Being Chinese in Canada

Being Chinese in Canada

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After the Canadian Pacific Railway was completed in 1885--construction of the western stretch was largely built by Chinese workers--the Canadian government imposed a punitive head tax to deter Chinese citizens from coming to Canada. The exorbitant tax strongly discouraged those who had already emigrated from sending for wives and children left in China--effectively splintering families. After raising the tax twice, the Canadian government eventually brought in legislation to stop Chinese immigration altogether. The ban was not repealed until 1947. It was not until June 22, 2006, that Prime Minister Stephen Harper formally apologized to the Chinese Canadian community for the Government of Canada's racist legacy. Until now, little had been written about the events leading up to the apology. William Dere's Being Chinese in Canadais the first book to explore the work of the head tax redress movement and to give voice to the generations of Chinese Canadians involved. Dere explores the many obstacles in the Chinese Canadian community's fight for justice, the lasting effects of state-legislated racism and the unique struggle of being Chinese in Quebec. But Being Chinese in Canada is also a personal story. Dere dedicated himself to the head tax redress campaign for over two decades. His grandfather