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Identity Politics in 2019 - The Karen Wang Affair

Identity politics in 2019: The Karen Wang Affair

Posted on January 30, 2019

Has identity politics reared it’s head in the lead up to the 2019 federal election, or had it been there all along, but this time, someone said what is usually kept behind closed doors?

On our last episode we spoke to three pollsters about what they see on the horizon heading into the 2019 vote.  For Burnaby South’s Karen Wang, it’s over before it started. Wang is a prominent young businesswoman in Burnaby, running a number of daycare centres.  She emigrated to Canada from China in 1999.  She is well known in the community of Burnaby and was selected by the Liberals to run in the Burnaby South by election on February 25th.  What heightened the profile of the by-election is that federal NDP leader, Jagmeet Singh was running there as well to gain a seat in Parliament.   He has been on the outside looking in when it came to Question Period. Needless to say a lot of eyes would be on this campaign to gauge the strength of the NDP and Liberal brands ahead of the October federal election.  

For those unfamiliar with Burnaby, about half the population is made up of immigrants, most from Asia.  It was Wang’s WeChat post that appealed to the Chinese Canadian community in Burnaby that got her thrown overboard from the good ship Liberal. In her post, she points out she is of Chinese descent and Singh is of Indian descent. By pointing out their heritage, Wang has been called a racist, forced out of the election and will not be given a second chance. Former MLA, Richard Lee will now carry the Liberal  banner for the 25th.  

Coming up on the Unpublished Cafe, we will chat with Caroline Andrew, Director, Centre on Governance at university of Ottawa and expert on Canadian politics.  

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