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lectures 9 and 10

Course Code
Ian Radforth

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LECTURE 9: Anti-Orientalism and a White Canada Policy
The anti-oriental movement
-working mens Protective Association (1878)
-Anti-Chinese Associations (1879)
-Asiatic Exclusion League (1900s)
-Pressuring the BC gov’t:
-employment restrictions
-Immigration restrictions
Anti-Oriental comes from the period – organized, institutionalized racist movement from the
days of early arrival of Asians, right through to 20th c.
These were people commited to “WHITE Canadawhite Canada forever! was the slogan
Hoped gov’t would make policies that discriminate against Asians, not let them have jobs in BC,
or even send people back hometo some extent met success, Canadian Gov’t responsive in
important waysState policies that were racist
Upon arrival, Asians met with hostility – driven off gold fields
Ppl opposed formed Organizations to tackle the Asian issue”Campaigns, lobbyists, election
campaigns, drawing attention to their campaign – RESULT was broad-based movement. Many
clergymen active in this movementWanted to create Christian society and Chinese threatened
that. Lawyers, businessmen, working class, politicians.. everyone
Very few people spoke out against it, except the Chinese. Some people in Ottawa and BC
worked to undermine it, but clandestinely. So popular was the movement that people were afraid
to say anything against it.
Similar to other movements in terms of organizational structures. Ex. Prohibition movement,
organized along similar linesalso when womens movement started, wanted the vote
This movement contrasts to the blacks. “colourphobia. Never organized on anything like the
same level as anti-oriental movement, no influence on govtmuch more institutionalized form
of racism
Large number of organizations: Working Men’s Protective Association – Main group behind it
were organized working men (Trade unionists)called for boycott of Chinese-run businesses, or
business that employed Chinese
Anti-Chinese Association – Ottawa, focused on petitions
Asiatic Exclusion League (biggest group)publicized what they feared were the plans of railway
companies to import more Chinese workers Behind the 1907 riots
Arguments of Anti-Orientalists?????

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Yellow Perilmeant that Chinas pop was so vast, they’ll come in huge numbers and
overwhelm the whites, the numerous other that would pose a threat to Canadas standards and
Racial quality – believed in hierarchy of racesChinese were called Decadent, had a great
civilization but declined
Thought Chinese to be not assimilable.. couldnt be assimilated, could never be Canadian.
Practical: Chinese being threat to wage rates and labour standards. Worried about Chinese taking
all the jobs, or reduced wages in competition with cheap Chinese labour
Concerned bc they were Sojournerstook money back homedetriment to Canadian economy,
not good consumers
Concerned about health conditionsChina Town represented as being unsanitary where disease
would spread – effort put to ensure sanitary practices
Moral threat: Chinese were mostly male, and a threat to white women
Opium and gambling in China town – Antis worked this up, and ignored their own taverns
Actions demanded???
One set focused on constraining rights of Asians, denied citizenship rights, even children – Made
them vulnerable to deportation, no influence on election campaigns, lobbied to deny jobs, trade
unions must exclude Asians
Where gov’t had leverage, govt asked to exclude Chinese from employmentCivil Service,
Natural Resources, demanded an end to immigration and deportation of those already here
How did they do? Well with provincial gov’t of BCgov’t extremely aware that anti-
orientalism was popular, made anti-orientalist policies
Mining: responsibility of gov’t, 1893, Chinese couldn’t work in Mines anymore
Forestry: no right to cut trees
BC tried to exclude Asians from the province, through policy cutting off immigration
13 bills alone in one year (____) The trick was, that it never became law, bc federal gov’t
disallowed them as outside jurisdiction
While bill was in place, before Ottawa disallowed it, there was a curve on immigration.
Influence on Ottawa gov’twas not nearly as successful, had more interest groups to appeal to,
had close ties to business men building Canada, and interested in Asian labourChinese not
allowed to vote, some specific demands given:
Royal Commission that investigated Chinese Immigration - unwilling to prohibit Chinese
Feds opted for the head tax
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