Every year in British Columbia the third week in November is proclaimed as Multiculturalism Week. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of our multicultural communities and to appreciate the way diversity enriches British Columbia.
Multiculturalism strengthens our province and puts us on the map as a society that values inclusion and cultural diversity – something every British Columbian can be proud of.
Passed in 1993, British Columbia’s Multiculturalism Act was built on the aspiration of creating a multicultural society free from racism, where individuals are treated with respect and dignity and all British Columbians have equal opportunity to participate in the community.
As the most ethnically diverse province in Canada, B.C. is home to more than 200 First Nations, vibrant Métis, Inuit and urban Indigenous communities and residents who trace their origins to more than 200 countries or regions. Adding to our diversity, we welcome more than 40,000 new immigrants every year.
PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY ANNE KANG’S STATEMENT ON B.C. MULTICULTURALISM WEEK
“B.C. Multiculturalism Week celebrates the ways our lives are made better by the incredible diversity of the people in our province. I am so grateful to live in a place where people from all over the world have chosen to put down roots and share their cultures with each other.
This week is also an opportunity to think about how we can all contribute to greater understanding, respect and appreciation for everyone in British Columbia. For me, that starts with connection – connection to the history of B.C., our individual heritages and with each other.
“I’m grateful to live and work on the territories of Indigenous peoples, who have lived on these lands for thousands of years. I acknowledge and respect their diverse cultures and deep connections to the land. Together with Indigenous peoples, our government continues the journey forward on reconciliation to make life better for everyone in B.C.
“I’m also thinking about the people who have settled or immigrated since the early 19th century and built their lives here, many of whom faced great hardships in coming to this new place. As a first generation Canadian, I realize the courage it takes for people to leave their homes behind in search of new opportunities and a better life for their families. Today, we are so lucky to be able to experience the cultural mosaic of a province that is home to people who trace their origins to more than 200 countries or regions.
“This Multiculturalism Week, I encourage everyone in B.C. to find ways to learn about and build connections with people from cultures and backgrounds different from their own. Whenever I am invited to celebrate significant events with communities, I learn so much about new histories, traditions, perspectives and ways of life. But I’m always struck by how, despite our differences, we all want the same things. We all want to feel safe and included, and free to express ourselves. These are the connections that tie us together.
“When I think about the future, I am filled with hope that our children will grow up in a world where everyone feels valued and respected. As B.C.’s newly appointed parliamentary secretary for multiculturalism, I am committed to doing everything I can to uphold and protect B.C.’s cultural diversity. I hope you will join me in celebrating Multiculturalism Week in B.C. and stand with us as we work to create to a province that is open, welcoming and inclusive, and free of racism, hate and discrimination.”
STATEMENT FROM ANDREW WILKINSON AND TERESA WAT ON B.C. MULTICULTURALISM WEEK
Leader of the Official Opposition Andrew Wilkinson and BC Liberal Critic for Multiculturalism Teresa Wat released the following statement today for B.C. Multiculturalism Week:
“Multiculturalism Week celebrates the great diversity of cultures and backgrounds that shape our province, making it a place for so many from around the globe to feel welcome and call their home.
“British Columbia is the most culturally diverse province in all of Canada. Our diversity and spirit of inclusion has shaped our beliefs and values and allowed us to achieve economic prosperity.
“While it is important to celebrate and take pride in our achievements, it is equally important that we recognize and stand up to oppose the rising sentiments of racism and intolerance here at home and around the globe.
“During this week, we encourage everyone to take time to learn about the history of multiculturalism in B.C. and honour the vibrant heritage of our communities. Together, we can find ways to protect the spirit of inclusion and tolerance that built this province and continues to shape it every day.”