Arts & Culture

Cultural Harmony strengthens and enriches communities

By Coun. Linda McPhail

Published 12:47 PDT, Fri September 20, 2019

Last Updated: 2:16 PDT, Tue October 22, 2019

Growing up in Richmond, raising my family here, and being an active member in the community, I am grateful to be amongst people from all over the world. Our interwoven and diverse cultures have the ability to strengthen and enrich our community if we work together to break down barriers and create opportunities for intercultural understanding.

We are one of the most diverse cities in Canada. The 2016 Census indicates more than half of the city’s population reported their ethnic origin as Chinese, followed by British, Filipino, Canadian and South Asian. Over 60 per cent of our community are immigrants with over 150 ethnic origins in total.

When we respect and value diversity, foster and promote a welcoming and inclusive community, we can overcome the disheartening and intolerant events we’ve seen covered in recent news stories.

This is an opportune time to reflect on what unifies us and what actions we can take to ensure everyone is treated equally regardless of race, culture, ethnicity and length of time in Canada. 

As Richmond’s population continues to grow, it is important that the city’s social fabric be maintained and enhanced. It is essential that we recognize the unique characteristics, interests and needs of various segments of the population. City policies, programs and practices must therefore reflect the needs and priorities of Richmond’s diverse communities so that all residents can participate in various aspects of community life.

In response to Richmond’s changing demographics and its implications for social cohesion, the City of Richmond is in the process of developing a Cultural Harmony Plan. The Plan focuses on the City’s social inclusion practices as they relate to policy development, program and service delivery, community engagement and customer service. 

I encourage members of the community to provide their feedback on the proposed Cultural Harmony Plan. Visit www.richmond.ca/culturalharmony for open house dates, more information and to access the online survey.

My parents immigrated to Canada in 1956—my father was raised in Holland and my mother raised in Hong Kong. They chose Canada for many reasons including quality of life and opportunities for their children. 

I am proud to be part of Richmond and I look forward to the City’s continued efforts towards fostering and enhancing an inclusive, engaged and caring community.

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