News British Columbia

Reconciliation advocate says B.C. apology to Chinese too late 0

Jeremy Nuttall

By Jeremy Nuttall, 24 hours Vancouver

A Chinese work gang for the Great Northern Railway, circa 1909. (BAN SENG HOE — FROM BEYOND THE GOLDEN MOUNTAIN: CHINESE CULTURAL TRADITIONS IN CANADA)

A Chinese work gang for the Great Northern Railway, circa 1909. (BAN SENG HOE — FROM BEYOND THE GOLDEN MOUNTAIN: CHINESE CULTURAL TRADITIONS IN CANADA)

The chair of the Canadians for Reconciliation Society says Victoria’s encouragement for non-Chinese to join forums to discuss an upcoming apology for historical wrongs is too late.

On Thursday, Multiculturalism Minister Teresa Wat issued an editorial press release stressing all British Columbians are welcome at the forums to discuss the language of the apology.

But the CFRS’s Bill Chu said the damage is done to what is already a controversial apology; some members of the public think it is unnecessary and redundant considering a federal apology was made in 2006.

“The emphasizing is certainly too late,” said Chu, adding it ultimately falls on Premier Christy Clark’s shoulders. “Why does it take all kinds of people and the newspaper to remind her this is necessary? We are not talking about some rocket science here. We are talking about the basic premises of both racism and reconciliation involving two parties.”

Chu complained in December the forums only targeted the Chinese community because they ran the danger of isolating the community and would appear as pandering and create divisions in the population.

He said everyone needed to be educated about past events such as the Chinese Exclusion Act (1923-1947) and head tax (1885-1923) to understand why an apology is being issued and enhance reconciliation.

In the opinion piece All of us have a say in apology to Chinese community sent out via the B.C. Government email, Wat said after two rounds of consultation public education is an “initiative to consider.”

“While government will engage with B.C.'s Chinese community associations and individuals who were directly and indirectly impacted by prejudicial legislation, I want to make it clear everyone is welcome to attend these sessions,” Wat wrote. “All British Columbians need to be a part of this important process if it is to have the currency it needs to be truly meaningful.”

On Wednesday, the BC NDP released a list of 89 pieces of provincial legislation that were discriminatory to the Chinese dating back to the 1800s.

The former laws were posted online as part of an effort to educate the public.

 

Poll

Do you think Native peoples should accept Prime Minister Stephen Harper's apology for residential schools?

Reader's comments »

By adding a comment on the site, you accept our terms and conditions and our netiquette rules.


Featured Businesses

Go to the Marketplace »