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“承认中国春节”动议是浪费纳税人的钱
Parliament motion to recognize Chinese Lunar New Year can be a waste of taxpayers' money

随着加拿大联邦议会在2016年6月1日通过国会议员谭耕的私人动议,中国农历新年,春节,这一最为隆重的中国传统节日获得了加拿大政府的官方认可。但是如果你指望今年的春节的庆祝方式会因此而有什么重大改变,或期望有任何非常特别的庆祝活动以显示中国春节的特殊地位,那你可能要失望了。

Since MP Geng Tan’s private motion was passed in the parliament on June 1, 2016, Chinese lunar new year, the spring festival has now been officially recognized by the Canadian government. But if you expect any significant changes in how the biggest Chinese traditional holiday was celebrated this year or any special event marking the exceptional recognition of the holiday, you might be disappointed. 

2016年6月1日,谭耕提出的寻求加拿大政府宣布从农历正月初一到十五为春节的动议在议会获得通过。谭耕在议会发言时称:“该项动议可广泛联系来自亚洲和加拿大的朋友们,并且可让当地的主流及少数族裔社区领略亚洲文化。它为加拿大亚裔的历史翻过了一个重要篇章,籍此我们可为它做出更多贡献。”

On June 1, 2016, MP Geng Tan’s Spring Festival motion seeking the government of Canada to proclaim the first day of the lunar year as the beginning of 15-day Spring Festival was passed in the parliament. "This motion would bring together friends from Asia and Canada and makes Asian culture accessible to the local mainstream and minority communities," Tan said in a statement in his parliament speech. “Now that an important page in Asian-Canadian history has turned, we can really make a difference, something solid.”

对于一个国会新秀来说,私人动议获得议会通过无疑是激动无比的。谭耕曾兴奋地表示“他永远都不会忘记动议被通过的这一刻。”但是,谭耕的这番讲话似乎过分夸大了这一动议的影响力。

Getting a private motion passed at the Parliament can bring a lot of excitement to a rookie MP, who was delighted to say that “he will never forget the exact moment”. However, it seems that Tan’s speech might have over exaggerated the influence of his private motion.  

对春节的官方认可似乎并未让这一传统庆祝方式发生任何“实质性的改变”。主流媒体几乎没有对相关动议进行报道,当地的主流以及其他少数族裔社区的大多数人士也都对此一无所知。实际上在该项动议通过之前,加国政客就早已纷纷向华裔社区伸出联谊之手,共庆中国春节。

The official recognition did not seem to have made any “solid difference” in the celebration of the holiday in anyways. The motion was barely covered by the mainstream media and was unknown to most people in the local mainstream and other minority communities. Before this motion was passed, Canadian politicians had already been reaching out to the community in celebration of the holiday. 

加拿大皇家铸币厂在过去也曾推出以中国春节为主题的新系列纪念币,而加拿大邮政局也年年都会发行特种邮票以迎接中国农历新年。在2013年,前总理哈珀曾以“意外来宾”的身份现身于Aberdeen Center和列治文山晚会与华人共庆新春佳节。在2016年,特鲁多总理亦出席了温哥华的庆龙宴以欢庆猴年的到来。此外许多国会议员、省议员和市议员也经常会出席音乐会、中国京剧表演、欢庆活动及表演秀等各种中国新年庆祝活动。

The Royal Canadian Mint also marked Chinese New Year with a new series of coins in the past, and Canada Post, like any previous years, issued special stamps in 2016 to welcome the new year. In 2013 PM Stephen Harper appeared at the gala events at Aberdeen Center and Richmond Hill for Chinese New Year celebration as a surprise guest. And in 2016, PM Trudeau attended dragon ball gala in Vancouver in celebration of the year of the Monkey. Many MPs, MPPs and city councillors frequently appeared in various Chinese New Year celebrations – from concerts, Peking opera performances to events and shows. 

虽然春节动议得以通过,但今年的庆祝活动与往年并没有明显的差别。除了举行幸运红包和舞狮等具有中国传统特色的常规年度庆祝活动外,在包括谭耕的选区在内的各个选区的国会议员并没有举办任何特别活动。在谭耕代表的Don Valley North选区,也只是在2月5日于社区中心举行了三个小时的庆祝活动。据网上公布的活动介绍称,“期间将有少量文化表演,并会供应一些小点心。”

And there was nothing strikingly different in this year’s celebration -- after the motion was passed. MPs in different ridings –  including Tan’s riding -- were not seen doing anything special, apart from holding some regular annual celebration featuring old Chinese tradition – such as lucky red pockets and lion dance. In Tan’s riding, Don Valley North, there was only a three-hour event to be held at a community center on Feb. 5. “There will be light culture performance and light refreshment available,” according to the description of the event posted on the internet.

实际上,只有让中国春节成为法定假日才能让这一节日在加国占据更重要的地位。这是加国华裔社区各行业人士的深切而长久的期望,它不仅可让这一传统节日的庆祝方式更为多姿多彩,并能更好地起到联系来自各个族裔背景的加国人士的感情纽带之作用。但是,谭耕的该项动议却未能实现许多加拿大华人期许的目标。

In fact, only by establishing Chinese New Year as a statutory holiday can we make it more important in Canada. As a deep and long anticipated wish of people from all walks of life in the community, a statutory holiday would bring more joy and fun, allowing it to better connect and engage Canadians from all racial and ethnic backgrounds. But Tan’s motion failed to achieve the goal that many Chinese Canadians had desired.

身为华裔移民二代的Kevin Liu在被告知加国对春节的认可时称:“认不认可对我和家人来说没什么区别。尽管我的家人秉承中国传统会进行长达两周的庆祝,但我在周五(除夕)仍然必须工作到下午5点,在周一早上仍要回到办公室上班。”

 “I am not sure what difference it has made to me or my family,” said Kevin Liu, a second generation of Chinese Canadian when told about Tan’s motion. “I still have to work till 5pm on Friday (the New Year Eve), and go back to office on Monday morning, despite the fact that my family carries on the Chinese tradition with two weeks’ long celebration.”

毫无置疑,纳税人将为这项经过长达三个月的议会辩论,投票而通过的动议买单。但这项动议并未对加国的多元文化产生显著影响,也未能改变中国传统文化在加国被认可的深度。如果这一动议不能为将来议会通过条款将中国春节定为法定节日的作用,它则将成为一个浪费纳税人税款的,毫无意义及用处的动议。

The motion, which would put taxpayers on the hook for its three months long parliament debate, vote and pass, lacks significant impact on Canada’s multiculturalism, and has not made any significant difference in recognizing Chinese cultural traditions in Canada. It would be a needless motion -- and a waste of taxpayers ‘s money -- if it fails to serve as a stepping stone to future parliament bill that designates Chinese New Year as a statutory holiday in Canada. 
 

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