Reporter Sunny Dhillon quits Globe and Mail after being instructed to focus less on race in Vancouver election results

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      The Vancouver bureau of the Globe and Mail has one fewer news reporter today.

      In an article on Medium.com, Sunny Dhillon revealed that he quit following a disagreement with the B.C. bureau chief over the newspaper's coverage of civic election results.

      One of the big stories emerging out of Vancouver has been the election of a nearly all-white council. Only one person of colour, Pete Fry, will be among those sworn in next month.

      Fry's mother, Liberal MP Hedy Fry, was born in Trinidad.

      Nobody from the city's three largest racialized communities—Chinese, South Asian, and Filipinos—was elected to Vancouver city council in 2018. There's never been a Vancouver councillor who traces his roots back to the northwestern Indian state of Punjab, Vietnam, the Philippines, Africa, the Middle East, or Latin America.

      Another major development on October 20 was the election of eight women to Vancouver city council.

      "I had told the bureau chief I would, of course, mention the electing of the eight women," Dhillon wrote on Medium.com. "How could I not? How could a story about who didn’t make it to council not mention high up who did?

      "But the public discussion seemed to centre on the fact a city in which 45 per cent of people are of Asian descent did not have a single such person on council," he continued. "It seemed more a story of who was not represented than who was. I felt we were making a choice that would undercut the voices of people of colour."

      He added that to him, it "did not seem a story of triumph".

      Dhillon did not identify the bureau chief (Wendy Cox), whom he accused of not being receptive to what he was saying. He claimed she told him that a newsroom was "not a democracy".

      In his piece, Dhillon also stated that it became "more difficult to let things slide" as the world became "uglier in recent years".

      He noted that he "wasn't exactly thrilled with how we were doing on race before that".

      While he didn't elaborate on what he meant by that, the Globe and Mail has focused enormous attention on foreign buying of real estate in Vancouver as a key factor driving up prices.

      This has often been to the exclusion of other factors, such as quantitative easing, sustained low interest rates, the rate of millennial household formation, interprovincial migration (particularly from Alberta after oil prices crashed), municipal zoning restrictions, and baby boomers' equity in real estate, which is helping their children and grandchildren buy homes.

      The Globe and Mail has also seemed to have adopted a pro-Indian government approach in publishing commentaries about Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's trip to India earlier this year.

      Dhillon closed his piece by thanking his wife, family, and friends, as well as by apologizing to people he interviewed for stories that did not appear in the Globe and Mail.

      "I hope that in writing publicly about this I can have more of a positive impact than I feel I’ve had in recent years," he stated. "And if this post provides any support or comfort for other journalists of colour, or empowers them to share similar experiences, all the better."

      As a Vancouver-based journalist with the Globe and Mail, Dhillon distinguished himself with his coverage of solitary confinement, civil forfeiture, RCMP contracts, and carding practices by the Vancouver Police Department.

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