Organizations calling on Canada to rebuild country's historic Chinatowns

The Montreal-based Center for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR) is leading the call for the federal government to set up an action plan to restore and rebuild a central piece to the country's municipalities.

"There is a crying need to revive, revitalize and to build back Chinatowns," said Fo Niemi of CRARR.

A media conference Wednesday afternoon brought together community leaders representing Chinatowns in Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver.

They were calling on Justin Trudeau's Liberal government for help, asking Ottawa to set up a National Action Plan to Build Back Canada's Chinatowns.

"With proper understanding of Chinatown's significance and with an inclusive vision, then we can develop a plan to revitalize the community," said Jessica Chen of the Montreal Chinatown Working Group

Community leaders say they want the Trudeau government to set up an action plan to rebuild what's been a part of many cities' histories for 200 year.

Some argue they pay the same taxes as businesses downtown but don't always get the same treatment.

"Most of the businesses in the Chinese community are small ones, mom-and-pop shops, and hire a small number of employees, and they're usually low-paying jobs," said Joseph Yu Kai Wong, of Toronto's Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice.

"And most of them are female workers and older workers. And this is critically important for us to work together with the governments to help them."

They say they plan to reach out to various federal departments, hoping to work together whether it's to create jobs or help with infrastructure and urban planning.

"I think definitely we need it," said Eric Ku, owner of Dobe & Andy restaurant in Montreal.

"Chinatown over here is already small enough. And the fact that it's small and it's kind of dirty. There's a lot of homeless in Chinatown, we need a little end on that help also."

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