City of Burnaby to reveiw historical discrimination against people of Chinese descent
Burnaby city council has voted to create an advisory committee aimed at reconciling historical discrimination against Chinese Canadians and eventually issuing a formal apology.
The motion was approved based on a staff report outlining anti-Chinese laws, regulations and policies that existed in Burnaby between 1892 and 1947.
One-third of all Burnaby residents are of Chinese descent, according to the report.
It says Burnaby discriminated against Chinese Canadians in a number of ways using exclusionary policies that restricted their rights and capacity to earn a living.
One of the more notable examples in the report dates back to 1927 when Burnaby council endorsed a Ku Klux Klan resolution calling for the deportation of all Asian migrants and Asian Canadians and the expropriation of their property.
"For far too long, Chinese Canadians were subjected to systemic and targeted discrimination from all levels of government in Canada, and the effects of those discriminatory policies continue to be felt in our community today," said Mayor Mike Hurley.
New Westminster issued an apology for historical discrimination against members of the Chinese community in 2010. Vancouver followed suit in 2018.
In 2014, British Columbia apologized for 160 wrong and discriminatory policies and laws that targeted the Chinese community.
The repealing of the Chinese Immigration Act in 1947, which banned almost all Chinese immigration to Canada, marked a turning point in the rights of Chinese Canadians, according to the Burnaby staff report.
"By the 1960s and 1970s, there were many neighbourhood businesses operated by Chinese Canadian families, including comer stores, green grocery stores and restaurants. Chinese Canadians continued to farm in Burnaby, with several families purchasing farmland in the Big Bend area. The city hired its first Chinese Canadian staff member in 1953," said the report.