In the spirit of Remembrance Day

I was fortunate enough to have been born in the '80s after most if not all of the discriminatory laws had been repealed. Many Chinese Canadians were not so fortunate. For several years Chinese Canadians struggled in a country with laws targeted specifically at them.

  • 1892 - BC Qualifications of Voters Act denies Chinese and First Nations people the right to vote
  • 1885 - A head tax of 50$ is imposed on Chinese Immigrants (after the CPR is completed)
  • 1900 - Head tax is changed to 100$ effective 1902
  • 1903 - Head tax is increased again to 500$
  • 1923 - Chinese Immigration Act excludes Chinese people from coming to Canada, a legislation that prevented Chinese men from bringing their Wives and families back with them
  • ...

In 1920 twelve Chinese Canadian veterans of WWI were granted the right to vote. This was the inspiration for a 1939 movement encouraging Chinese Canadian men to enlist for WWII. For the first few years of the war Chinese Canadians were not allowed to enlist, their applications were rejected by the Armed Forces. Despite rejections the men continued to volunteer believing that if they risked/sacrificed their lives for Canada they and their descendants would finally be allowed to be come citizens and granted suffrage. Eventually due to a shortage of other volunteers the Canadian military was forced to accept applications from the Chinese

In 1945 the WWII veterans who were already citizens were granted to right to vote. It was not until 1967 that the Immigration Act gave the Chinese the same rights as immigrants from any other country.

The Chinese were definitely not the only people persecuted in Canada some others are: The First Nations, Japanese Canadian Internment, Doukhobors, and Acadians.

Source for dates:

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