Dr. Ally Wang
On June 24, a public rally of nearly 3000 Canadians of Chinese descent took place on Parliament Hill, symbolizing a moment of reflection on the 100th year of the 1923 Chinese Immigration Act, aka Chinese Exclusion Act. Among the attendees was Dr. Ally Wang, the co-founder of the Stop Anti-Asian Hate Crime Advocacy Group and the Chinese Canadians Goto Vote Association.
Reflecting on the motivation behind her decision to fly across Canada from Vancouver to Ottawa to attend the rally, Wang said,
“It goes beyond personal experiences. It is about having the courage to speak out against discrimination, even when it does not directly affect us.”
Wang (left) and Vivian Poy, a retired senator in front of the Chinese Exclusion Act Memorial
Misunderstanding and even maligning surfaced about the rally, accusing that the event had received funding from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Wang feels disappointed at the baseless accusations.
“All the money was donated by individuals. It’s disheartening that when we engage in charitable activities, we face such accusations. If we don’t feel safe, shouldn’t we stand up and speak out?”
Wang’s unwavering dedication extends far beyond attending the gathering on Parliament Hill. Over the past seven years, she has been committed to fighting against discrimination and advocating for fairness and equality. As volunteers, Wang and her colleagues tirelessly call for votes and address complaints of discrimination, striving to make a positive impact on the lives of others.
“This is purely voluntary, I’ve never earned a penny in this community service”, said Wang.
Early life and turning moment
Wang’s professional journey began as a businesswoman in China. Later she pursued her Ph.D. in literature in Malaysia. In 2011, she came to Canada and eventually obtained citizenship in 2015. Her multicultural experiences provided her with a unique perspective on societal issues.
The year 2018 marked a turning point for Wang. Prior to that, she viewed Canada as a perfect place to live. However, a tragic incident made her notice some underlying societal issues she had previously overlooked.
A 13-year-old Chinese Canadian girl was found dead in Burnaby on July 8, 2017. RCMP arrested Ibrahim Ali as a primary suspect for the murder of her. During an interview about this case in 2018, Prime Minister Trudeau’s response appeared distant and lacking in genuine concern, even occasionally smiling. Wang observed a contrasting response from Trudeau when a Muslim girl of the same age reported being attacked by a passerby in Toronto in 2018. Trudeau immediately tweeted about the incident, criticizing the attacker. This double standard in the treatment of different communities led Wang to recognize potential social issues within Canadian society.
Motivated to make a change Wang sought to address the marginalization faced by Chinese Canadians. Wang realized that their reluctance to vote and express opinions in public hindered their empowerment. In response, she co-founded the Chinese Canadians Goto Vote Association, driven by the belief that Chinese Canadians should exercise their right to vote.
Wang at “Your Vote Matters”
The Chinese Canadian Goto Vote Association has developed events and interview programs such as “Your Vote Matters” which helps the Chinese community to understand the candidates’ backgrounds, campaign ideas, and community service experiences. Wang’s approach differs from advocating for a particular candidate. Instead, she encourages individuals to make independent, informed decisions based on their personal values and priorities.
“I do not write articles persuading individuals on which candidate they should vote for. My main goal is to inspire people to embrace their democratic rights by participating in the voting process”,
The Ongoing Effort
Wang attended a political gathering this April, where an unexpected conversation left a lasting impression.
During the event, a stranger approached Wang to discuss her career. Upon learning she worked for the Chinese Canadian Goto Vote Association, the stranger jokingly asked if she was a spy for the Chinese Communist Party. Wang felt that the nature of the jest was full of harmful stereotypes and discrimination, prompting her to consider the underlying intentions behind such remarks.
“As the saying goes, jokes are always half meant”, said Wang.
For Wang, this encounter serves as a powerful reminder of the challenges and prejudices faced by Chinese Canadians while advocating for their rights and empowerment. It fuels her commitment to community service and the fight against discrimination.
E-4395 Petition on Ourcommons website
In April 2023, Ally Wang took a proactive step in advocating for change by submitting a petition to Parliament, e-4395. The petition urges the Government of Canada to reconsider its proposed Foreign Influence Transparency Registry. Wang expressed concerns that the implementation of such a registry could potentially discourage individuals from engaging in civic and political activities, ultimately leading to further marginalization of Chinese Canadians within Canadian society. The petition gained signature support from more than 2400 citizens.
“If you don’t speak up, no one will stand up for you”,
Looking towards the future, Wang remains committed to her work in promoting Chinese Canadian participation in the upcoming B.C. Provincial Elections and Canadian Federal Elections.
“I don’t care about the rumors and defamation. I do care about what I am doing is the right thing. They will realize their mistakes one day”,
Her goal is to create a society that is free from discrimination and where everyone can enjoy equal rights and opportunities. Wang’s dedication is driven by her deep love for Canada and her belief in citizens’ responsibility.
“As Canadian citizens, we love this country. Since we love it, we should shape a brighter future”,
Written by Yuqi Feng
(Yuqi, a passionate journalism student currently pursuing her master’s degree at UBC. Having lived in China, the UK, and Canada, she covers news articles focusing on social justice, culture, and politics. )
Voices & Bridges publishes opinions like this from the community to encourage constructive discussion and debate on important issues. Views represented in the articles are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the V&B.