On behalf of the Confederation of Greater Toronto Chinese Business Association, and its founding members, Markham Richmond Hill & Vaughan Chinese Business Association, Mississauga Chinese Business Association, Scarborough York Region Chinese Business Association and Toronto Chinese Business Association, together with the support of Association of Chinese Canadian Entrepreneurs, Canada Hong Kong Alliance, Asian Network Business Association, Canadian of Pakistani Origin, Fair and Responsible Governance Alliance, Fete Chinoise, Canada Shanghai Business Association, Guangzhou Association of Toronto, Jiangsu Commerce Council of Canada, Support Enhance Access Service Centre, Toronto Cathay Lions Club and Toronto Elegant Lions Club, we are writing to address the recent comments made by the Member of Parliament for the riding of Hastings – Lennox and Addington, and current Conservative Party of Canada leadership candidate, Derek Sloan.
We are concerned about certain comments made by Mr. Sloan regarding Dr. Theresa Tam, the country’s Chief Public Health Officer, in which Mr. Sloan questions, among other things, whether Dr. Tam, a Chinese Canadian, “works for Canada or for China?” These statements, derived from Mr. Sloan’s views regarding the World Health Organization in its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, go on to suggest that Dr. Tam’s professional opinions have somehow been impacted by her ethnicity in that she “dutifully repeats the propaganda of a CCP government …”, and that upon such foundation, Mr. Sloan states that: “Dr. Tam must go! Canada must remain sovereign over decisions”.
We recognize an opposition MP’s right, and in fact obligation, to question as well and check and balance the decisions and actions or inactions of the government, and on occasion, its public arms. We are, however, of the view, that Mr. Sloan’s comments severely crosses the line of acceptability by fanning the flames of prejudice and discontent faced by all Canadians in these difficult times. Rather than simply stating facts and basing such facts derived from cogent argument regarding the issues at hand, Mr. Sloan (through his statements) has taken the unfortunate and often travelled path by focusing on race and ethnicity, and relying on populous and quasi-racist implications to support an unfounded and parochial position that Dr. Tam’s independence and professional judgement are at risk, and that she is somehow disloyal to Canada simply because she is of Chinese descent. In essence, is Mr. Sloan suggesting that the removal of an ethnic Chinese individual in Dr. Tam’s position would allow Canada to gain sovereignty over its decisions on COVID-19? Or is he implying that Dr. Tam stands for a particular race or group and not the multicultural whole as celebrated by our nation’s grand narrative?
Since his statements, Mr. Sloan has been widely condemned by the public, Members of Parliament (including many members of his own party), as well as County officials in his own riding of Hastings, who have called his comments “cruel, racist and completely unbecoming of a Member of Parliament”. Despite initial reluctance to address the issue, his party leader has since remarked that Mr. Sloan’s comments were “inappropriate”. In the face of such clear and obvious denouncements, Mr. Sloan still refuses to apologize for his remarks.
Despite the harm caused, it is especially disconcerting in the backdrop of larger issues relating to anti-Asian racism, that Mr. Sloan continues to remain steadfast in his position. It is on this basis that we call upon Mr. Sloan to unequivocally retract his statements and take responsibility for his actions. If Mr. Sloan still chooses to not apologize, despite given another opportunity to do so, we ask that his party take immediate and appropriate action to reject his behavior and to expel him from caucus lest it cast a cloud upon the entirety and credibility of the Opposition, as well as Parliament as a whole.
For further information, please contact:
Andy Chan, Ben Leung or Kenny Wan at firstname.lastname@example.org