Political party to focus on Chinese
Leader promoting an alternative to traditional parties
John Bermingham, The Province
Published: Sunday, June 17, 2007
A new B.C. political party says it wants to bring a Chinese focus to provincial politics. The Nation Alliance Party, launched only last week, says its focus is on the 350,000 people in B.C. who are of Chinese heritage.
The four founders of the party all have such a background. They are Delta realtor and party leader Wei Ping Chen, along with a Burnaby student, a Surrey renovator and a Burnaby tourism guide.
Chen, 48, is a former university teacher in Beijing who came here in 2000. He says mainland Chinese immigrants tend not to vote in B.C. elections and to ignore local politics -- and he wants to change that.
Chen -- who says he has been asked to join the federal Liberals, but turned them down -- said the new party wants to help improve the lot of immigrant workers and to promote Chinese family values and safer communities.
Chinese families are being split when breadwinners move back to Asia to work, leaving their wives and kids here, Chen said. Others leave B.C. after getting their Canadian citizenship because they can't get ahead in their new country, he added.
He speaks of these things as if they are travesties but the reality is there is a conscious effort by many mainland Chinese immigrants to abuse Canadian citizenship laws, tax laws, and the country's publicly funded health care system and education system. They see Canada as an insurance policy and a retirement home as they work abroad paying as little taxes to the Canadian government yet are first in line when it comes to benefiting from any of Canada's publicly subsidized social programs. They park their kids, spouses, and sometimes parents in Canada to relieve themselves of the financial burden of educating or taking care of them and shift that responsibility onto the Canadian tax payer. To say that many Chinese immigrants return to Asia because they cannot get ahead in this country is disingenuous. The Chinese are not so stupid as to throw away all that they have achieved by immigrating to Canada. Many mainland Chinese return to Asia becuase they had no intention of really leaving it. They immigrate to Canada to acquire Canadian citizenship for themselves and their families to benefit from the social programs this country has to offer but do little to support it in the form of taxes.
Chen said he plans to build the Nation Alliance into both a federal and a municipal party and hopes to field candidates in upcoming elections. But he admits the party is still looking for an office, has very little money and has only signed 20 members to date.
The party is open to people of all backgrounds, Chen said.
The party's existence came to my attention when I first read about it in the Toronto Star. What was clearly stated in that Star article as is in the Province article is that the Nation Alliance Party is primarily concerned with Chinese issues in Canada and advancing Chinese concerns on Canadian society and politics. However you wouldn't know that from their homepage. Not only are you greeted with a screen providing links for information in either English, French, Spanish, or Mandarin (or is it Cantonese as if it matters) but nowhere does it say that the party is Chinese focused but instead seeks to advance the interests of ethnic minorities.
I think they are intentionally being deceptive because of the resulting backlash that followed the party's launch date and the understandable discomfort Canadians will have with an ethnic specific political party as if Canada needs a Chinese Bloc Quebecois.
What is revealing is the political climate that now exists in this country where ethnic minority groups are large enough and feel comfortable enough form ethnic specific political parties. To me this is symptomatic of the failure of multiculturalism as social policy and the predictable negative consequences of a misguided mass immigration system that disproportionately imports too many people from one country or region. The party admits, whether it means to or not, is that the Chinese are Chinese and they are not Canadian, citizenship aside, further exposing the "Canadian is a Canadian" myth.
A real concern is how the Chinese government in Beijing may use, maybe fund if they are not doing that already, this party to advance China's concerns within Canadian society and influence Canadian politics and policy to favour Chinese interests.
What is clear, even obvious, is that a Canadian is not a Canadian but we all know that anyways. If ethnic politics, whether co-opting existing parties or forming your own, is the future that Canada's immigration system and multiculturalism policy is leading this nation towards then we should stop this right now or face some grave and unintended consequences of the kind that will have destabilizing effects that could very well pose a threat to national unity. Politically Canada may be burdened with perpetual minority governments and coalitions. As for national unity, if the Quebec sovereignty movement had, and still has, the potential to redraw the political boundaries of this country imagine an Asian dominated British Columbia that feels Ottawa is ignoring its concerns becuase they are of Asian ancestry and not European. Don't think it will happen do you? If you don't, well I don't care. I don't wish to seek the fracturing of my country just to see who is right. Canada is the only country I have and I do not want to see it destroyed from within. I do not have another country I can run "home" to.