Long-awaited apology to Chinese-Canadians for historic racism to be delivered in Victoria

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Long-awaited apology to Chinese-Canadians for historic racism to be delivered in Victoria

It will be an historic day at the provincial legislature tomorrow (Thursday), as politicians deliver an apology to Chinese-Canadians for racist policies of the past.

Premier Christy Clark says the statement has been approved by all parties.

“We’ve worked very hard with the NDP and the Greens and the independent members to try and formulate the nature, kind of the content of the apology. Nothing is ever perfect, I don’t think you can ever do anything that everybody agrees with, but I do think there’s a really broad level of support for this apology, and it is about time.”

While Clark has previously said the apology will not include compensation for the discriminatory Chinese head tax, she now won’t say if Thursday’s statement comes with cash.


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  1. I object very strongly to this whole situation of apologizing continuously for the sins of my fathers. Rightly or wrongly, what was done in the past was the norm for the times. Let it rest. Coincidentally it seems that the more compensation that may be forthcoming the more of a hue and cry is uttered by those supposedly wronged.

    • I agree. While what happened at the time was not right we cannot judge based on those times. This is due to all of the political correctness that is out there now.
      At most the words should be that we are sorry that based on today’s society what happened was wrong. There should not be any financial contribution to the 3rd or 4th generation survivors. They were not mistreated.

  2. Well, it’s about time that British Columbia issued an apology to the Chinese-Canadian community for the province’s role in the discriminatory head tax imposed on the Chinese as a condition for entry into Canada.

    This follows on the heels of a British Columbia apology issued in 2012 to the Japanese-Canadian community for the province’s role in the unjust internment of Canadian Japanese (landed immigrants, Canadians by naturalization and Canadians by birth) during and after ww2.

    While there may no longer be survivors still alive who were subjected to the discriminatory head tax, there certainly are many survivors of the ww2 internment still alive to this day.

    Hopefully, the government will now engage in an initiative to ensure that the sordid story of racism that existed in British Columbia that began with the exploitation of Chinese workers to build the CPR, which continued unabated for at least half of the 20th century is recorded and never forgotten. After all, it is part of our history.

    Why are apologies appropriate even though many decades have passed? Because it is the right thing to do. Let’s not confuse racism in Canada with what happened between enemy countries during war.

    That said, Canada deserved to receive an apology for Japan’s inhumane treatment of Canadians taken prisoners at Hong Kong.

    But it is unfathomable that a seven year old Canadaian-born child should be held responsible for Japan’s atrocities-who had nothing to do with that. Unfortunately, white British Columbians were not of such mind at the time.

  3. This was one of Christy Clarks my heart was always with the railways workers.This was part Ethnic outreach during the election,I wonder what else was promised at those tea parties that no NDP were invited to come very deliberately! I wonder when the RCMP investigation over the Ethnic outreach scandal will be concluded. A sincere apology is not the issue, what was promised to get their votes during the last election just an apology and a seniors home?

  4. A few questions for those that want to wrap themselves in the god of PC:
    So who is going to apologize to us “white” men when we go to government and see jobs posted that states “preference will be given to people of a recognizable minority, women and natives” (we will see ‘alternative sexual preference’ touted next)? Translation: “white” males need not apply. Makes me feel great to see my tax dollars used to discriminate against me.
    How about jobs advertised that require speaking Farsi, Mandarin or Cantonese, Hindi, Korean or any of the other flavours of the month. Funny, I though English and French were our national languages and having a working knowledge of one of these languages was a requirement for entry into Canada. But that’s nothing to do with not hiring “white” Anglophones?
    So, it’s only the “white” people that are racists and deny jobs to others?
    You folks are so steeped with PC, you have your head firmly stuck up your rears.
    I was brought up to believe individuals should be treated equally. I guess that’s true as long as you’re not a “white” male.
    Don’t you stupid people realize these policies foster racism and not alleviate it? But it makes me feel good.

  5. All of the racist issues that come to mind, citizens of Japanese heritage during WWII, the Komagato Maru and the head tax on Chinese workers are all Federal Issues. Both Provincial and Municipal politicians will exploit this with heartfelt apologies that are truly meaningless.

    I wonder if we will be having the same discussion of racism and compensation 100 years from now with respect to the Federal policy regarding Temporary Foreign Workers?

    • Larry : You may want to check your facts.

      British Columbians (NGOs such as professional associations, unions, First Nations fishermen, women’s organizations) pressured municipal and provincial politicians to press Ottawa to get “rid of the Japanese who were incapable of assimmilation.” So BC was complicit in the Federal internment up to its eyeballs.

      As for the head tax, the BC government gained financially as it shared in the spoils.

      As for the Komagata Maru, those from India who were turned away from our shores happened to be British subjects as a result of British colonism.

      As for the TFW program, you may be very correct that it will not be forgotten. Why? Because in the interests of greed and profit, some corporations have discriminated against Canadians by bringing in temporary foreign workers. At the same time, the temporaries have been exploited.

      Injustices, not necessarily racism-but economic, still persists today.

      • Dear Dear Insite: Now is this the same greed and profit motives that “members of recognizable minorities” have when they bring in people from their homeland, hire them at base salary then take (a good portion of) their salary away from them as “room or room and board”? It’s not always the big, evil corporations. From what I’ve seen in the business world, I think a lot of it is done by small and medium size businesses, Big corps. just hire people off-shore in their own country – saves the ‘shipping and handling’ costs. Just want to make sure we are consistent here.

        Just want to let you know; if we can name anyone that economically harmed or took advantage of others a hundred or so years ago, I’m all for digging them up and trying to get them to pay personally. I tire of paying out of my pocketbook for the sins of others; concept doesn’t work so well – unless you’re the Lord and Savior.

        FYI: It was the “evil white” majority (many of British heritage) that created all these laws that tried to bring racial equality in our society; they also comprised a pretty big part of those that fought “Hitler’s Boy Scouts” in WWII in order to save everyone’s ‘behind’. Also, the evils of corporations, profit and greed created the computer and power you are using and many of the ‘good’ things in your life. Without these freedoms, we would all be living in caves or in a wonderful socialist, third-world-country-lite (same thing). Just sayin.

  6. NOTE TO NW: Regarding your poll – how about you add a choice of “This is nonsense and never should have been done to start with.” (Feel free to use stronger language if you wish – you’re the one with the ‘beep’ button.)
    Didn’t fill it out but saw the results – my interpretation – 29% PC (what per cent of our BC is Progressive/NDP?); 10% just want some cash out of it; 61% made of a large portion that had nowhere else to park their vote – try my suggestion, it might be interesting to see what you get. Not that I’m an expert in polling or anything; just curious.