'No place in our society for racism': Provincial health officer condemns anti-Asian hate crimes
VANCOUVER -- Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says there is no place for racism in B.C. and that stories of anti-Asian hate crimes make her "incredibly sad."
Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix were asked Tuesday about their response to the rise in hate crimes against Asians that have occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"This has been a virus that does not understand our geopolitical social borders, and it affects all of us. And the only way we can get through this incredibly challenging and terribly difficult time is by being together and working together," Henry said.
Dix echoed Henry's comments and said acts of racism need to be called out for what they are and denounced every time they occur.
"Part of the action that we have to take together is to ensure that where we see injustice and racism that we condemn it, and we condemn it every time," he said. "It's always unacceptable."
Health officials also reiterated the virus is present in more than 100 countries around the world and emphasized the need for everyone to work together and show compassion in order to get through the pandemic.
"There is no one race that is affected by this. There is no one age group. There's no one sex," said Henry. "There is no place—no place—in our society for racism."
Premier John Horgan took to Twitter on Sunday to condemn an attack on an Indigenous woman who says she was repeatedly punched by a man making racist comments about her in a Vancouver park. Dakota Holmes says a man hit her multiple times in the face while making comments about how she should go back to Asia, and he also accused her of bringing the virus to Canada.
"I'm sorry this happened to Dakota," the premier wrote. "It should not happen to her or anyone. Hate has no place in our province and it will not be tolerated."
Vancouver police also continue to investigate an attack on a 92-year-old man in East Vancouver that officers say was racially motivated. Police say a customer in a convenience store started shouting racist remarks at the man, some of which were about COVID-19, and video released by police shows him being shoved to the ground. Police said Friday they have interviewed the suspect and are preparing a package to submit to Crown counsel.
"It continues to make me incredibly sad when I hear these stories, particularly the underlying racism that it exposes," Henry said. "There is no place for that in our society here in Canada and in British Columbia. And I know people in B.C. are better than that."