January 8, 2014
VANCOUVER – To advance the reconciliation process with B.C.’s Chinese community, New Democrats are releasing the province’s extensive legislative record of official discrimination against Asian minorities, and are organizing a cross-cultural forum at the Wosk Centre of Dialogue involving members of different communities and youth.
“New Democrats have long supported, and argued for, formal reconciliation with Chinese Canadians over past historical wrongs officially sanctioned and pursued by legislators,” said New Democrat Leader Adrian Dix. “To render a genuine and lasting impact, such a process should engage with British Columbians about those chapters in our shared history when creating ‘a white man’s province’ was an official policy pursuit. Understanding the past is a requisite for a meaningful official apology, and a legacy of education that further advances reconciliation.
“To foster such an understanding, New Democrats today are providing to the public an extensive archive chronicling B.C.’s past policies of official racism targeting the Chinese Canadian community, exclusively or along with South Asians and Japanese Canadians.” said Dix.
This record, compiled with the help of B.C.’s parliamentary library, is available at here.
It includes 89 individual bills and 49 resolutions passed by the province against Chinese Canadians between 1872 and 1928. The archive also contains the many other forms of legislative action B.C. political leaders took in pursuit of creating and maintaining a “White Man’s Province.”
Compiling the historical record for public review and discussion also addresses some of the concerns over how the government is conducting consultations on the formal apology.
“We need to engage with all our communities and generations around this chapter of our history for genuine reconciliation to transpire. But right now, the current consultation process is not structured to fully realize that, and as a result British Columbians do not know what they are apologizing for,” explained Jenny Kwan, MLA for Vancouver Mount Pleasant.
Added Bruce Ralston, New Democrat critic for multiculturalism: “New Democrats, given our long support for a formal apology and reconciliation, are committed to a full engagement process. For that purpose, we are also organizing a cross-cultural forum to review and discuss the contents of this archive with members from different communities and young people at the Wosk Centre of Dialogue during the first week of February.”