Thirty years ago, Manitoba saw an influx of what was then known as “boat people.” Vietnamese refugees. You want to talk poverty? You want to talk culture? Here were thousands of peasants brought from a tropical rain forest to the coldest city of its size on the planet. Ripped from their cultural roots, living in poverty worse than any Indian reserve, what happened to them?
Well, last time we looked, they were hard working taxpayers, often running sweaty corner stores or getting up early to go to their factory jobs to raise their families and watch their children collect university degrees rather than criminal records.
Twenty-five years ago we saw a new batch of immigrants, what we then called East Indians to differentiate them from the local variety. Talk about racism. With their beards and turbans they attracted the evil attention of every lunatic in the country. Where are they now?
Well, they eventually bought the taxi company that gave them their first jobs in this country. We see them in Parliament and in the hospitals. We never heard police ask for help finding a suspect “Sikh in appearance.”
And the native people who were here when the Vietnamese arrived. Still whining about their lost culture. And the aboriginal people who saw the Indians arrive? Still whining about how they’re all in jail because of racism. And still on welfare or begging for money downtown.