Nov. 13-19 has been proclaimed Multiculturalism Week here in British Columbia.
We are so fortunate to enjoy such a diverse cultural population throughout our province. Multiculturalism has become a way of life for us here in B.C., whether it is our rich history of First Nations or the many people and their various cultural backgrounds from more than 180 countries that now call British Columbia and Canada their home.
One of the true strengths of our province is multiculturalism because it shows that we are a society that cherishes cultural diversity and values inclusion. This is vital to expressing the type of province and place British Columbia is to other countries and helps us create strong bonds with nations across the world. The current Asia-Pacific trade mission Premier Christy Clark is on is an example of how this can help foster trade relationships and help B.C. economically too. During her trip through China, Premier Christy Clark signed a letter of intent between Barkerville and the Guangdong Museum of Overseas Chinese. This agreement will see a photographic exhibit documenting the lives of Chinese migrants that came to Barkerville in the late 19th and early 20th centuries during the gold rush displayed in the museum in the spring of 2013. This venture began when, in September 2006, a delegation from Guangdong Province visited Barkerville and was impressed with what had been done to preserve Chinese heritage there.
This is an example of the cultural diversity in northern B.C., as the people of Guangdong played a larger role in the history of rural British Columbia than many are probably aware of. So as northern B.C. is forging economic relationships in countries like China and India, we are discovering our countries already have an intertwined past that provides a great foundation for us to move forward together, as we work to create family-supporting jobs. So I encourage everyone to consider how fortunate we are to live in such an accepting and diverse province. Our lives are enriched by the diverse people and traditions we share and there is much we can learn from each other.
Donna Barnett is the Liberal MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin.