A White Man's Province: British Columbia Politicians and Chinese and Japanese Immigrants 1858-1914
By: Patricia E. Roy (author)Paperback
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We are not strong enough to assimilate races so alien from us in
their habits ... We are afraid they will swamp our civilization as
such. - Nanaimo Free Press, 1914
A White Man's Province examines how British Columbians
changed their attitudes towards Asian immigrants from one of toleration
in colonial times to vigorous hostility by the turn of the century and
describes how politicians responded to popular cries to halt Asian
immigration and restrict Asian activities in the province.
White workingmen objected to Asian sojourning habits, to their low
living standards and wages, and to their competition for jobs in
specific industries. Because employers and politicians initially
supported Asian immigrants, early manifestations of antipathy often
appeared just as another dispute between capital and labour. But as
their number increased, complaints about Asians became widespread, and
racial characteristics became the nucleus of such terms as a 'white
man's province' - a 'catch phrase' which, as Roy
notes, 'covered a wide variety of fears and transcended particular
economic interests.' The Chinese were the chief targets of
hostility in the nineteenth century; by the twentieth, the Japanese,
more economically ambitious and backed by a powerful mother country,
appeared more threatening.
After Asian disenfranchisement in the 1870s, provincial politicians,
freed from worry about the Asian vote, fueled and exploited public
prejudices. The Asian question also became a rallying cry for
provincial rights when Ottawa disallowed anti-Asian legislation.
Although federal leaders such as John A. Macdonald and Wilfrid Laurier
shared a desire to keep Canada a 'white man's country,'
they followed a policy of restraint in view of imperial concerns.
The belief that whites should be superior, as Roy points out, was
then common throughout the Western world. Many of the arguments used in
British Columbia were influenced by anti-Asian sentiments and
legislation emanating from California, and from Australia and other
Drawing on almost every newspaper and magazine report published in
the province before 1914, and on government records and private
manuscripts, Roy has produced a revealing historical account of the
complex basis of racism in British Columbia and of the contribution
made to the province in these early years by its Chinese and Japanese
Patricia E. Roy is a professor in the Department of History at the University of Victoria. She is the author of two other books on Asian-Canadian immigration and discrimination, The Oriental Question and The Triumph of Citizenship.
Illustrations Foreword Acknowledgments 1. The Colonial Sojourners, 1858-1871 2. "A World of Their Own": Morality, Law, and Public Health, 1871-1914 3. Confederation, the Chinese, and the Canadian Pacific Railway, 1871-1885 4. Checking Chinese and Japanese Competition, 1886-1896 5. The Politics of Restricting Immigration, 1896-1902 6. Checking Competition within British Columbia, 1896-1902 7. The Lull before the Storm, 1903-1907 8. The Vancouver Riot and Its Consequences, 1907-1908 9. Making a White Man's Country, 1908-1914 Epilogue Appendix Notes Manuscript Sources Index
Number Of Pages:
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