Imtiaz Popat, a long-time equal rights and social justice activist and therapeutic counsellor, is running for mayor of Vancouver as an independent. He is a co-founder of the Coalition Against Bigotry-Pacific and the Community Based Anti-Hate Task Force.
Popat says racism and bigotry are not to be talked about in this election. He feels that political parties don’t listen and use minorities as tokens in elections and then they are forgotten. He thinks that they can’t talk about racism or bigotry, until they deal with bigotry in their own parties.
We have seen the rise of hate in Vancouver but it does not seem to be a priority for our governments, says Popat. The police are not doing enough to protect us from hate mongering. But they are quick to arrest protesters and the homeless, says Popat. There clearly is an inherit bigotry in the police system and we cannot rely on them to protect us. He sees there is need for change and supports police reforms that are proposed by the provincial government, but he says that there is a lack of political leadership in Vancouver.
In March 2022, Popat received the BC Anti-Racism Intercultural Trust Award, recognising outstanding work in building intercultural trust and understanding and/or reducing racism and hate between communities earlier this year.