Chinese Head Tax
Even those Canadians reporting the highest knowledge about immigration history believe we have always been welcoming.
B.C.'s past legislated discrimination of "non-mainstream" aliens extended to far more than the Chinese, but also to Indo-Canadians and Japanese-Canadians. So why it is today the provincial government only wants to say sorry to the Chinese? Why is it focusing on advertising the apology among the Chinese, and lacking the courage to extend that effort to the entire province? By doing so, B.C. has failed to translate this apology as a political agenda for all citizens.
By treating Chinese people as the only stakeholder in B.C.'s reconciliation, the premier not only reveals her ignorance on the subject but is pushing B.C. towards the abyss of false reconciliation, and our democratic system towards even less responsibility for its mistakes, both past and present.
So is the "C' sign a warning for others to be cautious of this driver? Is it a symbol of nationalist or ethnic pride, like when people put a country's sticker or flag on their car bumper? Or is it simply a parody to poke fun at the racist stereotype of bad Asian drivers?
My ancestry doesn't define what I feel is most important. The essentialist logic that just because I'm South Asian an apology for the Komagata Maru incident is the paramount focus of my political identity -- and that its resolution would sway me to support a particular political party -- is insulting. I, like all Canadians, am more than just one thing.
These days, one landing on D'Arcy Island is likely to be a kayaker enjoying its remote beauty. But 122 years ago, that haven must have been desperately lonely, isolating, and even terrifying for those immigrant lepers just shuttled off and left to quietly live a life of struggle, or quietly die as they please.
This week marks seven years since Stephen Harper was first elected Prime Minister of Canada. The Harper Administration has been described as a dark cloud, but it does boast a silver lining. A thin one. Perhaps the Prime Minister should reassess his criteria and/or consider these seven success stories as feathers in his conservative cap.
There are many stories that Canadians do not regularly learn in school. Our history is littered with forgotten events, either deliberately overlooked, or rationalised away somehow. Our history is littered with abuses. If we want to live up to our reputation as a nation that respects human rights, we have to face the horrors of our past, head on.