B.C. apology a 'failure,' says community leader

The government apologized for anti-Chinese policies Thursday, but one community leader says...

The government apologized for anti-Chinese policies Thursday, but one community leader says reconciliation is needed, not words. (FILE PHOTO)

Jeremy Nuttall, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:45 PM ET

VANCOUVER -- An apology to Chinese-Canadians read out in the B.C. legislature for past wrongs is just words, says a community leader.

Bill Chu of the Canadians for Reconciliation Society was critical of the public forum process leading up to the apology, saying it concentrated too much on dialogue with only the Chinese community.

Chu said the true aim is reconciliation, and government and citizens need to understand the reasons for the apology.

“The apology itself is words and we need actions to back up if they feel any remorse,” Chu said of the government. “I think for most people who have not been following this whole unfolding of events, they probably would miss the fact right from the get-go there are two preconditions that make this a failure.”

He said consulting only Chinese has created negative comments from non-Chinese on the issue. And while Chu is not a fan of the idea of compensation, it is another reason he views the apology as a failure.

The government apologized for such anti-Chinese policies as the Exclusion Act and head tax Thursday in the legislature.

“Be it resolved that this legislature apologizes for more than a hundred laws, regulations, and policies that were imposed by past provincial governments that discriminated against people of Chinese descent since 1871,” said the apology. “When British Columbia joined Confederation, to 1947. These laws and policies denied British Columbia's Chinese communities' basic human rights.”

Premier Christy Clark called the past discrimination a stain on the province’s history.

“This is an historic day in British Columbia for this legislature, for the people of our province and for those of Chinese descent who make up our province and contribute so much,” Clark said.

But Chu pointed out the province is still allowing discrimination against the Chinese, such as the recent granting of a mine permit at a former Chinese work camp and stopping short on legislation that would have protected a graveyard in New West.


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