Majority of Canadians say negative attitudes have increased towards Asian-Canadians: poll

Polling numbers support claims Asians in Canada have made for months – that the pandemic is causing more racist attitudes towards Asians. Xiaoli Li talks to a woman who experienced a racist attack, and is pushing for solidarity against racism.

By News staff

More than half of Canadians believe negative attitudes have increased towards Asian-Canadians since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

According to an Abacus Data poll, 57 per cent of respondents said they think negative attitudes towards Asian Canadians have been increasing. Forty per cent said attitudes are not changing and four per cent said negative attitudes are decreasing.

The poll also asked respondents if they felt resentful of people of Asian descent because of the coronavirus pandemic. Twelve per cent of respondents said yes and 88 per cent said no.

“A pretty significant number said that we see increase tensions towards, or negative sentiment towards the Asian community because of this,” said Bruce Anderson, Chairman of Abacus Data. “It’s another aspect of tensions between people of different races that we see right now.”

The Abacus Data survey randomly sampled 1,750 Canadian adults between June 5-10 and is considered accurate to within plus or minus 2.31 percentage points.

The novel coronavirus originated in Wuhan, China and has since spread across the globe resulting in over 7.7 million cases and more than 400,000 deaths.

The World Health Organization declared a pandemic on March 11, 2020.

Lockdowns in countries all around the world have been in effect since January with many beginning to lift restrictions.

In Canada, there are almost 100,000 COVID-19 cases with just over 8,000 deaths.

Asian-Canadians of all backgrounds have been seeing an increase in racially-motivated attacks across the country even prompting a response from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He said acts of hate, violence prejudice have no place in Canadian society during a press conference in May.

In Vancouver, there was a “staggering” increase in the number of hate-related and anti-Asian crimes in 2020, police said. There were at least 29 incidents reported as of May 22 with the alleged offences ranging from racial slurs and vandalism to assault.

Prior to the lockdown in Ontario, Toronto’s usually bustling Chinatown began to see a dramatic drop in business as early as late January when only two coronavirus cases had been reported in the country.

Canadian singer Bryan Adams also came under fire for comments posted on social media that many said were racist, saying he was contributing to anti-Chinese rhetoric surrounding the virus.

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