Canadian immigrants travel to northern British Columbia ahead of Monday’s federal election

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With the federal election set for Monday, two Chinese Canadians from the Lower Mainland say they feel more informed and ready to vote after returning from a self-guided tour of northern British Columbia.

Amy Xu said when the temporary restrictions on non-essential travel ended, her friend Roger Xiao invited her on a group trip to learn more about Canadian history and the importance of reconciliation. .

“As immigrants we have to try to understand the politics and the culture… so we are lucky that we had this trip to learn,” said Xu, “I believe that history is like a mirror or a textbook and that we can learn from it so that we do not fall into the same situation as our ancestors.”

Xu and Xiao, along with a dozen others, have all lived in Vancouver for over a decade, but since they immigrated to Canada as adults, most of them never received a education on Canadian history and the residential school system. .

The three friends, left to right, Mr. Jiang, Roger Xiao and Michael Cao, planned a two-week self-guided tour of northern British Columbia with their friends. (Submitted by Roger Xiao)

“The purpose of this trip was to learn more about the early Chinese workers in the 19th century and to understand the current living conditions of Indigenous peoples in British Columbia,” said Michael Cao.

One of the main reasons for the self-guided tour, according to Roger Xiao, was to learn more about the history and culture of indigenous peoples and the importance of reconciliation. (Submitted by Michael Cao)

Bringing “our strengths” to Canada

The group, who are all in their 50s, left Vancouver in late August and made their first stop at Williams Lake, where Cao said he and his wife got a glimpse into the lives of the locals.

He said they enjoyed a dinner filled with locally harvested food like moose meat, blueberries and wild mushrooms with the local mayor, Walt Cobb, and another couple from the community.

The group enjoyed a wild picking dinner with a local couple where they ate moose meat with blueberry sauce, smoked wild kokanee pate and wild mushrooms. (Submitted by Eileen Lao)

“The community was so kind and welcoming. The couple gave us stones that they picked up and they were so generous,” said Sandy, Michael’s wife.

After Williams Lake, he said they stopped in Prince George and also took a tour around Barkerville, east of Quesnel, to find out how the first Chinese Canadians lived and worked during the gold Rush. Then they met a local Indigenous artist who told them about the totem poles and the different historical events and the people they represent.

“Indigenous and new immigrants to China, we are all part of Canada. We want to be a part of this country, so we have to know the history and then we can bring our strength to this country, ”said Sandy.

Michael and his wife Sandy Cao said that during their two-week trip to northern British Columbia, they met an Indigenous artist who taught them about totem poles and the different meanings behind them. (Michael Cao / Submitted)

She said after two weeks of touring northern British Columbia, she was more confident participating in conversations about reconciliation and what Canadians can do to help.

“I think we are more open now. We would like to accept the story… and carry out the wrongdoing so that we can work to improve it in consultation with indigenous peoples.”

Last stop

Xiao said he believes Canada should be a nation that connects, supports and respects all ethnic groups.

“The trip has been very rewarding and much more than I expected,” added Xiao, “Now we see how important politics is… to making a better Canada and British Columbia”

On the third day, the group stopped in Prince George and visited Barkerville, where they learned about the first Chinese Canadians and how they lived during the Gold Rush. (Submitted by Roger Xiao)

He says he is grateful for the things they learned and experienced during their self-guided tour and looks forward to taking what they learned about Canadian politics and culture and making an informed decision. at the polls on Monday.


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