Education planned on B.C.’s racist history

NDP to hold event to educate students as B.C. government prepares apology to Chinese Canadians for discriminatory laws

Teresa Wat

The NDP has compiled its own history of B.C.’s official efforts at racial discrimination, from denying the vote to Chinese and Indian immigrants in 1872 to efforts to restrict Asian immigration in the 1930s.

NDP leader Adrian Dix said the dossier of racist actions by B.C. legislators is intended to accompany an apology to people of Chinese descent that the provincial government plans to deliver in the legislature this spring.

“I think it’s important that we take this work seriously, and that it not be just a one-day apology, but that it leads to reconciliation,” Dix said at a news conference in Vancouver Wednesday.

The NDP package mostly duplicates material previously posted by the B.C. government on a dedicated website. Richmond Centre MLA Teresa Wat, minister responsible for trade and multiculturalism, has organized a series of public consultations to prepare for the formal apology, expected during the spring legislature session.

The NDP records are posted on the official opposition website.

The first public forum was held in Kamloops in December. Others are set for Vancouver Jan. 12, Kelowna Jan. 14, Burnaby Jan. 20, Prince George Jan. 22 and Richmond Jan. 28.

Wat said the consultations will help determine the wording of the apology to the Chinese community, but no further financial compensation is being considered.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper made a formal apology to Chinese Canadians in 2006, and the federal government paid $20,000 each to families of immigrants who paid the “head tax” that was designed to deter Chinese immigration to Canada.

Records gleaned from the legislative library include 89 laws, some of which were passed in B.C. but struck down by Ottawa because they strayed into federal jurisdiction over immigration. Motions and debates up to the 1920s dealt with immigrant numbers and such issues as the number of “Orientals and Hindus” working in B.C. sawmills.

A B.C. apology to residents of Chinese descent was postponed last year after a document from Premier Christy Clark’s staff was leaked, describing a plan to use that and other ethnic appeals to build support for the B.C. Liberal Party.

The B.C. government issued a formal apology for the World War II-era internment of Japanese residents in May 2012.

Vancouver-Mount Pleasant MLA Jenny Kwan, who served as B.C.’s first Chinese Canadian cabinet minister during the NDP government of the 1990s, said artifacts from the racist era should be assembled for public display.

Dix said the documents will be used for an educational event with B.C. students in February, to get their suggestions on how the modern provincial government should respond.

 

 

Just Posted

Highlands seeks public input on secondary suites

Open house to take place sometime in the summer

Canada Junior Development team qualifies for World Cup in Japan

Nolan Thoroughgood finished the tourney fifth overall for Canada

Elements Casino offers space, resources to charities and community groups

New Platinum Room will be available free of charge

Get your smile on, Free Smile Day is coming up

Two dental clinics in View Royal and Sooke are offering free services on Monday

Parents grieving teen’s overdose death say it started with opioid prescription

Elliot Eurchuk, 16, died at his Oak Bay home Friday, after taking street drugs

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Final week for ALR input

Public consultation process closes April 30

‘When everybody leaves: Counselling key to help Humboldt move on after bus crash

Dealing with life after a tragedy can be the worst part following a loss

Ballet Victoria soirée fundraiser a prelude to final show of season

Company winds up its 15th season in the city with Peter Pan next month

Half-naked shooter guns down four, runs away in Nashville Waffle House shooting

Nashville police say they are looking for Travis Reinking in connection with the shooting

Child’s body found in river downstream from where boy went missing during flood

Three-year-old Kaden Young was swept out of his mother’s arms in February

B.C. VIEWS: Eliminating efficiency for farm workers

Don’t worry, NDP says, the B.C. economy’s booming

UVic’s Gustavson goes carbon neutral for air travel

As a way to offset the frequent airplane travel that comes with… Continue reading

B.C. student makes short-list for autism advocacy award

Brody Butts honoured for his role as a mentor and self-advocate

Most Read