Taichung became a sister city of Winnipeg in 1982. The incumbent Mayor of Winnipeg Brian Bowman visited Taichung City Hall today (29th), and he was welcomed by Deputy Mayor Linghu on behalf of Mayor Shiow-yen Lu. Both parties exchanged experiences in regards to wide-ranging topics such as indigenous policy, smart city, agriculture, and cultural activities. As a former Republic of China (Taiwan) Representative and de facto ambassador to Canada, Deputy Mayor Linghu shared interesting details about his work and life in the country at the time with Mayor Bowman, who praised the warm hospitality of Taiwanese citizens in return. Both parties engaged in pleasant dialogues and it is hoped that further exchanges will take place between the 2 cities in order to reinforce friendship.
Mayor Brian Bowman of Winnipeg, Manitoba in Canada, Councilor John Orlikow, and Manager of Protocol Lisa Blake visited Taiwan during March 25-31 to attend the 2019 Smart City Summit & Expo. Since Taichung became a sister city of Winnipeg in 1982, Mayor Bowman paid a visit to Taichung City Hall today, followed by the National Taichung Theater and Taichung flora expo in a bid to strengthen ties between the 2 sister cities.
According to Deputy Mayor Linghu, he holds a special bond with Canada, because he was the former Director General of the Department of North American Affairs, MOFA before assuming the post as the Representative and de facto ambassador to Canada. His achievements include visa exemption for holders of ROC passports entering Canada and other major policies. He was honored to welcome the dignitaries as the Deputy Mayor of Taichung in an effort to solidify bilateral relations.
In addition, Deputy Mayor Linghu pointed out that Taichung is a vital city in Taiwan with the second largest population in the country (2.8 million). After the city-county consolidation in 2010, the area of Taichung reached 2,215 km2, divided into the mountain, coastal, central, and urban area. The city offers a pleasant climate, advantageous location, and a wide array of industries including hand tools, smart machinery, semiconductor, and bicycle. In the future, both cities can learn from each other in promoting the smart city, thereby increasing the quality of life for the citizens.
Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman suggested that this is his first official visit to an overseas sister city after assuming office, hoping to open dialogues with Taichung in relation to the smart city, indigenous policy, and agriculture. He praised the friendliness and hospitality of the Taiwanese people, as well as the delectable local cuisine. Mayor Bowman also expressed his gratitude to Deputy Mayor Linghu for his company.
Mayor Bowman commented that the Canadian indigenous population is divided into 3 major groups, namely First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples. As a Métis and member of an ethnic minority group, he is honored to be appointed as the Mayor, as this not only opens a new chapter in the history books but also proves to the younger indigenous groups that “nothing is impossible as long as you are willing to put your mind to it”.
He also mentioned that Canada has undergone a long and arduous process in promoting indigenous policies, including historical scars left by the Indian residential school incident. Although indigenous peoples only constitute 11% of Winnipeg's total population, the figure is expected to grow to 25% within the next 15-20 years. By continuing to promote indigenous education and social welfare benefits, the indigenous peoples can regain their self-confidence and the social status of ethnic minorities will be improved.
As for Taichung's indigenous policy, Mayor Bowman suggested that a century ago, the Canadian government forcibly removed indigenous children from their villages and placed them in urban schools for the political purposes of assimilation. As a result, the peaceful coexistence of different ethnic groups was affected. Now, with Taichung City Hall intending to create an indigenous economic development zone in the city to facilitate employment, he is worried that when the center gradually expands to the other areas, it will trigger concerns and anxieties about the assimilation of indigenous peoples, hence he recommended that Taichung can take Canada's experience into consideration when implementing similar policies in order to foster coexistence and co-prosperity among different ethnic groups.