A businessman in Richmond, B.C., is hosting the first of what he hopes will be a series of forums to bridge the language barrier between local politicians and the many residents who don't speak English.
Organizer Peter Liu says Chinese-speaking residents have no way of expressing their concerns to politicians.
"A lot of people, they just want to ask questions," he said. "They want to know why and how and what, those kind of questions to the city and to the province and provincial government."
The first politician to be invited is Richmond council member Bill McNulty, and the theme is community safety. The event is taking place from 10 to 11 a.m. at the China House Seafood Restaurant.
Liu says more than 50 people have registered so far.
"It's pretty much a trial, and we'll test the water and see how it goes," he said. "If people like this kind of forum, let's run some more."
Liu will be translating between the two sides — which he says he already does quite often.
"Every day people ask why this, why that, and they want me to introduce them to the city, to the councillors, to the MPs," he said. "I cannot bring each one of them to the city to help them do one-to-one communication."
Future meetings could see politicians invited from municipal, provincial or federal parties. Liu says he hopes to hold meetings every two weeks at a local restaurant.