BC@150: Anti-Asian sentiment ran high in B.C., despite the desperate need for Chinese workers

July 23, 2021

By Vancouver Sun |

B.C.’s first official working day as the newest province of Canada dawned over the port of New Westminster on July 21, 1871, and the Mainland Guardian newspaper greeted the future with unguarded optimism.

“Yesterday formed the turning point in our destinies,” its lead editorial declared. “If the late government had many faults, it achieved one great act, and one that will always mark its existence among us as noteworthy; it secured for us the union with Canada.

“We have thus opened for us a great future, as, we firmly believe, when the Dominion Pacific Railway is completed, that we shall become the most populous and thriving of the confederated provinces. We have everything essential to this end. We have a glorious climate; inexhaustible mineral wealth; boundless forests of magnificent timber; the most valuable fisheries; the finest harbours on the Pacific coast.”

In a shrewdly prescient forecast, it predicted the rise of trade with Japan, China and the East Indies as the key to B.C.’s future prosperity.

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