Monday, November 25, 2013

1885 BC Legislature Report of the Select Committee on Chinese Restriction

I was looking for something else from the 19th century Journals of the BC Legislature and came across this:

To the Honourable the Speaker and Legislative Assembly.

Your Committee appointed to draft a Resolution for transmission to the Dominion Government in regard to Chinese restriction, beg leave to report as follows:—

Be it resolved that the following Resolution be passed, and that a copy thereof be forwarded to the Honourable the Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada:

That the Legislature of the Province of British Columbia extremely regret the disallowance of the Act for the prevention of the immigration of Chinese, passed at its last Session.
The disallowance of the Act, according to the correspondence, did not proceed from a view of its being unconstitutional, but because the Act was regarded as inexpedient.
The Legislature sees nothing to change the carefully considered representations and opinions which have heretofore been expressed by this House on the Chinese question, and which from time to time have been communicated to and urged upon the Dominion Government.

Briefly, they may be summed up as follows:—
1. The Chinese are alien in sentiment and habits.
2. They do not become settlers in any sense of that word. They have no intention of permanently settling in the country, but come for the purpose of trading and labouring, in order to return to their native country with the means to pass the remainder of their days in ease.
The Chinese population chiefly consists of male adults, and thus—without the responsibility of providing for a family—they come in unfair competition with white labour.
They are the slaves or coolies of the Chinese race, accustomed to live on the poorest fare, and in the meanest manner, and hence their presence tends to the degradation of the white labouring classes.
Their presence exerts a baneful influence in restricting the immigration of white labour, and especially in the class of house-servants, who will not be brought into contact with this race.

They have a system of secret societies which encourage crime amongst themselves, and which prevents the administration of justice. The use of opium has extended throughout the Province to the demoralization of the native races, and the Chinese encourage the use of this drug amongst others of our own rising population.
And this House urgently demands that some restrictive legislation be passed to prevent our Province from becoming a portion of the Chinese Empire.


I find amazing at that inhumane and abhorrent views that people could hold.  Humans are humans.   At no point in human history has racism ever been right or rational position to hold.  BC in the 19th century was not a lost people or racism, there were others who thought differently.   The people of Victoria elected an American black man to an early city council.  In 1874 AW Smith registered Chinese people as voters in Lillooet for the provincial election.

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