The rapid pace of condo development in Vancouver’s historic Chinatown has prompted a local advocacy group to start petitioning for a moratorium on new building.
“We’re seeing a wave of development that is changing the character of Chinatown. It’s become another Gastown or Yaletown,” said King-mong Chan, who works with a Chinatown planning group through the Carnegie Centre Action Project. “And it’s condos and luxury hotels, when there’s a wait list for affordable housing here.”
Mr. Chan and his group, who were out collecting signatures this week, are not alone in being worried about the transformation of Chinatown in the past two years, with 780 units of new housing developed or proposed since a new neighbourhood plan went into effect in 2012.
Former city planners, people whose families have a long history in Chinatown, and heritage advocates have expressed concern about the wave of building because it is not bringing the community benefits they thought it would and it does not mesh with the neighbourhood’s historic architecture.
Vancouver Coun. Kerry Jang had asked university to investigate teachings of sociologist Ricardo Duchesne
CBC News Posted: Jan 07, 2015 9:34 AM AT Last Updated: Jan 08, 2015 12:54 PM AT
A University of New Brunswick vice-president is defending a professor’s academic freedom in the wake of a recent complaint of racism.
Kerry Jang, a Vancouver city councillor, had asked the university to investigate the allegedly racist views of Prof. Ricardo Duchesne, who argues that the influx of Asian immigrants is threatening Canada’s European character.
Jang contends the sociology professor’s comments constitute hate speech.
“He was drawing comparisons to say Hong Kong and Japan, its teeming dirty cities and things like that — saying all Asians are dirty,” he said.
Last summer, Jang complained to Robert MacKinnon, a UNB vice-president in Saint John, and said Duchesne was damaging the university’s reputation.
“He was pushing one perspective and using his university affiliation to get it across,” said Jang. “That is not proper academic work. Period,” he said.
The University of New Brunswick, citing academic freedom, is supporting a professor who claims that Asian immigration has damaged Vancouver.
In a statement issued Wednesday on sociology professor Ricardo Duchesne, a university vice-president said the school’s mission and values support freedom of thought and expression while maintaining the highest ethical standards and a respectful environment.
Robert MacKinnon also said a complaint about the issue by Vancouver city Councillor Kerry Jang has been “carefully reviewed and addressed.” However, the statement provides no detail on that process or outcome.
The university declined to provide more detail Wednesday or an interview with a university official.
Mr. Jang scoffed at the response, calling it “vague,” and said he has never heard from the University of New Brunswick about the issue, which first flared up last summer when he became aware of Prof. Duchesne’s views.
“I don’t know if they actually did anything and this is just a way of defending a faculty member, circle the wagons,” said Mr. Jang, who is also a professor of psychiatry at the University of British Columbia.
He said Prof. Duchesne is using academic freedom to hide poor scholarship. “He’s only providing one view to students and shaping their minds,” he said. “That whole academic enterprise of why we send our kids to school to become broad thinkers is not being upheld.”
The apology aims to recognize and make amends for 160 historical racist and discriminatory policies imposed in B.C., such as denying Chinese immigrants the right to vote and charging them a head tax to immigrate.
UBC history professor Henry Yu said it’s important the apology is backed by action.
“There hasn’t really been an equivalent to this,” he said. “It’s important to both acknowledge what was done to the Chinese as well as what they themselves were doing as they spent their lives working and living and forming families and having children and being part of this broader community that is our society.”
Yu sits on a council created to implement recommendations made in a report on Chinese Historical Wrongs, one of which is this book.
He hopes the book, which is expected to be around 150 pages long, will unearth a trove of buried information.
“It’s something where our past matters and we’re going to recognize both the dark and the light, the good things and the bad that happened in the past and I think that’s what’s exciting about this moment,” he said.
In a six-week series of interviews, Canadians with a variety of experiences discuss the major challenges our country is facing and how best to address them. This instalment deals with taking our place in the world.
Yuen Pau Woo, former president and chief executive officer of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, was interviewed Sept. 4 by Monica Pohlmann, a consultant with Reos Partners.
Pohlmann: What keeps you up at night about what’s going on in Canada?
Woo: Complacency. Canada has been blessed with numerous natural endowments and political and institutional assets. But we are slipping on many indices and our position in the world could deteriorate sharply. The usual story for why Canada didn’t fall into a more severe recession in 2008 is that we have strong banks and a good financial regulatory system – for example, that we didn’t have a subprime mortgage problem like the U.S. That’s all true. But we overlook the fact that China saved Canada from a more severe recession. If you look at what kept growth from falling even further between 2008 and 2011, the answer is Chinese demand. Exports from Canada to China doubled between 2008 and 2013. Exports from Canada to the rest of the world, including to the U.S., still have not caught up to the levels they were in 2007.
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