TORONTO, May 1, 2008 - The Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF) joins all Canadians in celebrating the rich heritage and lasting contributions of Canadians of Asian heritage to the growth, development and well-being of our country.
Canadians of Asian descent have faced enormous challenges in their bid to make Canada their home. The racism that the Chinese faced with the imposition of the Head Tax and Exclusion Act, designed to limit their immigration to Canada; the Japanese Canadians who were declared enemy aliens, their properties confiscated and families uprooted and sent to internment camps, and the "Continuous journey" regulation which essentially prohibited South Asians from entering Canada.
These are only some of the many obstacles which Asian Canadians have had to overcome. And while there are many more challenges to confront, Asian Canadians played a significant role in moving Canada forward. The apology and redress, on behalf of the people of Canada, which the Federal Government made for the Chinese Head Tax and Exclusion Act; and the apology and redress to Japanese Canadians 20 years ago are two critical milestones of Canada's acknowledgement of its past and its commitment to move forward.
Increasingly, Asians are contributing to Canada's development by making Canada their adopted home as figures from the recently released Census 2006 confirmed. As Senator Vivienne Poy observed in 2001 when she introduced the motion to proclaim May as Asian Heritage Month, Asia has become the primary source of immigrants to Canada and, similarly, the Asia-Pacific countries have become significantly important to Canada's economy.
The Canadian Race Relations Foundation urges all Canadians to learn more about the rich history and heritage of the Asian communities in Canada not only during this month, but throughout the year. By understanding each other better, the closer we will move towards a more racism-free country.