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Human Rights in Canada: An Historical Perspective

Raising the Head Tax On Immigrnats:
Another Brick in the Wall

Ottawa, Canada
1903

Remember the head tax in the Chinese Immigration Act? Well, it obviously hasn't stemmed the tide of Asian immigration enough to please the legislators. The federal government decides to raise its tax on immigrants.

The tax is raised to $500 in time when most Chinese make less than a dollar a day.

Chinese Immigration Act, S.C. 1903 c. 8 S.6

Historical material includes:

"White Man's Burden advertisement: Excerpt from Report of the Royal Commission on Chinese and Japanese Immigration"

The more things change...

In the 1900's, some Canadians view Orientals as an inferior race. In the 1980's, controversial University of Waterloo Professor Philip Rushton claims that his research suggests that Orientals are superior to Caucasians, who in turn are superior to Blacks. Racism, it is said, never really changes its goals, just its targets. "My own experience leads me to believe that the good Chinese are something like good Indians - dead...but such as he [the Chinaman] is, he solves the great servant girl problem in British Columbia... without him housekeeping would be an impossibility."

Excerpt from Canadian Magazine, 1900.