Members of Canada’s Parliament have passed a motion to condemn the rise of anti-Asian racism and racist attacks in North America, and to express its unanimous horror at the shootings in Georgia last week.
The motion was introduced by NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh in the House of Commons during question period on Monday.
The motion called on members of Parliament to “condemn the rise of anti-Asian racism and racist attacks throughout North America, and urge the government to take further action to tackle hate crimes.”
The move comes after eight people were killed by a white gunman at several massage parlours in Atlanta on Tuesday. Six of the victims were Asian American women.
The NDP motion on Monday also called upon the federal government to host a federal-provincial meeting to discuss the rise in hate crimes in Canada and to co-ordinate efforts to “identify best practices to countering this trend.”
The government should create and “properly fund” dedicated hate crime units in communities across Canada, the motion reads.
It also called for the establisment of “national standards” to identify and record hate crimes and to work collaboratively with non-profit organizations to facilitate the reporting of such crimes.
The motion was carried without opposition.
In a tweet Monday afternoon, Singh said “Canada is not immune” to anti-Asian hate.
“Today, I moved & passed a motion to condemn Anti-Asian hate,” he wrote. “Justin Trudeau needs to do more than offer words, he needs to act.”
A day after the shooting in Atlanta, Prime Minister Trudeau tweeted, saying over the past year, Canada has “seen an increase in acts of racism against Asian Canadians.”
“This ignorant, violent, and discriminatory behaviour has no place in Canada — or anywhere in the world,” he wrote. “We must continue to stand united against it.”
Further, in a statement released on Sunday to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Trudeau said the COVID-19 pandemic has “propelled Anti-Asian hate and discrimination” in Canada and around the world.
“This crisis is a stark reminder that racism and systemic discrimination disrupt lives, undermine people’s health and wellbeing, and are key drivers of inequality,” the statement read. “This is unacceptable and needs to stop. We know we must act now to address these complex and long-standing issues.”
Trudeau said that while Canada has made progress toward “a more just and equal society, more still needs to be done.”
“And the Government of Canada remains committed to this work,” he said. “Through Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy and with the support of the Federal Anti-Racism Secretariat, we will continue to work to eliminate systemic racism in Canada.”