A bipartisan motion apologizing for the B.C. government's historical role in discriminating against Chinese people was tabled today (May 15) in the legislature.
Here's the text of the motion introduced by the B.C. Liberal government:
Be it resolved that this Legislature apologizes for more than a hundred laws, regulations, and policies that were imposed by past provincial governments that discriminated against people of Chinese descent since 1871, when British Columbia joined Confederation, to 1947. These laws and policies denied British Columbia's Chinese communities' basic human rights, including but not limited to, the right to vote, hold public office, or own property; imposed labour, educational and employment restrictions; subjected them to health and housing segregation, and prevented them from fully participating in society. The House deeply regrets that these Canadians were discriminated against simply because they were of Chinese descent. All members of this House acknowledge that we all aspire to be a fair and just society where people of all nations and cultures are welcomed, accepted and respected.
Be it further resolved that the House acknowledge that the Chinese Canadian community endured untold hardships and persevered with grace and dignity. We acknowledge that despite being subjected to discriminatory laws, policies and practices, the Chinese community has made, and continues to make, substantial contributions to the culture, history and economic prosperity in our province.
However, the Christy Clark government—which was embroiled in the "quick wins" scandal in 2013—hasn't satisfied everyone in the Chinese community. The Chinese Canadian National Council has already said today that it "declines" the apology.
In a news release, the council noted it and the Head Tax Families Society of Canada have been seeking an "inclusive redress". Both groups have asked for the "symbolic return" of head tax proceeds to the families of those who paid the racist immigration levy.
“A government should never be seen to be profiting from racism but this is what has happened here today,” Victor Wong, executive director of the Chinese Canadian National Council, said in the release. “Only the affected head tax families can accept this Apology and allow the reconciliation process to begin.”
“We urge all MLAs to reflect on our views and to expend the effort to offer a meaningful apology to the Chinese Canadian community.”