of Victoria, to the Legislature and to Parliament. Some active in the W5 protests have gone on to become filmmakers, provincial-court judges, and activists in the campaign for redress of the hated head tax.

At the time of the protests, Dr. Wong, a landed immigrant, was identified in a newspaper story as someone who had “yet to become a Canadian.” He immediately filled out the requisite paperwork. He looks forward next year to celebrating 30 years as a proud citizen of what he calls “the fairest society on Earth.”

Racism in Canada

“Darker the Skin, Less you Fit.” To see complete article, click here.

Originally broadcast on October 12, 2008 as part of Saltwater City Television on Shaw cable community channel 4 in Metro Vancouver.

Thirteen members of Chinese head tax families tell their story of why they continue to seek an inclusive just and honourable redress. Subtitled in English and Chinese where necessary.

Many thanks to the volunteers at Head Tax Families Society of Canada and particularly to Daniel/Cynthia Lee, Eric Chan, Foon Chang and Fanny Chan.

Also thanks to Saltwater City Television Collective, Nugget Peak Railway Collective, ACCESS Association of Chinese Canadians For Equality and Solidarity Society, Chinese Canadian National Council and especially the seniors for speaking out.

via Canadian Arab Federation

The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney has just announced the cutting of funding to the Settlement Service of the Canadian Arab Federation alleging CAF promotes terror. According to a release by CAF “This arbitrary decision made by the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, under the Harper leadership is an attempt to silence any dissenting voice and is being used as disciplinary action for CAFs political stand which is contrary to their own. Furthermore, this is a warning to other non-profit, anti-racist organizations not to criticize members of the Canadian government or they may face a similar fate.”

In addition, the Minister is responsible for denying entry to Canada George Galloway, a well known MP from the UK. Galloway has been deemed “inadmissible on national security grounds” and been denied entry into Canada where he was scheduled to speak at a series of public forums.

The banning of George Galloway from Canada is unfounded and unjustified – it is wrong to block speakers from Canada for political convenience. Banning George Galloway from entering Canada demonstrates that the Conservative Canadian government does not respect our rights as citizens to dissent or have dissenting views, peacefully organize and advocate around a particular viewpoint or political position. George Galloway should be allowed into Canada, and allowed to freely express himself during his visit.


1) CAF urges you to call, fax and e-mail Minister Kenney in addition to e-mailing your local MP to express utrage of this unprecedented decision to cut funding to the Canadian Arab Federation.

2) Contact Minister Kenney and your local MP to condemn the decision to deny Galloway entry and for censuring free speech of those with a dissenting opinion and political ideology.

Contact Jason Kenney:

Constituency Office:
1168 137 Ave SE
Calgary, AB
T2J 6T6
P. 403-225-3480
F. 403-225-3504

Ottawa Office:
325 East Block
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
P. 613-992-2235
F. 613-992-1920


Every year, the PSAC marks March 21, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, as an important day. With an upsurge of labour migration, the growing racially visible population, the further marginalization of Aboriginal peoples and the continuing fear of terrorism in Canada, the PSAC again calls for national and international solidarity among the labour movement and social justice groups against racial discrimination.


Asian Canadian Labour Alliance Meeting & Potluck Dinner
Monday, April 6, 6 pm
BCGEU Headquarters Auditorium
4911 Canada Way, Burnaby
(half block west of Norland, entrance at Iris Crescent)

Join other Asian Canadian union members at a meeting of the Asian Canadian Labour Alliance to discuss plans for Asian Heritage Month. Bring your favourite dish to share for dinner, if you can. Also, hear about the Canadian Labour International Film Festival (CLiFF) and other upcoming activities.

The Asian Canadian Labour Alliance provides a forum for Asian Canadian union members to connect, encourages the increased participation of Asian Canadian union members in the labour movement, and works to strengthen the relationship between labour and our Asian Canadian communities.

For more information about the Asian Canadian Labour Alliance, or for more detailed directions to the meeting, please contact: Lorene Oikawa at 604-291-9611 or

Download the poster: Asian Canadian Labour Alliance Meeting & Potluck Dinner (pdf)

February 18 to May 10, 2009, Teck Gallery, SFU Vancouver Campus (515 W. Hastings)

As part of BC’s Black History Month celebrations, please join us for the opening reception and curator’s talk with the Ruth Wynn Woodward Chair in Women’s Studies, Dr. Afua Cooper, 6PM Wednesday, February 25, in room 1400 at SFU Vancouver (515 West Hastings) followed by refreshments and a tour of the exhibition.

Following the model of the Vancouver Parks Board’s Remarkable Vancouver Women poster project in 2008, this poster exhibit is curated by Dr. Afua Cooper, the Ruth Wynn Woodward Chair, Women’s Studies, SFU, who has partnered with the SFU Gallery to create this exhibition.

The exhibition explores an often-ignored aspect of BC’s history, highlighting the various ways that members of the Black community have enriched the culture, and contributed to the growth and development of the province. This exhibit has several objectives: to briefly document the marginalized history of the Black presence in BC; to celebrate that experience, pay homage to the women and men who helped build British Columbia; and finally, to highlight and commemorate the above as part of BC’s 150th anniversary celebrations.

Hours: The Teck Gallery is on the street-level floor of SFU’s Vancouver Campus at 515 West Hastings Street. The Teck space is accessible whenever the campus is open to the public; most days this is from 7:30 am to 10:00pm. Tel: 778-782-4266, Email, Web

We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through BC 150, a Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts initiative, the Heritage Legacy Fund of BC, and the Celebration and Commemoration Program of the Department of Canadian Heritage, and the Government of Canada.

The February 14th Womens Memorial March is held on Valentines Day each year to honour the memories of the women from the Downtown Eastside who die each year due to the violence of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual abuse. The Womens Memorial march began 18 years ago after the brutal murder of a Coast Salish woman that left the neighbourhood in shock. This was the catalyst that moved women to take action against ongoing violence of women in the Downtown Eastside.

The heinous and unimaginable violence that took the lives of Sereena Abotsway, Marnie Frey, Andrea Joesbury, Georgina Papin, Mona Wilson and Brenda Wolfe has left a void in the community.

According to Marlene George, Feb 14th Memorial March Committee Organizer, the community is also awaiting justice for the murders of the additional twenty women. We demand a full measure of justice for the twenty women whose murders have unfortunately become a closed chapter for this government. These women may not be with us today, but we cannot let their lives and struggles be forgotten.


February is Black History Month, also known as African Heritage Month. It is a time for PSAC members to highlight and acknowledge the immense benefits that the labour movement and Canada in general have achieved through the contributions of Black people and people of African heritage.


Currently WAVAW and many, many Aboriginal organizations along with the Squamish Nation are working together to do a smudge ceremony of the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. As I am sure you are well aware so many of our people end up on the streets of Vancouver through the affects of colonization and residential schools, most of these people are women. Our beautiful sisters are subject to horrific acts of violence and even death. This is seen every day. We have heard of our women going missing on highways, we have heard of mass burial grounds where our women are found to have been fed to pigs as if they were nothing. The fact is that our women are being violently killed on a regular basis and no one seems to mind. 90% of the women working as survival sex-trade workers in the DTES are aboriginal women.

Our ceremonies have always been a way for us to make our lives better, to ask for new life. We know that our traditional ways held our women as sacred life givers and clan mothers; we were leaders of our communities. It is time that we took back our inherent right, and time that the rest of the world acknowledge our ways.

These women were all daughters, mothers, aunties, sisters, grandmothers, deserving of honor for their sacred spirits. We understand that this violence is not only happening to our women but to all women throughout the four sacred races.

The ceremony will be held on March 21, 2009. The smudge will be conducted by 40 Aboriginal ceremonial spiritual elders and leaders. We will walk from the four sacred directions and smudge the entire DTES.This will help to rid years of negative energy that has accumulated and is hurting the people and our Mother the Earth. The four races of the medicine wheel have been invited and will walk and pray in their own way from their sacred direction. We will meet on the corner of Hastings and Main and pray for all women to be honored as sacred life givers and clan mothers. Flags will be lifted in ceremony for the women of the world who suffer from violence and a call for support will be put out for all men to walk with women in a good way.

It seems that no matter where in Kanata I go, I hear of people who have lost someone in the DTES or know a girl who has been missing. All of the world’s women have been affected. This is an opportunity for our people to come together in unity to do our work in a traditional way.

Please come join us in prayer on March 21, 2009 to pray together as a nation – a world of people.

We are asking that territorial leaders come to Vancouver this day to show support for an end of violence against women.

In Spirit, Singing Thinderbird Child Twice Standing Women, Darla Laughlin, Aboriginal Outreach Coordinator/Counsellor, Women Against Violence Against Women, 604-255-6228 ext 231

The Centre for Culture, Identity and Education (CCIE) and co-sponsors: Centre for Cross-Faculty Inquiry in Education (CCFI), Centre for the Study of Historical Consciousness (CSHC), Indigenous Education (INED), UBC Equity Office, and the Department of History at UBC present:

Black History Month, Thursdays, February 5, 12, 19 and 26, 2009

FEBRUARY 5, 4-6 pm
Dr. George Dei, Pan-Africanism Revisited: Pedagogic and Political Possibilities of Social Mobilization
FEBRUARY 12, 12-2 pm
Dr. Annette Henry, Taking Space: Reflections on 20 years of Doing Black Feminist Research in Education
FEBRUARY 19, 12-2 pm
Dr. Boulou de Bberi, The Politics of Knowledge: The Promised Land Project and/as (Black) Canadian Social History
FEBRUARY 26, 12-2 pm
Dr. Afua Cooper, 150 Years of Collective Black History in British Columbia: 1858-2008

UBC St. John’s College Social Lounge, 2111 Lower Mall.
Light refreshments provided.
Please RSVP

Centre for the Study of Historical Consciousness,
Department of Curriculum & Pedagogy, Faculty of Education,
University of British Columbia, 2125 Main Mall, Vancouver BC V6T 1Z4
Ph 604 822-8104 Fax 604 822-4714

New Democrat multiculturalism critic Raj Chouhan is applauding Canada Posts decision to issue a stamp commemorating Rosemary Brown,a former New Democrat MLA who was the first black woman to be elected to a legislature in Canada.

It is an honour to serve the area Rosemary Brown once represented, said Chouhan, the MLA for Burnaby-Edmonds. She was one of the strongvoices which shaped Canada. This stamp is a well-deserved achievement.

Rosemary Brown served in the legislature from 1972 to 1986. Throughout her time in public life she campaigned to eliminate discrimination andincrease fairness for all.

Rosemary opened doors for many through her courageous dedication to the elimination of prejudice and equal rights for all, said Chouhan.During my time with the Canadian Farmworkers Union I had the opportunity to meet and work with Rosemary and she inspired me tocontinue to fight for fairness and for an end to racism.

I am so pleased that Canada Post has chosen to honour Rosemary Brown, it is a proud moment for our country.

Despite higher education levels, new immigrants to Canada are worse off now than they were in the 1990s and face higher probability of chronic poverty. Too many immigrants are denied recognition of post-secondary degrees or trade skills, and are forced to work in low-paying sectors outside their discipline. Roughly 80% of immigrants to Canada are people of colour. And incidents of racism in the workplace are on the rise.

The Changing the Canvas initiative of the CLC highlights the experiences of immigrants of colour in the workforce. Their stories remind us that real people live behind the statistics about racism, barriers to employment, chronic poverty, and failures with how Canada recognizes foreign credentials or prior learning assessments.

Click to visit

Friday November 21, 10 a.m. Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies, University House (Building F) on the Abbotsford campus of the University of the Fraser Valley.

This is another really important event that is taking place in Abbotsford as part of the week-long activities commemorating the presence of South Asians in Canada.

There are some incredible South Asian activists and academics doing some amazing and groundbreaking work in the Fraser Valley and some of these folks will be part of the panel discussion on Friday so please come out if you are able and support this event.

Speakers: Satwinder Bains (Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies), Zareen Naqvi (Director of Institutional Research), Rita Dhamoon (Political Science), John Belec (Geography), and Cherie Enns (Geography).

SFU Speaking of the World presents PAKISTAN’S DEMOCRACY, Constraints and Opportunities in post-Musharraf era, a discussion with Dr. Mohammad Waseem, Former Fellow of St Anthony’s College Oxford is currently a Professor of Political Science at Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Pakistan.

In this free public forum, Dr. Waseem will examine Pakistan’s current situation by exploring the constraints and opportunities in the post-Musharraf era and its implications for the international community.


Friday, November 21st at 8pm
Fairmont Social Lounge, St. John’s College, 2111 Lower Mall, University of British Columbia

A panel/discussion focusing on the experience of Chinese and Chinese-North-Americans on the west coast between 1880-1920. There will be two speakers: Dr. Jean Pfaelzer, author of the award-winning book Driven Out: The Forgotten War Against Chinese Americans (Random House 2007) and Dr. Patricia Roy, author of A White Man’s Province: British Columbia Politicians and Chinese and Japanese Immigrants 1858-1914.

Sponsored by the Departments of English and History, Canadian Studies, US Studies, Centre for Chinese Research, and St. John’s College, and the Chinese Canadian Historical Society of British Columbia.

UTE convention - BC delegates and observers

On July 16 approximately 325 PSAC-UTE members from across the country gathered in Vancouver at the Union of Taxation Employees National Convention. UTE members debated the budget and resoutions, heard presentations from speakers – including John Gordon who spoke about the “Make Poverty History” campaign and the campaign to introduce a national drug card – and conducted elections. Betty Bannon was re-elected as UTE National President, Pamela Abbot was re-elected Regional Vice President – Pacific, and Robert Hume as Alternate RVP – Pacific.

On July 23rd, the 2008 Komagata Maru Reconciliation Dinnerwas held at the Bombay Palace in Surrey. PSAC BC, lead by Regional Council Racially Visible Coordinator, Sargy Chima, and other members of the racially visible and human rights caucuses participated in this event, which marked the 100th anniversary of the Continuous Journey Act – a shameful part of Canada’s history which lead to the infamous Komagata Maru incident in Vancouver.

In May 1914, the Komagata Maru sailed into English Bay from Hong Kong with 376 passengers aboard – 340 Sikhs, 12 Hindus, and 24 Muslims. In 1908, the Canadian Government had passed the Continuous Journey Act, which stipulated that immigrants could only enter Canada directly from their country of birth and with $200 on their person. This was impossible for immigrants from India, as the Government had forced Canadian Pacific to stop its steamship service between Vancouver and Calcutta. After sitting in port for two months, the ship was forced to leave Vancouver Harbouras the Canadian Government adamantly refusedpassengers the right to land in Canada.

Continue reading for some photos of both events …


* Ghadari Mela ((Revolutionary Martyr Festival) honouring the Sacrifices of South Asian revolutionaries
* Dedicated to the 100th birth anniversaries of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru
* In solidarity with current First Nations struggles

Media Release – June 17, 2008

Surrey:  The Indo Canadian Workers’ Association is organizing its free annual fair on June 21, 2008 at the Cloverdale Millennium Park in partnership with the Bhagat Singh Memorial Foundation. The fair is organized every year in the memory of the Indian revolutionaries, who had sacrificed their lives to free their country from the colonial rule.

This year’s fair will be dedicated to the 100th birth anniversaries of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru. The three martyrs were hanged by the British government in 1931. The Indo Canadian Workers’ Association believes in their socialist ideology and respects their internationalist outlook.

The association will also organize a special exhibition of the pictures of the revolutionaries who had dedicated their lives to the struggle for social justice and equality.

A special calendar dedicated to the history of Indo Canadian struggle that was issued by the association earlier this year will also be distributed during the event.

Since June 21 is the National Aboriginal Day of Canada, our association will bring a resolution to condemn the abuse of the natives in the residential schools and encourage the people to denounce the continuous exploitation of the First Nations.

Besides, entertainment by the folk singers from Punjab, the event will provide an opportunity to the people to buy progressive literature and books from the stalls being set up by different groups.

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