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Hill Life & People

‘Why don’t you go back to where you came from?’: what it’s like to be a visible-minority MP

By Charelle Evelyn      

While Parliament Hill is generally a welcoming environment, MPs of colour can still face the pitfalls of race discrimination, both at home and in Ottawa.

'I must say that I was afraid because I thought ‘It’s going to be hard,’' says Quebec NDP MP Anne Minh-Thu Quach of her constituents’ reaction to NDP leadership winner Jagmeet Singh. 'Jagmeet came to a restaurant to meet with me during the campaign and everyone was looking at us.' She's invited Mr. Singh to her riding so her constituents can meet him and dispel any concerns head on. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade
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“I rarely feel hurt.” Growing up in a predominantly white community, where a quarter of the small local Vietnamese population consists of her own family members, NDP MP Anne Minh-Thu Quach (Salaberry-Suroît, Que.) said she isn’t shaken by discriminatory or racist remarks levelled at her. “Yes, there were some bad comments, and ‘Go back to your country’ when I was younger,” but Ms. Quach said she’s been pretty “lucky” when it comes to brushes with racism as a

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