Vancouver to apologize for historic discrimination against Chinese residents
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson says city council must acknowledge the harm that was committed in order to move forward.
Megan Devlin, CTV Vancouver
Published Wednesday, March 28, 2018 3:21PM PDT
Last Updated Wednesday, March 28, 2018 3:23PM PDT
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson is set to issue an apology to the city's Chinese residents for historic discrimination on Chinatown's Culture Day.
The apology, on behalf of previous city councils, will address wrongdoings in city legislation, regulations and policies.
"In order to move forward, we must first acknowledge the harm that was committed and how this unfortunate chapter in Vancouver’s history continues to impact the lives of Chinese Canadians," Robertson said in a news release.
B.C.'s government has a webpage dedicated to historic wrongs against Chinese-Canadians in the province. Those wrongs include Chinese-Canadian Pacific Railway workers being paid half or less than half of what their white counterparts were making and being excluded from national celebration upon the railway's completion.
Vancouver had racist municipal legislation as well, namely its charter of 1886 that specifically barred Indigenous people and Chinese people from voting in municipal elections.
The city hopes the formal acknowledgment of failure will reaffirm Vancouver as a city focused on reconciliation.
Robertson will read it aloud in English and two former city councilors, Bill Yee and Maggie Ip, will read it aloud in Chinese on April 22. The event will also feature speakers from Vancouver's Chinese community including a war veteran, the president of the Chinese Benevolent Association and a young woman on her vision for a vibrant Chinese community.
The apology itself was approved by city council back in November 2017 after it was formulated by an advisory group composed of retired judges, historians, community elders and advocates.
The apology will be read at 2 p.m. on Chinatown Culture Day at the Chinese Cultural Centre at 50 East Pender Street. The day will also feature other celebrations including food, dance lessons and historic walking tours.