May 20, 2020
Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Chair, Cabinet Committee on the federal response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
Hon. Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage
OPEN LETTER RE: INCREASE IN RACISM DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC
Dear Minister Freeland and Guilbeault,
Throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic everyone across Canada has been affected in one way or another - whether they have lost their job, closed down their business, witnessed a loved one fall ill, or lost someone they cherish. There is no question that this is a difficult 0me. As this pandemic progresses, it is alarming to witness an increase in frequency acts of hate and racism.
In recent weeks cities across the country have seen an increase in hate crimes and racism related to COVID-19, particularly towards those of Asian-descent. In a Vancouver convenience store last month, a man hurled racist remarks related to COVID-19 at a 92- year-old man of Asian descent, before shoving him to the ground. Another assault was reported to the police where a visible minority woman was punched, grabbed by her hair, her face was slammed into the seats of skytrain and pushed out of the train. Similar disturbing incidents took place in Toronto where an Asian woman was hit by an umbrella, told to go back to where she came from and spat at. Most recently, a good samaritan intervened when an individual began to harassed two Asian women wearing protective masks on a bus by telling them to: "Go back to your own country; that's where it all started." The bystander was kicked, punched and wrestled to the ground by the suspect. Her hair was pulled so hard that a clump of hair was ripped from her scalp. Now, Dakota, an indigenous woman out walking her dog was punched in the face repeatedly and told to "go back to Asia".