Lawyer BangGu Jiang, was one of the few first generation Chinese Canadians running for Liberal MPs in the Markham Unionville riding in the recent federal election. She lost to Conservative candidate Bob Saroya by a few thousands votes. As a star candidate, her loss has surprised many people.
Jiang has enjoyed a remarkable career journey in Canada. She immigrated to Canada in 1989, was appointed to the York Regional Police Services Board in 2013 and is a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal recipient.
A few weeks after the election, I met Jiang in a social function. She seemed not a bit discouraged by her loss, and said she is willing to run for office again.
“It was a lifetime experience, and I’ve never regretted of runn9ing for a minute… I had a great run,” says Jiang. ”It gave me the opportunity to access a lot of information, allowing me to understand the opinions and concerns from people in all walks of life.”
But Jiang condemns the Conservatives’ campaign tactics, alleging that the messages in the campaign ad have turned to mongering fear and hate in order for the Conservative candidate to get ahead.
"Conservatives know that majority of Chinese are very concerned about marijuana, brothels, and early sex education. So they intentionally misled voters by distributing the messages to scare people off from voting for the Liberal candidate,” says Jiang.
According to CBC report, a Conservative ad campaign in the riding targeted at Chinese and Punjabi-speaking voters in Toronto and Vancouver that claims Justin Trudeau supports the sale of marijuana to children, the expansion of safe injection sites and the establishment of neighbourhood brothels.
The campaign ad was supported by Stephen Harper:
"Justin [Trudeau] refuses to acknowledge the damage that drugs do to families and communities," Harper, referring to the Liberal leader, said in a written statement from his office.
"He wants to allow the sale of marijuana in corner stores and increase the number of heroin injection sites, dangerously misguiding policies that would only make drugs more accessible to our children."
Jiang said it's clear the Conservatives are distributing messages that specifically targeted the Chinese and Punjabi communities in her riding. Some campaign flyers sent to voters’ homes tried to use Liberals’ controversial “Bathroom Bills” to mislead them into believing that men would be allowed to use women’s washrooms if the Liberals get elected.
But these messages seemed to have more direct impact on Chinese Canadians and succeeded in eliciting desired reactions from some of the Chinese voters:
“When I knocked on voters’ doors, I was shocked by some of their reactions,” said Jiang. “Their accusations against the Liberals’ policies were so insane, so ridiculous and so unfounded that left me stunned and speechless.”
“The Bathroom Bill became the top concerns among the many, and Marijuana and Brothels also bothered a lot of people. Many voters worried about their implications on their property values,” says Jiang. “One voter even asked me point blank: ‘if Justine Trudeau sets up brothels in my neighbourhood, how could I possibly sell my home?!’”
While negative tactics are commonly used in the election campaigns, there is an ethical line that cannot be across. Dirty tactics that betray the Canadian value of truth and honesty are disrespectable and insult voters’ intelligence. Controlling and manipulative politicians would lead the nation on an ugly and dangerous road.
Jiang hopes that her riding’s political sensibilities and awareness will grow in the next federal election.
“Raising political awareness of Chinese Canadians is critical, and I believe it is the only way that we can build a strong and politically-sophisticated community.”
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