During yesterday’s meeting, Burnaby City Council passed a framework for an apology and reconciliation with the Chinese-Canadian community.
On July 1, 2023, we will be commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act (also known as Humiliation Day). While this was federal legislation that discriminated against Chinese immigrants, between 1892 and 1947, the City of Burnaby was not just complicit, but actively participated in discriminatory laws and policies. The City of Burnaby advocated for “Oriental Exclusion”, after the Ku Klux Klan requested the City of Burnaby endorse their resolution calling for the deportation of all Asian migrants and Asian Canadians, and the expropriation of their property. The City weaponized bylaws to prevent Chinese farmers from selling their goods. The City allowed discriminatory covenants on lands in Burnaby, to ensure that Chinese folks could not buy land. And more — you can learn more about some of the ways the City of Burnaby discriminated against the Chinese community here: pub-burnaby.escribemeetings.com/filestream.ashx?DocumentId=65192
The framework passed yesterday will be convening an advisory committee to identify specific actions to address historical discriminations, including a formal apology.
This work is important, personal, and long overdue.