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Filipino Canadian MP calls for representation as anti-Asian hate incidents rise

Rowena Papasin | TFC News Vancouver

Posted at Apr 30 2022 09:11 AM | Updated as of Apr 30 2022 03:02 PM

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It's been two years since the pandemic started yet anti-Asian racist incidents have continued to climb in Canada.

The Chinese Canadian National Council - Toronto chapter pooled the reports they received in 2021, and found that anti-Asian incidents increased by 32% last year.

Racist incidents against South Asians and Southeast Asians increased by 318% and 121% respectively. Almost half of the 943 incidents reported happened in public spaces.

The study also showed that online hate and racism increased by 132%. Harassment remains as the most reported form of discrimination at 48%.

Speaking with members of the Filipino Canadian National Congress (FCNC), Filipino Canadian Member of Parliament Rechie Valdez shared that her mother and aunt were also victims of racial slurs. It happened while they were door-knocking during her campaign.

"The person at the door, when they saw my mom and my tita there door-knocking, the individual yelled and screamed at them not so nice things including racial slurs and were really mean to them at the door," Valdez said.

Virginia Sumalinog, an FCNC director in Alberta, also shared her son's experience as a doctor at  the Vancouver General Hospital.

"One time, he had a patient who said, 'can you just assign a white doctor to me instead of you, you Filipino. I don’t need you, I need a white doctor.' So racism is everywhere," Sumalinog said.

Sumalinog hopes that Valdez will be able to help combat the discrimination that many Asians experience in Canada. 

Valdez asserted that she is affected by the hate and racism that many people of color and racialized groups encounter everyday. "I'm impacted everyday. I'm not gonna lie to you. I experience racism and hate in so many ways but it has inspired me to work harder. It has inspired me to have more conviction in what I do in my role everyday."

Valdez also pointed out that despite the huge contribution of Filipino Canadians to the economy, they have remained voiceless. She urged kababayans to actively pursue representation so that the needs of the community will be heard.

"It's hard not having someone that understands us, be at the right table, to vocalize and speak. I am one seat at the federal level but we need representation at all levels," she stressed.

In its 2022 budget, the federal government has set aside $85 million to fund a new anti-racism strategy that will help in combating racism and hate.