More than 200 years ago, the first immigrants of Chinese origin settled in Canada. There followed a first wave of immigration which began in 1858. It continued with the gold rush and then, from 1881 to 1885, with the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway which, given the conditions deplorable work, caused the death of hundreds of them.
Over the years, we have worked hard to carve out a place for ourselves in a country that was not always welcoming to immigrants. Consider in particular the head tax imposed on immigrants of Chinese origin starting in 1885 and the Chinese Immigration Act of 1923, two initiatives that have contributed to restricting Chinese immigration for more than 60 years. . In fact, in 2006, the Chinese community accepted a long-awaited apology from the Canadian government. We believe that these events should never have happened and should never happen again.
Today, the Chinese community represents one of the largest ethnic groups in Canada. Together with all our fellow citizens, we are proud of what we have accomplished. We are also proud of our contribution. Let us think in particular of Adrienne Clarkson, Patrick Chan, Margaret Gee, Norman L. Kwong, ex-senator Vivienne Poy and many others. These people are all part of our history.
Until recently, we felt like we lived in harmony in Canada. Unfortunately, that feeling is waning. In fact, in recent years, the social pressure exerted on the members of our community is such that it is difficult to remain insensitive to it. It seems to us that the differences and tensions that exist between the Government of Canada and the Government of China are now having a direct impact on our community. It may have started with the US extradition request for Meng Wanzhou and the arrest of the two Michaels in China. There’s also been the COVID-19 pandemic and, more recently, the so-called “spy balloon”, allegations of Chinese interference in Canadian elections, and allegations of Chinese police stations. illegal immigrants who are currently under investigation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Moreover, this gives rise to numerous interrogations with members of the Chinese community, largely because of their ethnic origin.
Across Canada, these events have drastically changed the social environment in which we live and the perception of fellow citizens towards us. In our opinion, this situation puts a strain on the fundamental values that make Canada an exceptional country. Certainly, we support and encourage the work of the media and the authorities responsible for enforcing our laws. Nevertheless, in doing so, let us avoid pointing the finger at an entire community and its members, which leads to stigmatization and great discrimination.
Like all Canadians, we believe that our institutions are an essential component of our democracy. We support every initiative aimed at making them stronger. As read in the opinion piece titled “Why I blew the whistle on Chinese interference on Canada’s election” ), written by a national security official and published in the Globe
This is precisely what we believe in and what we expect from our country. In the past, we lived in fear. Today, let’s not let that happen again!