The Surrey-White Rock Community Engagement Society co-hosts a Chinese New Year celebration Jan. 15 as Annie Guo plays the Guzheng. Frank Bucholtz says the group is doing “excellent work in assisting newer Canadians to become more fully-engaged citizens and community members.” (Theresa Zhang photo)

FRANKLY SPEAKING

Surrey-White Rock group serves as a bridge to Canadian society

Columnist Frank Bucholtz says helping new Canadians ‘participate in the community is a great objective’

A Surrey-based group is doing excellent work in assisting newer Canadians to become more fully-engaged citizens and community members.

Surrey-White Rock Community Engagement Society started several years ago and has quickly grown to involve hundreds of people – most of whom are of Chinese background. The organization, originally known as Surrey-White Rock Political Engagement Society, serves as a bridge for people.

They learn more about the Canadian way of life and are able to contrast it with their former countries and ways of doing things. For people who come from Mainland China, for example, there is no equivalent to the democratic system of elections and dialogue with leaders between elections that we take for granted in Canada.

That was the original mission of the group—to help newer Canadians be able to fully participate in the democratic system. Since that time, its mission has broadened to offer education on how to fully participate in Canadian society.

The approach the society has taken is basically an ongoing course in civics. It is an approach that would work very well with new Canadians who have come here from other parts of the world. It would help them to find their feet and become fully-participating members of Canadian society more easily.

SWRCES held a Chinese New Year celebration at the Imperial Garden, a South Surrey restaurant, on Jan. 15 (a very snowy night). The weather did not hamper attendance.

The event was held in conjunction with the South Surrey White Rock Chamber of Commerce, and it was a great opportunity for members of two distinct groups – the business community and new Canadians – to mingle and better understand one another.

My first knowledge of this group came when I was asked by their leaders to moderate a candidates’ forum in the South Surrey-White Rock federal riding last fall. It was a new experience for me—to speak and operate in the English language and allow time for translation into the Chinese language. The forum at White Rock Community Centre was very well-attended, and it unquestionably increased voter participation.

The society holds regular forums known as Cornerstone Community Forums, which allows its members to get to know community leaders, put questions to them, and fully understand what they say through translation. These have been very successful and continue on a regular basis.

We all know Canada is a great place to live, and regularly welcome arrivals from all over the globe. Surrey is home to a large number of new Canadians who speak many languages and come from a wide variety of cultures. Helping them to feel more comfortable in their new homes and participate in the community is a great objective.



editor@cloverdalereporter.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Cloverdale’s Coldest Night of the Year charity walk raises $125K

Annual event sees more than 500 walkers take part

Man pleads guilty to stabbing woman, off-duty cop outside North Delta elementary school

The suspect, whose name is under a publication ban, faced 10 charges in relation to this incident

All-Surrey battle for South Fraser boys basketball title

At Tamanawis, the top four teams will go to provincials

Surrey RCMP boss Brian Edwards on moving forward, and what keeps him awake at night

Edwards spoke with Now-Leader reporter Tom Zytaruk about what he’s learning and hopes to accomplish as Surrey’s top cop

Hopes are for ‘focus on Surrey investments’ when Horgan speaks in March

Luncheon at golf course planned by Surrey Board of Trade

VIDEO: Illicit drug overdoses killed 981 in B.C. in 2019, down 38%

Chief coroner says figures were down about a third in the province’s fourth year of the opioid crisis

VIDEO: Protesters block tracks in Maple Ridge

West Coast Express train service has been suspended, buses arranged for commuters

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

Motorists were ‘driving like their own Indy 500’ before fatal Abbotsford crash, court hears

Family member declares defence request for 90-day jail sentence a ‘joke’

B.C. takes over another Retirement Concepts senior care home

Summerland facility latest to have administrator appointed

RCMP pull office from Wet’suwet’en territory, but hereditary chiefs still want patrols to end

Chief says temporary closure of field office not enough as Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute drags on

Prescription opioids getting B.C. addicts off ‘poisoned’ street drugs

Minister Judy Darcy says Abbotsford pilot project working

Royals, Elvis, Captain Cook: Hundreds of wax figures find new life in B.C. man’s home

Former director of Victoria’s Royal London Wax Museum still hopes to revive wax figure tourism

Teck CEO says Frontier withdrawal a result of tensions over climate, reconciliation

Don Lindsay speaks at mining conference, a day after announcing suspension of oilsands project

Most Read