MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR (2019-2021)
As I enter into my 3rd term as President of the Chinese Benevolent Association of Edmonton (CBA), I reflect on the history of the CBA, which is in its 90th year of operations. The CBA was established in 1929 with a mandate of providing support to the Chinese, who came over to Canada as labourers to build the Canadian Pacific Railway in the late 1800s. It was said that for every 5 km of the railway track built, a Chinese labourer died on the job. On completion of the CPR that linked Canada from East to West, these Chinese Labourers became jobless and homeless. The implementation of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1923 by the Canadian Government resulted in many Chinese labourers having no family support. Many Chinese Clans, e.g. Mah's and Wong's, established organizations to provide support to their clan members whilst non-clan members had to seek support elsewhere. Thus, a national organization - the Chinese Benevolent Association - was established in a number of cities across Canada, mandated to provide support to the Chinese labourers then.
The CBA faced many challenges in its early days. It has now become a well-established and respected Chinese organization. Our mandate has changed to more of an advocacy role looking into community needs and taking on initiatives that demonstrate the cohesiveness of the Chinese community in Edmonton. The CBA is proud to say that over the last 30 years, the CBA has, with the support of the government, Chinese community organizations, and members, initiated and completed a number of community projects, such as the Edmonton Chinatown Multi-Cultural Centre in 1985, Chinese Elders Mansion Tower I and II in 1997 and 1991 respectively, the Chinese Seniors Lodge in 1997, and the Edmonton Chinatown Care Centre in 2004.
Apart from the above and many other smaller initiatives, the CBA has also initiated a number of annual and biannual events that are shared, not only within the Chinese community but also, with Edmontonians at large. These annual events include the Canada Day celebration in Heritage Chinatown, the Mid-Autumn Festival, Chinatown Conferences, Heart Health and Health Fair, K-Days Parade, National Day celebration and the Lunar New Year, etc.
As we pass the Baby Boomers Generation, and expect the incoming presence of the Millennial Generation of the X, Y, and Z, we hope to have the X, Y, and Z generations join Chinese community organizations to carry on and showcase the heritage of Chinese culture and also to carry on our vision of a vibrant, healthy, and compassionate community, united through solidarity and equality.
Very sincerely yours,
President - Chinese Benevolent Association of Edmonton
MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR (2017-2019)
The past two years have been an eventful period for the Edmonton Chinese Benevolent Association.
One of the most memorable highlights in 2016 must be the K- Day parade in which the Chinese Community float, for the second time, won the first prize - the Mayor’s Trophy. The theme was the Great Wall of China, and thanks to the leadership of K-Day Parade Planning Committee and the design and construction skills of the contracting company. The colourful and magnificent float was a huge hit.
Last year was the third time we celebrated the Mid-Autumn Festival at Churchill Square in Downtown Edmonton. It was again a great success with thousands of people taking in the festive mood. It was a great opportunity for the public to get close to genuine Chinese culture. A similar event, on a smaller scale, was the street performance and barbecue on Canada Day. The location was switched to 96 Street in front of the Wong’s Benevolent Association, who had graciously allowed us to use their facility for basic services. We will continue with these activities in coming years.
The University of Alberta offers a Global leadership course in Edmonton for Senior Public and University Administrators from People’s Republic of China (PRC) to augment their knowledge and skills. CBA has conducted tours of Chinatown for these groups from PRC to help them gain a better and deeper understanding of the local Chinese Community. The tours were very well received with the participants expressing genuine surprise at the vibrancy and history of the Edmonton Chinese Community.
The relationship between the Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China in Calgary and the Edmonton Chinese Community has always been warm and cordial. It was further strengthened by a recent visit from the PRC Ambassador to Canada who hosted a forum with leaders of the Chinese Community at the CBA Community Meeting Hall. The event concluded successfully with an open discussion between the Ambassador and the community leaders.
The most recent issue facing Chinatown is the proposed supervised injection sites (SIS) around Chinatown. We strongly opposed the consultation process which ignored the Chinese Business Community that are most impacted. We organized a protest rally and petitioned the three levels of government to proceed with great caution. It appears that we may be gaining some attention and our input could be considered. This is an important issue for which all Edmonton Chinese should unite and make our voices heard. We have to show the public the social injustice that is being imposed on our community.
This short report will not be complete without mentioning the good news on the progress of the Edmonton Chinese Young Leaders Council under the leadership of Nathan Ip and William Lau, two energetic and forward thinking young individuals who are willing to donate their talent and time for the betterment of the Chinese Community. These are the people who will shape the future and we should and will provide them with full support in their endeavours.
With our limited resources, we rely heavily on the support from Chinese Community Organizations whose generosity has enabled us to host events and activities for the benefit of the Chinese Communities and the citizens of Edmonton at large. We will continue to perform to the best of our ability for our community.
Very sincerely yours,
President, Chinese Benevolent Association
MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR (2015-2017)
In the next two or three years, significant changes will happen to the Chinese Community in Edmonton, such as the building of the new LRT, the relocation of the China Gate, and new sizeable developments like the new Royal Provincial Museum and the Hyatt Hotel which are springing up right at the door steps of Chinatown. What can we do to ensure that the best interests of the Chinese Community as a whole will be protected?
Needless to say, we must have a strong voice. To maintain a vibrant and robust Edmonton Chinese Community with cultural, social and political influence, we must strengthen ourselves from within. Our community will only be recognized as a respected and responsible part of society if we are united and coherent. To this end, we will all have to contribute towards a common goal ahead of our individual interests.
On another note, the CBA Board is very encouraged by the new Chinese Youth Council which was formed under the auspices of the CBA in the past year. These young people have shown great interest and commitment to the betterment of the Edmonton Chinese Community. Their energy and ability are highly admirable and they will be the able future leaders of our community before too long.
We thank many of the Chinese Community organizations for their participation and support in the past and we hope our good relationship will continue well into the future. Let us work together towards our common goal for success.
Yours most sincerely,
President, Chinese Benevolent Association