Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan says people often overlook advantages of immigration

On Saturday (August 16), the City of Burnaby was a major supporter of the Korean Cultural Heritage Festival at Swangard Stadium.

Photos

After opening remarks by NDP MLA Jane Shin, Mayor Derek Corrigan jokingly promised more sunshine by the afternoon.

Then he took a moment to praise Shin, who won a narrow victory in Burnaby-Lougheed in the 2013 provincial election.

"I have been accused on many occasions of having brought Jane Shin into politics, but what a terrific MLA—the first Korean MLA elected in British Columbia," Corrigan said to loud applause. "It is a good sign because I am sure there are going to be more and more people of Korean heritage who are elected right across British Columbia on city councils, school boards, and the provincial and federal government over the future years."

Then the mayor made a direct pitch to those in the audience.

"Right out there, I see future city councillors," Corrigan said. "So let me know if you're interested in running for elected office."

Surrey councillor Barinder Rasode and Burnaby-Lougheed NDP MLA Jane Shin snuggle up as Coun. Nick Volkow appears in the background.
Charlie Smith

When Corrigan returned to his seat in the stands, he spoke to the Straight about how Burnaby is benefiting from increased diversity and immigration.

He emphasized that in a knowledge-based economy, the infusion of different cultures results in greater ingenuity, creativity, and innovation.

"More homogenous cultures have problems in being able to develop the kind of creative chaos that stimulates the kind of new thinking that's necessary to look at a changing world," he said. "So we're right on the cutting edge, bringing together people from Afghanistan to Zanzibar. There's a hundred different languages spoken in our community. We're bringing the best and brightest here in order to find ways to bring...better opportunity."

He acknowledged that there are those who see multiculturalism and immigration as "something being taken away from them". But he firmly disagrees with that sentiment.

"Often, you get the idea from people that somehow there's a loss as a result of people coming here," Corrigan said. "They're not able to get opportunities they once had. I think that's wrong. I think there are more opportunities being created for their children."

He suggested that Greater Vancouver is becoming one of the most progressive places on the planet as a result of immigration. He also noted that this region is starting to be ranked alongside cities like New York and London, which are much older and larger, in part because of its diversity.

"Whether it's Athens or Carthage, whether it was Alexandria or it was Baghdad, whether it was Rome or London or Paris, all the great cities of the world have been cities of immigrants," Corrigan said. "And we are cities of immigrants and we are destined to be a great city."

Comments (10) Add New Comment
Kim Reynolds
To compare the Korean people to those of middle east is like comparing apples and oranges. The Korean People are progressive and industrious. The City of Seoul was a pile of rubble in 1950 after the Chinese left. Today it is a modern progressive City That doesn't depend on handouts from other Nations. They are a warm and loving nation. Remember "The Land of the Morning Clam. which speaks volumes for this Nation.
Cheers
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cathy
He may appreciate immigrants but too bad Mayor Corrigan does not see the advantage of preserving local farmland.
He was one of those on the Metro Board who voted in favour of building hundreds of units of housing on valuable farmland here South Delta.
Also he does not appreciate the advise of professional staff as they advised against this development but he and others went ahead anyways.

So Mayor Corrigan only see's advantages and appreciates situations only when it is beneficial to him and getting votes, not what is the right thing to do.
He's just another politician.
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dissagree
While immigration does indeed enrich our society and provides excellent opportunity, I feel that there is a strong and evident problem with today's immigrants. Being one myself, I feel that the culture and customs of real Canadians are largely disrespected and ignored. Immigration is no longer the answer anymore. It becomes a real problem when I cannot find a job due to me not speaking Mandarin or Cantonese.
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Flip side of the coin....
Canada has high unemployment; how about employing a "no immigration" policy until those of us who live here are working?
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disagree
you cant get a job because those languages are the languages of the new century. Better learn them or else you will suffer.
Just like the Chinese learned English and prospered. So too must us white folks.
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Be objective
The Straight needs to be objective in its reporting on MLA Jane Shin.
Also, what does it matter if she is the first Korean MLA in B.C.
What matters is who and how.
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Morgus
"To compare the Korean people to those of middle east is like comparing apples and oranges. The Korean People are progressive and industrious. The City of Seoul was a pile of rubble in 1950 after the Chinese left. Today it is a modern progressive City That doesn't depend on handouts from other Nations. They are a warm and loving nation. Remember "The Land of the Morning Clam. which speaks volumes for this Nation."

Seoul is a modern city because of Korea's protectionist development policies, outsourcing and American aid, not because Koreans, who are not known for their warmth or progressiveness but rather rampant xenophobia, materialism, being obsessed with their appearance and bible thumping, are superior.

They are not known for being overly loving, or even attached to anyone they don't know either as the store with known design faults that collapsed and the recent shipwreck where kids were abandoned prove.
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WTF!
I don't get the Georgia Straight's censorship policy. Isn't the first comment on here blatantly racist?

Kim Reynold's writes: "To compare the Korean people to those of middle east is like comparing apples and oranges. The Korean People are progressive and industrious."

This implies that people from the Middle East are NOT progressive and industrious. What were you thinking? I bet if the author substituted the word English for Korean it would have never been published. If I'm reading this wrong I hope Charlie Smith will make a comment about it.

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@disagree (idiot one)
You are obviously not white, you are Chinese. Don't think that you can come to my country and complete disrespect everything Canadians of generations past have done. Its attitudes like yours that make me fed up with the current state of immigration. Why must I be forced to embrace you, you're customs and you're way of life when you cannot merely show up to even a remembrance day ceremony?

The new world; you think about and respect the people of a country you call home, not when it's convenient
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Kim Reynolds
I have been to Korea a number of times. I was there for one year the first time (1950-51) and its not all about making money its about a place to live. Would you live in the middle East? They have been at war forever. To call it racism because I think the Koreans are industrious and progressive is not just so.
Cheers
Kim Reynods
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