New Westminster bylaw tackles past discrimination against Chinese Canadians


The City of New Westminster is set to repeal a series of enactments dating from 1880 to 1926 that supported discrimination against Chinese Canadians.

The move comes more than five months after the city issued an historic apology to the Chinese community for past discrimination and exclusion.

Up for repeal are several civic enactments that targeted Chinese and other non-white communities over employment.

One policy resolution from 1926 reads: “That this council use its best efforts to eliminate Oriental stores in the business and residential sections of this city.”

Another from 1880 states: “That all contractors for public works be strictly bound not to employ Chinese labour.”

A 1919 agreement between the city and Canada Western Cordage Company states the company “will not in the operation of its plant and factory employ Chinese, Japanese and other members of the Mongolian race or Hindus or other Asiatics”.

City council is set to consider the “Racial Discrimination Enactment Repeal Bylaw” at a meeting today (April 4).

During a special meeting on September 20, Mayor Wayne Wright publicly acknowledged the city had discriminated against Chinese Canadians.

“The City of New Westminster formally apologizes to the Chinese community for its past actions which resulted in discrimination and exclusion and it looks forward to working together in the spirit of friendship, community and cooperation to build strong bonds and lasting relations,” reads text of the mayor’s speech.

In 2009, the city launched what it calls a “reconciliation process” to address the historic wrongs endured by members of the Chinese community.

The process has included a review of municipal records by city staff, and consultation with individuals and groups from the Chinese community.

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Comments (3) Add New Comment
Taxpayers R Us
Is New West's council so bored they have time to waste hard-working peoples' money like this? If I lived in New West I'd be pissed. Municipal tax refund please!
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Todd Wong
New Westminster is the oldest incorporated city in Western Canada and this will bring it into the 21st Century. It was the seat of colonial powers and attitudes, and they did their best to ensure that Asians and First Nations not live nor prosper within the city boundaries.
There even used to be a First Nations Reserve that was "confiscated" from the Qayqayt First Nations peoples.
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east vancouver guy
Bravo New Westminster Council - never too late to right a wrong.
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