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

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

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. Northern Health confirmed it has the lowest vaccination rates amongst the province’s five regional health authorities. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Vaccination rates in Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake, Fort St James well below provincial average

COVID-19 immunization clinics for youth 12+ coming up in Fort St. James

Steve McAdam (left) is studying substrate conditions in the Nechako River and how they impact sturgeon eggs. The work will help design habitat restoration measures, said McAdam. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
Sturgeon egg studies to help inform future habitat restoration

“It’s an interesting, challenging issue,” says Steve McAdam

Saik’uz First Nation Coun. Jasmine Thomas and Chief Priscilla Mueller speak about the need for addiction treatment facility near Vanderhoof, March 2021. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Vanderhoof addiction treatment centre tries again with ministry support

Agriculture minister insists she is not interfering in land commission

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read