Thursday, January 12, 2006

Chinese-Canadians makes news. Sort of.

(I hate making titles. Don't make sense...)
I think I really started to get interested in Chinese-Canadian history when I was 13 or 14. I remember getting angry at my socials textbook as it gave all the credit to John A. Macdonald and William Cornelius Van Horne for completing the railway in 1885. Nothing about Chinese people working for super low wages or that, “…for every mile of railway, one Chinese man died.”

Anywho, I was at the bus stop on Monday and I noticed the headline on a newspaper stand thingy. It was about redress and a formal apology to Chinese-Canadian families who had to pay the head tax (see here and here),
in the very early 1900s. My chin dropped because I was shocked. This is something that the Canadian government (mainly Liberals) has absolutely refused and ignored for the past few decades, but because all the other main political parties have been acknowledging this, only now the Liberals are doing something which makes it seem that they are getting desperate for votes. Oh yeah, Global National had a news show hosted (I think it was Tuesday evening, January 10, 2006) in the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden and talked about this subject too.

I probably have no direct relation to any of the Chinese people who came to Canada long ago, but because I was born here, I feel that I’m distantly related to those people somehow. And seeing that the government is finally acknowledging this stuff is good, because the Chinese were a very important part in getting this country unified. And since they came so long ago and struggled, it’s been easier (slightly) since then for other immigrants to start new lives in Canada.

Oh yeah, I finished reading Chinatown: an illustrated history of the Chinese communities of Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and Halifax by Paul Yee awhile ago. It was great. It’ll probably be fascinating only to those who are truly interested in this kind of thing, because basically it’s all about what it says. A history of the Chinatowns in Canada. There’s some neat statistics, colourful pictures, and fact-based insightful commentary. There’re so many little tidbits and stories, I don’t know what I should mention. So I won’t. Because I’m lazy. And because it’d be better to read the book. But you probably won’t. So let’s just leave it at that.

1 comment:

Bernice said...

Wow. This is too weird. I just did my entire IB History 12 essay on the Chinese head-tax. I have family connections to it, so when told we had a free choice on topic, I chose the head-tax. My great-grandfather, who died a couple of months ago, had to pay $500 when he immigrated to Canada. If you want, I can send you my essay to read it over. It may interest you. There is a "works consulted" area in the essay too with a couple of books you may be interested in reading. E-mail me and let me know.