Anti-Asian hate has no place in Canada

Speaking Notes

Marie-Claude Landry, Ad. E.

Chief Commissioner
Canadian Human Rights Commission

Anti-Asian hate has no place in Canada

Remarks at Chinese Canadian National Council of Toronto
Press Conference

March 23, 2021

10:30 a.m.

6 minutes





Thank you so much.

Good morning everyone.

It is very important to me that I begin by acknowledging the land from which I am speaking today as being the traditional and unceded territory of the Abenaki people and the Wabenaki confederacy.

I also would like to honour all the traditional territories being represented here from our various locations.

It is my privilege to take part in the release of this report today.

It could not come at a more critical time.

We are all still grappling with the pain and anger over the massacre that took place in Atlanta, Georgia last week.

It is a chilling reminder that racism, hatred and intolerance have no borders. They can reach into our lives and shake us to the core.

Over the past year, we have seen a disturbing rise in anti-Asian hate and COVID-driven racism.

My hope is that today’s report, and the powerful data it presents, can be used as a tool to confirm and confront this growing problem in Canada. It is at a crisis point.

Some have called the dramatic rise in anti-Asian racism one of Canada’s “shadow pandemics.” We are witnessing a disturbing wave of online hate, vandalism, threats, intimidation and physical assault.

And we have to remember that along with this spike in hate crimes and assault, there are ripple effects.

It creates fear among the Asian community, and triggers vicarious trauma for people with past lived-experience.

A 2020 Angus Reid study found that 43% of surveyed Canadians of Asian-descent report feeling threatened or intimidated as a direct result of COVID-19.

In other words, nearly HALF of Canadians of Asian descent do not feel safe in their own community.

This is what happens when hate and intolerance go unchecked.

Hate and intolerance threaten public safety, violate human rights, and undermine our free and inclusive society.

No one in Canada should feel unsafe because of who they are, the colour of their skin, or where their ancestors come from.

We all have a role to play in fighting back against anti-Asian racism.

This past Sunday marked International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

…a day to stand in solidarity, together, against racism.

…a day to recognize the courage that it takes for victims to come forward and say “this has happened to me.”

…a day to recognize the role that we all can and need to play to combat all forms of racial discrimination.

Because we are all in this fight together.

Hate cannot be addressed by one group alone.

It takes all of us.

We are not safe unless we are ALL safe.

An attack against one of our communities is an attack against us all.

This is why we must all keep speaking out. To be silent is to be complicit. Silence is not an option.

I conclusion, I would like to congratulate: the Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto, the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice, the Chinese and South Asian Legal Clinic, and all your partners.

Your creation of the reporting websites hosted by CCNC Toronto and Project 1907, and this important report are critical to our collective fight against anti-Asian racism.

And I would especially like to acknowledge the people who came forward to report their stories. Their courage will not be in vain. It takes hard data and testimony to drive action and change. And that is why we are here today.

I am proud to be here today with all of you. The Canadian Human Rights Commission is standing with you.

Thank you.

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