其次，這次市選帶來許多新的突破。比如，當選爲溫哥華市議員的黎拔佳，是溫哥華首位具台灣背景的市議員；律師李溢 屢敗屢戰，終於在本拿比市實現零的突破，成爲首名服務市政的華裔學務委員； 而列治文市的獨立市議員候選人陳奕心，在政黨候選人環伺中脫穎而出；在溫哥華島上薩尼治市，馬福林更譜寫了一曲從農夫到市長的傳奇。
English translation: The Positive Implication from the Fact that Chinese Canadians Performed Better in the Elections in B.C.
Vancouver has a high reputation among the overseas Chinese, not only because of its beautiful scenery and its position as one of the best cities to live, but also due to the fact that Vancouver is an important hub for the Chinese from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan to connect with the rest of world. The Chinese community in Vancouver reflects how enthusiastic Chinese Canadians are in getting involved in local society and politics. In the province of British Columbia, where Vancouver is located, a municipal election has recently ended. It has significant meaning for Chinese Canadians and a positive implication for the political participation of Chinese immigrants in North America.
First of all, the race: Many Chinese Canadian candidates appeared and became successful in the election. There were 32 candidates from multiple cities in B.C. competing for positions that represent public opinion at various levels of the local municipal government. Fourteen of them were successful. That is a success rate of over 40%. Chinese Canadian candidates won three councillor positions from a total of ten in the city of Vancouver. One candidate won the election for the Mayor of Victoria, the capital of B.C., a second time. This is not usual in North America. It seems that the Chinese community has stepped out of the tradition of avoiding standing out and staying away from politics, and has become braver in political participation. Furthermore, municipal governments are different from provincial and federal governments. They are closer to citizens’ everyday lives. So Chinese Canadians’ political participation in Vancouver has extended to all levels of the society, especially the bottom, and established a good foundation.
Secondly, there were several achievements in the election. For example, B.C. Lee, elected as a Vancouver Councillor, is the first municipal councillor member with a Taiwanese background. Lawyer Liyi became the first Chinese Canadian elected as a school district trustee in Burnaby after several losses in previous elections. Cynthia Chen, an independent candidate for a spot as a Richmond councillor, won over many competitors from the parties. Jack Mar turned himself from a farmer into the mayor of Saanich on Vancouver Island.
Moreover, Chinese Canadians’ political participation no longer just follows the lead of the ruling party. No longer are they placing all their eggs in one basket. It is becoming more diverse. The fact that Chinese Canadian candidates are joining different parties or becoming independent candidates show how much more Chinese Canadians are participating in politics. It helps to get rid of potential racial discrimination against Chinese communities and changes the stereotypes about Chinese Canadians in society.
Thirdly, the candidates had more diverse backgrounds. Previously, more electoral candidates representing the North American Chinese communities were second or third generation Chinese immigrants, who are usually born locally. Later, due to the increase of immigrants from Hong Kong, there were more candidates with a Hong Kong background. This election, the candidates’ backgrounds varied, from local-born Chinese Canadians to first-generation immigrants from Hong Kong and Taiwan. They looked beyond regional and political differences and attracted votes from the entirety of the Chinese community. This means that Chinese Canadians have stepped out of narrow identification concepts and consider residing in Canada as a common element in pursuing common benefits. This is a symbol of a mature community. Mainland China recently became the main source of new immigrants. With less time spent in the community and less understanding of the local political system, there are not enough candidates from this group. But in the future, things will improve.
Fourthly, according to the research of academic institutes, the Chinese Canadians mainly gathered in cities, such as Vancouver and Richmond. Although the voting rate is still not high as other communities, the votes of Chinese Canadians may decide the election results when the two main parties are evenly matched in an election. Using the election of the Mayor of Vancouver as an example, we found that the mayor candidate Jim Green, who represents the central left spectrum, was originally ahead of the NPA candidate Sam Sullivan in terms of votes. Because more than 70% of Chinese Canadians voted for Sam Sullivan, Jim Green lost, which made Canadian society notice the ballots of Chinese Canadians. Because of this, many candidates had Chinese names in this election. Sam Sullivan can even speak some Cantonese. This shows that the votes of Chinese Canadians may extend their regional advantage and impact election results, indirectly affecting the future development of the municipal politics. A similar situation may show in future provincial and federal elections.
In summary, Chinese Canadians in Vancouver and British Columbia have begun participating more in politics as a whole, no matter their views on quantity or quality or location. This upward trend may extend to Toronto, San Francisco, Los Angles, and New York. The Chinese communities in North America need to increase communication with each other and exchange their successful experiences. Of course, the Chinese Canadians in Vancouver will not be satisfied with their achievements. We look forward to having a Chinese Canadian serving as the Vancouver mayor or as the premier of British Columbia. To achieve these goals, Chinese Canadian voters need to increase their vote rate and explore how they can attract non-Chinese Canadian voters with an overall similar viewpoint. This will help society as a whole to understand the views of Chinese Canadians. Therefore, Chinese Canadians will participate more in politics.