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The Anti-Asian Sentiment in Canada

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Emily Lin

on 14 May 2014

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Transcript of The Anti-Asian Sentiment in Canada

Chinatown men name July 1st "The Day of Shame"
Head taxes and unfair fees
Begins sponsoring Chinese workers
Many events in history occurred because of the Anti-asian sentiment. For example many riots broke out in Canada opposing immigration of Asian people. In one particular riot in 1907, 8,000-9,000 white protestors rallied to protest the controversial topic.

In another instance, in 1942 during World War II, Japanese Canadian's were forcibly moved to 'exclusion centers' for 'national security reasons'. This was an act out of fear that Japanese Canadian's were terrorists or in some way connected with the ongoing war.

Furthermore, efforts were made to exclude Asians from public schools, restrict sales of land to Asians, limit the number of licenses issued to Japanese and the Chinese Exclusion act of 1923 closed off Chinese immigration.

Canada's Birthday July 1st
Government Action
The Anti-Asian sentiment began in 1881 when the Canadian Pacific Railway began sponsoring Chinese workers. This encouraged many men from China to immigrate to Canada who were inspired by the gold rush. Thus began the major influx of Chinese immigrants into Canada and Chinese immigration numbers were at their peak. Many Europeans living in the BC area brought up the argument that Asian people were taking away jobs from white people, because the Asian people asked for lower working costs and standards. This meant that for both races to be on equal grounds for employers, the white men would then have to lower their working costs and standards to be hired. This frustrated the European workers and they argued that Asian workers were “lowering living standards for all”.
Additionally, many Canadian’s at the time believed that Anglo-Saxon people were at the peak of biological evolution and that Canada’s greatest was dependent on Anglo-Saxon heritage,. There was a believed hierarchy of desirability between the races, with British and Americans at the top, and black and Asian immigrants at the bottom. People believed that the classes of people near the bottom of the hierarchy were ‘unable to be assimilated into Canadian Society’ which further fueled the Anti-Asian sentiment.
The Anti-Asian sentiment was not only the work of the Euro-Canadian citizens, but also that of the governments. The government at the time also released many laws, taxes and fees that were extremely biased and outstandingly racist. For example, in 1885 the head tax for an Asian person immigrating to Canada was $50, while the tax was only $20 per white person. This head tax for Asian people was then hiked up to $100 and then to a startling $500 in 1903. This tax was obviously a clear example of taxation without representation. Furthermore, in 1878 the provincial legislature released a statement that banned all Chinese employment on public works project and levied a fee of $40 per year on Chinese people over 12 years of age. It is clear that people of Asian descent were charged with heftier fees than Euro-Canadians.
Vol XCIII, No. 311
Brawl breaks out on CPR
2 men killed, 9 unconscious
Effects then and now
Effect Of The Sentiment
Two men died while nine men were beat unconscious when a fight broke out between white workers and Chinese workers working on the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1885. This was only one event that had occurred because of the racist Anti-Asian sentiment that was widespread and popular throughout the 1800’s. The Anti-Asian sentiment enforced the belief that Asian people were inferior and undesirable and thus should not be allowed as immigrants into Canada.
Chinese men working on the Canadian Pacific Railway made only a few dollars. They made enough to send a few coins back home to China, but never enough to afford the ticket to go back home. Many men went insane, while others killed themselves.

Newspapers published pieces displaying ignorance and hostility towards Asian people and citizens of Canada personally ridiculed people of Asian origin. Many people personally distributed pieces of propaganda and controversy.

Many residents of Canada still believe that a strain of the Anti-Asian sentiment remains. One example of the aftermath of the sentiment was the request for redress with a $1.2 billion compensation for victims of the sentiment. However, the Superior Court denied this because "Modern ethics cannot be applied to historical laws,".

In contrast to this, many other Canadians believe that Canada has grown from this experience. Because of the massive immigration numbers that was drawn from the CPR, Vancouver is now the most Chinese populated city outside of China. Additionally, Canada is now more positive about diversity and encourages multicultural environments.
The Anti-Asian Sentiment in Canada
Bitonti, Daniel. "Strain of Racist Sentiment Remains, Some Chinese Canadians Believe." The Globe and Mail. The Globe and Mail, 8 Feb. 2013. Web. 28 Apr. 2014. <http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/strain-of-racist-sentiment-remains-some-chinese-canadians-believe/article8420178/>.

Driedger, Leo, and Howard Palmer. "Prejudice and Discrimination." The Canadian Encyclopedia. Ed. Julia Skikavich. Historica Canada, 2 Oct. 11. Web. 27 Apr. 2014. <http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/prejudice-and-discrimination/>.

Ono-George, Meleisa, and Oriane Fort. "A View of Victoria: Chinatown." A View of Victoria: Chinatown. The Humanities and Computing Media Centre, 2008. Web. 28 Apr. 2014. <http://web.uvic.ca/lancenrd/AViewofVictoria/chinatown/chinatown.php>.

"The University of British Columbia." University of British Columbia Library: The Chinese Experience in B.C. 1850-1950. The University of British Columbia, n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2014. <http://www.library.ubc.ca/chineseinbc/exclusion.html>.

"World Directory of Minorities." Minority Rights Group International : Canada : Asian Canadians. Minority Rights Group International, n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2014. <http://www.minorityrights.org/?lid=2626&tmpl=printpage>.

Bowers, Vivien, and Dianne Eastman. "Building Railways Where No Railway Can Possibly Go." Only in Canada! Toronto: Owl, 2002. N. pag. Print.

Chinese Workers on the Canadian Pacific Railway. N.d. Royal BC Museum, Victoria BC.

Denver Riot of 1880. N.d. Anti-Asian Prejudice, A Collection of Images, n.p.




Emily Lin
Canadian Pacific Railway
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