As the provincial election is around the corner, the Chinese community in BC is once again in disagreement: should we continue to support the provincial Liberal Party, or should we trust the merits of the party rotation system and give the provincial New Democratic Party our votes so they have a shot in government? This is an important question that needs detailed and vigorous debate. Some say it might never lead to a consensus as like all communities, within the Chinese Canadian community there are three schools of political beliefs: left, centre, and right. In the meantime, there is the seemingly minor odd that if ever the Chinese community is able to come to a consensus. This question is super-partisan, and it revolves around the status of Asian-Canadian politicians of all political parties. Right now, Asian-Canadian politicians are only doing their “random fights” for issues that are of significance to their own communities as mainstream parties (the provincial Liberal Party and the provincial New Democratic Party) do not have any Asian caucus. Unlike our next door neighbour the US whose mainstream political parties already have Asian caucus as well as a Black caucus, Latino caucus. However, the Canadian federal and provincial governments follow the cabinet system (or the responsible government system), which means the party leaders have the last say on cabinet appointments and caucus members with different viewpoints on certain issues are often not invited into the cabinet, the influence of Asian-Canadian politicians can be very limited. If an Asian caucus exists, Asian-Canadian politicians would have a larger impact as an internal force on the party’s decision-making process and outcome.
Currently, although it seems that the party leader has the final say, Caucasian-descent politicians have been in the political party for a much longer time and have formed their own alliance based on political concepts, interests, and regional specifics. These factions have since formed an effective internal party balancing mechanism. With such mechanism in place, the party leaders cannot do whatever they wish. Decision-making can only be done if interests of all factions are factored in and balanced. The same goes for the distribution of power between political parties and the Cabinet. Every political party has to take the allocation of faction interests into account when formulating policies that have wide-ranging impact.
Asian-Canadian politicians are not afforded the historic lineage in the political system, hence cannot form a “faction” to be taken seriously. Most Asian-Canadian politicians are recruited with the cynical goal of attracting ethnic votes in provincial elections. They therefore become the party’s tokenism, having little power and influence inside the party. That being said, Asian-Canadian MLAs and MPs barely have any impact in the formulation of policies or the distribution of political interests. Their only way for survival in the party is to become a stooge and follow the party leader blindly.
As for Asian-Canadian ministers, although they seem to be quite influential within in their respective communities, they in fact have very little political authority of substance. Their secretaries are usually appointed directly by the prime minister’s office or the provincial premier’s office, and are mostly of Caucasian descent that are not as close to the communities as they need to be. That being said, Asian-Canadian politicians have to be cautious in their actions and speech, as they cannot afford to appear to be in odd with the party’s official position. Case in point: let’s look at the recent history in BC provincial government and legislature as an example, from ex-MLA (now MP) Jenny Kwan to ex-MLA Patrick Wong, to Minister Teresa Wat (who plays a variety of different roles insider the BC Liberal party and government), only Ms. Kwan had considerable influence inside the BC NDP (she played a crucial role in asking the former party leader to step down but paid a hefty political price since), the rest of the Asian-Canadian politicians in their parties has little to no impact in policy development.
When it comes to provincial elections, the party leader often treats Asian politicians with tactics learned from the colonial past: let them fight each other out; let the South Asian community run head to head to the Chinese community; let the Filipino community take on the Chinese community; let the Korean community have a go at the Chinese community etc. As a result, it is nearly impossible for Asian-Canadian politicians to organize and yield real political power. This is unfair to the Asian Canadian communities and to the future of BC. Fundamentally speaking, once a society becomes xenophobic, Asian-Canadians have been immediately picked on as the scapegoat. In reality, many of our fellow citizens of Caucasian descents still can’t tell us apart or know much about our respective heritage. At best they can distinguish people of South Asian origin from the rest of us. Hence, as far as the discrimination against ethnic minorities is concerned, Asians should and need to stay together to be stronger.
More importantly, BC provincial government is likely to have a much closer relationship with Asia in the future. The conflicts on the other side of the world, such as those between India and China, China and the Philippines, China and Vietnam, China and South Korea, etc., will eventually ripple back to BC. If mainstream party leaders deliberately isolate ethnic minorities and cause frictions amongst their political forces, the political influence of Asian politicians would be an even more worrying picture in the future.
Therefore, I strongly urge mainstream political parties and small parties such as the Conservative Party of BC to accept and encourage the establishment of an Asian caucus inside their parties. An Asian caucus will consolidate the political power of Asian-Canadian politicians, eliminate the post-colonial tradition of Divide and Rule, and allow Asian-Canadian politicians to negotiate policies on equal footing as true British Columbians. In this way, the Asian-Canadian community will stop being passive and become proactive, and can even inject new perspectives and political contributions into the integration of BC into Asia Pacific, the largest economic area in the world. This is crucial to the future development of British Columbia, and it is even more essential to the equality of British Columbians of Asian descent.
A new era in upon us already. Now is the time for Asian-Canadian political forces to band together.
本文发布于： 2016-10-29 09:47