Richmond Community Coalition (RCC) announced Friday that it does not support any lists that advocate Chinese-only candidates. The coalition asks all activist groups to stop lobbying Chinese voters to mark only Chinese Candidates on their ballots.
The RCC also announced a group decision that it is not endorsing Hong Guo for mayor.
All 10 candidates for the coming municipal elections, including incumbent councillors Chak Au and Ken Johnston, attended a RCC press conference on Friday.
“We’ve seen a lot of lists and a lot of meetings being called for Chinese candidates only,” said Johnston at the press conference.
“The perception of that is not helping the community come together. We are concerned that the community is being divided even more.”
Au said he had no idea his name would be on some lists promoting Chinese-only candidates.
“We noticed that some of the lists are creating an impression that the RCC is in collaboration with individual candidates, or electoral groups,” said Au.
“We said no, we have a complete team of our own, which is made up people with different cultural backgrounds.”
Au said he feels “very frustrated” with the division he sees in the community.
“I hope that people support me because of what I stand for and what I’ve done for the community, not because of my skin,” said Au.
“Every candidate should be considered for whatever they can offer to the community, and not based on language, colour or race.
And I always stress two-way communication. I’m not a spokesperson just for one sector of the Chinese community... It’s also my duty to help the Chinese community to accept and endorse the core values of Canada.”
Richmond RCMP is currently investigating a Wechat post which offered a $20 “transportation subsidy” and asked people to vote for certain candidates. The organizer said the offer was cancelled soon after.
Both Au and RCC council candidate Melissa Zhang, whose names were on the list, said they were never consulted and never granted their permission to have their names put on it.
“It is good the organizer corrected the list because ‘they knew they had made a mistake,’ but they should learn about local rules and the law before taking actions,” said Zhang.
Au said the group who made that kind of offer ($20 transportation subsidy) has to take responsibility for itself.
Regarding the RCC decision to not endorse Hong Guo, Barb Ewens, operations manager of the RCC said, “it is a group decision,” adding that they support incumbent mayor Malcolm Brodie.
“None of our candidates support Hong Guo for mayor and they have been clear to Hong Guo and to her supporters that they will not come to any of her Chinese events, and have asked that she have her people remove our Chinese candidates’ names from her Wechat groups,” Ewens.
Johnston further explained that they believe Hong Guo’s position is a “Chinese-only candidate thing.”
“That’s what I have seen anyway...we can’t support that. It’s against harmony. It’s against cultural inclusion,” he said.