Petition for Chinese Railroad Workers’ Day sign now

To: The Honourable James Moore
Minister of Heritage & Official Languages
House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6

On June 22, 2006 the Federal Government made an official apology to the Chinese Canadian Community, for the use of a head tax, the purpose being the exclusion of Chinese immigrants from Canada. This apology is an event worth remembering because it upholds, I believe, the very principles of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as the Head Tax was used to expel Chinese workers, who had made a great contribution to the history of our nation by helping to construct Canada’s first national railroad. An historical event like this and its significance to both the principles of The Charter Of Rights and the historical contribution of Chinese Railway Workers to the Canadian Nation, I believe, should be recognized by making June 22th Chinese Railroad Workers’ Day.

On July 1, 1867 the Dominion of Canada formed with four provinces: Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. This new Dominion was not a cohesive nation but a bundle of isolated villages. To achieve a transcontinental nation, a railroad was needed. The Canadian Pacific Railroad would stitch together the vast territories and Western colonies into a Canadian Confederation. In 1871, the first western area to join the Confederation was the Province of British Columbia, with the condition that a railroad would connect them to Eastern Canada in 10 years.

Ten years passed and the railroad was still not completed as the railroad could not go through the Rocky Mountains. The Canadian Pacific Railway was so difficult to build, that Prime Minister Alexander Mackenzie regarded it as an “act of insane recklessness”. Consequently, in 1882, Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald argued in Parliament, that without Chinese railway workers the Canadian Pacific Railway was impossible to build. “It is a question of alternatives: either you must have this labour or you cannot have the railway. “ As a result, political unification and the Industrial Revolution in Canada would not have been achieved and the industrial and business growth in Canada would have been impossible without The Canadian Pacific Railroad and the contribution of Chinese workers in getting the railroad through the Rocky Mountains.

Canadians do know how important the CPR is to the nationhood of modern Canada and the role played by Chinese railroad workers in the building of the CPR; however, railroad museums in Canada do not reflect, make reference or display any trace of the Chinese railroad workers immense contribution to Canadian nationalism or culture in the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway. We Canadians value human life, especially those who laid down their lives for their nation. Under every mile of railroad lie the remains of one Chinese Railroad Workers who built the Canadian Pacific Railway. Let us commemorate and honour these workers’ lives, culture and their contribution to Canada by designating June 22th as Chinese Railroad Workers’ Day.

Your Honourable, James Moore, please raise the issue in Parliament of passing a bill to designate June 22nd as Chinese Railroad Workers’ Day to preserve our heritage.

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Information

Xiaoming GuoBy:
Culture and SocietyIn:
Petition target:
House of Commons

Petition community:
Canadian

Tags

canada, canadian pacific railway, chinese railraod workers, heritage

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