Chinese Head Tax

Topics: Canada, Stephen Harper, Conservative Party of Canada Pages: 2 (834 words) Published: January 19, 2009
The beginning of the Chinese immigration can date back to 1858, around the time of the British Columbia gold rush. The number of Chinese immigrates increased during the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway (1881-1885), when they were brought here as cheap laborers. However, instead of showing gratitude toward these people, the Canadian government set out harsh rules in order to “reserve” a “white man’s country” (Prime Minister R.B.Bennett, 1907). In 1885, the Chinese Immigrate Act was created by the dominion government to discourage Chinese people from coming to Canada. The act states that “every Chinese person that comes to Canada has to pay a head tax of fifty dollars”. This act was amended on 1900 and again on 1903, and the price for the head tax increased from fifty dollars to $100 and $500 respectively. However, the rising head tax did not stop Chinese people from immigrating to Canada altogether. Finally, the Canadian government introduced the Chinese Exclusion Act on July 1st 1923 that banned all Chinese immigrate from coming. Canadian government viewed this as important because they wanted to maintain their “ethnic composition”, in other words, other countries’ immigrates would destroy the Canadian society that is mainly made up of British and French. In addition, the Canadians refused to accept Chinese people because they feel that cheap laborers are no longer needed upon the finish of the CPR, and they fear that the Chinese “would compete against them for other [white-collar] jobs”(Counterpoint, chapter 1, A Different Canada). In 1984, the Chinese-Canadian National Council (CCNC) started a campaign seeking for redress on the issue of the Chinese Head Tax. In 1993, just before his term ended, Prime Minister Mulroney suggested a redress by “offering individual medallions, a museum wing and other collective measures” (CCNC, The Redressing Campaign). However, the Chinese people rejected this idea almost immediately. When the Liberal came into...
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