Celebrating Inclusion and Diversity on Canada Day 2023
Congratulations to all those who are graduating and ‘crossing the stage’ this spring. Take the time to share this moment with your family and friends and marvel at all your achievements. This is a life event we all need to celebrate together with those that are important to each of us.
Canada Day is approaching, and I will be celebrating at events around the riding. If our paths don’t cross during the celebrations, please accept my warm wishes. We live in a great country and taking the day to remember what Canada means to the world is a tribute to everyone who has helped build this nation. This Canada Day will be filled with many celebrations as Canadians celebrate our democracy, peace, prosperity, and diversity. However, this year also marks a grim milestone in our nation’s history. — the 100th Anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act.
On July 1, 1923, the Federal Government essentially ended all immigration from China for 25 years. This was the only time in our history, the government banned entry into Canada based upon country of origin. This separated many families as many husbands and fathers were already living in Canada, while at the same time their wives and children were not permitted to immigrate. These men were here to work on the railroad and to build the critical infrastructure that we depend upon today. Unemployed and retired Chinese men were encouraged to return to China. This Act decimated many Canadian Chinese communities.
Those Chinese Canadians that remained in Canada were forced by the government to register and carry an immigration card. The card stated: “This Certificate does not establish legal status in Canada.” This embarrassment has led many Chinese Canadians to refer to Canada Day as “Humiliation Day.”
There is not a single country with a perfect history. Yet Canada remains a beacon of hope for many. Anyone can build a future in Canada regardless of their ethnicity, sex, religion, or background. It is important to remember all our history – good and bad. These are the building blocks of a better country, for which we all strive.
Please contact me at Greg.McLean@parl.gc.ca or by phone at 403-244-1880 and keep up-to-date on my work in Parliament on my website, GregMcLeanMP.ca.