Congratulations to the voters who came out in the 42nd federal election. We saw an increase in voting to 68% up from 61% of eligible voters in 2011. However, we can’t rest on our laurels since it still means 32% of eligible voters, over 8 million, did not vote. I’m not saying the results would have changed; I’m saying over 8 million Canadians did not contribute to our democracy. To put it in perspective, consider that 6.9 million voted for the Liberals; 5.6 million voted for the Conservatives; and 3.5 million voted for the New Democrats.
People were talking about the election and there appeared to be a lot more participation from young voters, indigenous voters, and racialized voters such as Muslims and Japanese Canadians. Hopefully that was the case and that this increase in voting can be replicated at our provincial election in 2017 and local government elections in 2018.
When we don’t show up at the polls, we let those who do show up make the decision about who will be in power.
I offer congratulations to PM designate Justin Trudeau. You accomplished a historic win. It was built on the hopes of Canadians who rejected the divisive, dark side of the political spectrum. Something to keep in mind as you contemplate the work ahead of you. Canadians spoke out against the expansion of fear mongering and the attacks on our rights which were consolidated with the passing of Bill C51, a bill you supported. You helped bring it to life and you have the responsibility to repeal it. There is also much work to be done for justice for the missing and murdered indigenous women, and protection of our environment and our public services.
Japanese Canadians fought for our country Canada, and survived vicious attacks on our rights and freedoms. We share our history so that others may learn and not repeat the mistakes of the past, and we will continue to protect the rights of all Canadians.
“Courage my friends. It is not too late to build a better world.” Tommy Douglas
A tremendous thank you goes out to all the volunteers. No matter what party you supported, your help is invaluable to our democratic process.
It’s not just political candidates who depend upon volunteers, it’s also non-profit groups like the Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Citizens’ Association (GVJCCA).
The members of the GVJCCA Board show up in the evenings for board meetings after putting in a full day at work, at events during weekends and holidays, and even help with the administrative tasks such as updating member information, and answering phone calls. We have volunteer members on our Japanese Canadian Young Leaders of Vancouver Committee, and Human Rights Committee who also help out. Even the Bulletin / Geppo editors and team put in extra time for us, and volunteer translators assist with articles for the Geppo.
When we have our events, especially our fundraising events, we are joined by even more volunteers who take care of all the tasks that make our events run smoothly and successfully. It’s really like an extended gathering of family. Sometimes in the conversations I do hear about actual family connections too. We really can’t do it without all of you! Thank you!
For all of our GVJCCA volunteers we would like to show our appreciation at a get together on Saturday, November 28th from 1pm to 4pm, Room 105, Nikkei Centre. Please join us for a light meal, refreshments, and a chance to catch up.
On November 11, please take a moment to remember our Japanese Canadian veterans who served Canada honourably since World War I. For those in the Vancouver area please join us at the Japanese Canadian War Memorial in Stanley Park at 10:40am. This year is the 70th anniversary of the Nisei enlisting in the South East Asia Command Intelligence Unit of the Canadian Army.
During World War II, the Canadian government declared Japanese Canadians “enemy aliens” and imprisoned them. Japanese Canadians tried to enlist and were refused by the Canadian army. I remember my cousin telling me that my uncle Buck (Suzuki) tried and was refused, but the British army did not have any qualms, and wanted the skills of Japanese Canadians. The Canadian army finally relented and allowed Japanese Canadians to enlist towards the end of the war.
Following the ceremony there will be a reception at the Pavilion in Stanley Park where you will have an opportunity to hear more stories and see photos and memorabilia.
Please also take a look at the events listed in the Bulletin / Geppo. There are always so many informative, creative, inspiring events happening every month. Too many to list in my president’s message.