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

Workers had a busy time today repairing a broken main water line. (District of Houston photo)
Water service being restored

Main line on 13th had broken

Flags at the District of Houston administrative building were lowered last week following the news that the remains of as many as 215 children were found buried on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. The flags were raised back up yesterday. (Houston Today photo)
Flags lowered in memory

Flags at the District of Houston administrative building were lowered last week… Continue reading

Bruce Tang- Unsplash photo
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

“Older adults in our communities continue to find themselves in vulnerable situations… Continue reading

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

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