Richmond Centre’s Liberal Party of Canada federal candidate Lawrence Woo says a meet-and-greet event held in Richmond exclusively for Chinese media only does not compare to past exclusive media events held by Conservative Party of Canada politicians.
“I was a participant. I did not set it up. But the intention was for the Chinese media to meet some of the new faces on the (Liberal Party) team,” said Woo of the Sept. 9 event, held at a local hotel with several other Liberal candidates from around Metro Vancouver.
Woo said he didn’t know who organized the event. He said most of the candidates had already met the mainstream or English-speaking media, but had yet to have a chance to meet with Chinese-speaking media.
He said nothing in particular was discussed other than basic introductions and some nondescript questions from the media in attendance.
Although he said he felt the Liberal event was appropriate, he didn’t think that was the case for some Conservative Chinese-media only events.
When the News asked if Richmond Member of Parliament Alice Wong’s shark-fin soup eating event in 2012 or Minister of Multiculturalism Jason Kenney’s more recent Richmond roundtable on immigration statistics — both held exclusively for Chinese-speaking media — were appropriate, he said they were not.
“That was totally inappropriate because when you have a news story to turn out, or some kind of announcement or new information then the invitation should go out to everybody. Everyone should have a chance,” said Woo, reiterating that the Liberal event was a “get to know each other kind of invitation.”
In March, Woo introduced himself to all media when he announced his candidacy. He said media events should not be segregated based on language, race or ethnicity.
“If it was up to me, I would not call a press conference for one particular media,” said Woo.
“I don’t think there should be segregation of Chinese media, East Indian media. I think that’s totally inappropriate,” he added.
At a McMath secondary candidates meeting Wednesday, a student asked Kenny Chiu, Steveston-Richmond East’s Conservative candidate, about Jason Kenney’s earlier roundtable.
“How is it you can go to these events but still represent multilingual people?” the student asked.
“I don’t particularly support that,” said Chiu, noting he did translate the event.
“English is our common language, that is exactly why the Conservative Party is encouraging newcomers to obtain those skills. …It’s important for us to communicate in a common language,” said Chiu, who then pledged openness if elected.
“In general I actually believe we have to have an open communication channel and that’s why I’ve committed to my fellow citizens in Steveston-Richmond East that I’ll be making myself available as much as possible,” said Chiu.