Mr. Speaker, on Sunday, November 2, I had the honour to unveil the Chinatown Memorial Square place marker in Vancouver. Sculpted by Arthur Shu-Ren Cheng and funded by the federal government and the Chinatown Business Association through the Vancouver agreement, the monument depicts a Chinese soldier and a railway worker, with a column between them representing the Chinese character for “centre”.
It is part of the revitalization of historic Chinatown in the downtown east side, while paying tribute to the Chinese indentured labourers who faced hazardous working conditions and often death to build a nation, connecting it from sea to sea via the Canadian Pacific Railway.
It also honours the same Chinese immigrants who gave their lives in the war to protect a country that at the same time denied them citizenship and the right to unite with their families.
Today, as the children of those immigrants play a full and equal role in the economic, political and social life of Canada, this monument reminds them of the bitter history of their ancestors and of their loyalty and courage in the face of discrimination and hardship.
Lest we all forget.