Langara students weigh in on “ethnic-gate”

Langara science student Amber Bhangoo is upset with the "ethnic gate" plan.
Langara science student Amber Bhangoo is upset with the “ethnic-gate” plan. Photo: Deanna Cheng

While some Langara students are upset with a controversial BC Liberal document outlining a plan to win votes from Chinese, South Asian and Southeast Asian voters, others are not surprised because “it’s just politics.”

A leaked email showed Kim Haakstad, the B.C. premier’s deputy chief of staff outlining a “multicultural strategic outreach plan” to several recipients from her Gmail account. The plan was leaked on Feb. 27 and led to the resignation of Haakstad and John Yap, the multiculturalism minister.

The section that garnered most attention and scrutiny from the media was titled “Quick Wins”, a plan for [identifying and correcting] historical wrongs, including an apology for the Komagata Maru incident.

The ship Komagata Maru, holding more than 350 people from India, was denied entry into Canada in 1914. This was due to an exclusion law barring emigrants from Asia.

Arts and science student Arista Caldera found the plan appalling.

“Amazing how [in] a multicultural and innovative country such as Canada, there’s still so much intolerance and manipulation of minorities,” she said. “The Canadian government should have learned from our past mistakes with colonization.”

“It’s just politics”

“Local media made it a bigger issue than it is,” said Teresa Lu, a business student. “It’s just politics. I’m sure that every political party has this kind of plan.”

Amber Bhangoo, a science student, disagrees. “If we don’t hold one party accountable [to] political sincerity, then we pave the way for all parties to be insincere.”

She is concerned that the government views the concerns of the ethnic community as only “quick wins” for their campaign, and worried the government will discount present issues, such as rising tuition and wage gaps in the same manner.

Page 10 of the emailed document warned politicians that failure to keep a “sustainable outreach effort” would be seen as “time-limited pandering.”

“If not done correctly, we will appear opportunist.”

Reported by Deanna Cheng

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  1. […] However, Deanna Cheng, who went out somewhat reluctantly to gather “ethnic” students’ opinions on the leak of the B.C. Liberals’ multicultural strategic outreach plan, found an entirely different reaction. […]

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