Premier John Horgan has released the statement regarding a surge in racist activity across British Columbia during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Horgan remarks that, “Everyone has a right to live without fear of violence or discrimination. Yet we are hearing disturbing stories of a rise in anti-Asian racist behaviour since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic."
Horgan adds that people are being targeted as they go about their daily lives, and that the behaviour is unacceptable.
"I have said it before: hate has no place in our province and it will not be tolerated," he states.
"Our strength is in our diversity and we reject all forms of racism, discrimination, intolerance and bigotry."
Horgan also states that, "Racism is also a virus," and that British Columbians must stay united in these difficult times.
"We are always stronger and more resilient as a province when we treat each other with kindness, generosity and respect. To do so, we must all stand together to call out racism and discrimination when we see it.”
The statement comes after Vancouver Police responded to a racist assault in East Vancouver on Friday night. According to the victim, a man punched her in the face and shouted a slew of racial insults after she sneezed. He also told her to, "Go back to Asia." The victim is Indigenous.
The Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs shared a post on Twitter condemning the racist assault and calling on government to step up its efforts to prevent further violence.
According to the Vancouver Police Department, as of May 1, 2020, there have been 20 anti-Asian hate crimes reported this year, compared to 12 reported in the whole of 2019. This UBCIC notes that this trend speaks to the stark reality that people of colour face disproportionately high risks to their physical and mental survival every day, a risk that has been intensified by dangerous false messaging about COVID-19.