Canadians, in the 1800s, committed various acts against the Chinese people living in their nation that demonstrated supremacy, racism and injustice; however, in the end, equality, amongst both “races” was established. In 1885, the Canadians government, pressured mostly by British Columbia, issued the Head Tax policy to reduce the number of Chinese immigrating to Canada. This worked, in that Chinese immigrants dropped from 8,000 in 1883 to 124 in 1887. However, in 1908, this tax became less of an obstacle and more and more Chines people started to immigrate, which enraged the white Canadians. During this time (after World War I), the economy turned for the worse, and the white people believed the Chinese were stealing jobs from them. Thus, in 1923, the Chinese Immigration Act was passed, which stopped Chinese immigration. There were strict laws and regulations upon which Chinese people living in Canada had to follow.
After 1871, British Columbia, along with Saskatchewan, became very anti-Chinese. They did not permit the Chinese to vote in their elections (includes the election of MPs); ironically, in some electoral districts, there were more Chinese than white people. Anti-Chinese behaviour and blaming the Chinese when the economy turned bad became ways of organizing migrants from Great Britain and Europe around the idea of “white supremacy.” Because the Chinese came to Canada alone (men who left their families back in China), the white people believed they should receive greater funds; Canadians always thought of the Chinese people of being inferior and less educated than the rest of them.
White people constantly physically and mentally abused the Chines people whenever and wherever they wished to do so. For instance, a mob of white men, in 1907, came into Chinatown and destroyed every single window there. During the Depression, the Chinese were provided much less funds than the white people, demonstrating both racism and injustice. There were some white people that befriended and saw the Chinese on par, but the majority disliked them heavily.
However, things changed during the Second World War when Chinese Canadians fought alongside the Canadians and raised money in public campaigns for Canada’s war effort. After this war, Canadains witnesses the horrors of Nazi racism, and it was demanded in newspapers that the Canadian government treat its Chinese citizens as equals, and eventually, Chinese people were considered on par with white people.
These discriminatory regulations both hindered and helped immigrant communities. Because of the racist regulations, immigrant communities were less diverse; with less diversity, culture, language, music etc. was based upon only several ethnicities. Not only that, with these regulations in effect, voting was prohibited. In some electoral districts, as mentioned before, Chinese were the dominant population, and if they cant vote, the leaders would be voted through an un-democratic method. The leaders would be voted by white people, and thus, it was quite unlikely that those leaders would assist the Chinese in any possible. In fact, they might make their lives even harder. Lastly, with these racist regulations, Chinese families were separated. Many Chinese people had to leave their loved ones back in China and weren’t allowed to sponsor them until 1947. Families were cut, and some never saw each other again. On the contrary, these regulations forced the little number of Chinese people to rely and work collaboratively to make sustainable immigrant communities. By having stronger bonds with each other, the economy of these communities would be very good.