Chinese Immigrants Coming To Canada Essay

1066 Words5 Pages
True North Strong...and Free?
Karanah Defante

Imagine only having the clothes on your back, leaving the land you have known for so long, and leaving precious loved ones to go to an unknown place, not even certain what awaits you at your arrival? This is was the reality of Chinese immigrants coming to Canada during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. After arriving to what was a fresh start and better life, they were welcomed with a greeting that was much more icier than the Canadian winter. Chinese immigrants coming to Canada faced hardship after hardship from the long voyages, the expensive head tax, and the back-breaking jobs they had.

It was not an easy journey to get from China to Canada. The Canadian government thought
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In 1885, the Canadian government imposed the Chinese Immigration act. The act made the Chinese the only nationality to pay $50 dollars in order to get into Canada. In addition, this was only implemented to discourage Chinese immigrants for coming into Canada. “In 1885...federal government decided to pass the Chinese Immigrant Act...special $50 head tax on Chinese immigrants…” (Canada in the Making). In spite of this act, this did not stop the Chinese from coming to Canada. Eventually, in 1903, the Chinese head tax was increased to $500 per person to stop them from coming to Canada all together. During an interview with Sam Eng, a Chinese immigrant, he was asked if he had to pay the Chinese head tax when he came to Canada. “Yes. $500…” he responded (Endless Possibilities, pg. 220). By 1923, the Canadian government placed an all out embargo to Chinese immigrants. In other words, no Chinese immigrants could come to Canada, which was what the government wanted. “...the federal government to take steps to ban Chinese immigrants through taxes and, later, immigration embargos…” (Canada in the Making). Even so, before the embargo was placed, some employers like the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) needed cheap labour, and they were willing to pay the head tax only for adult men. This leads to our next hardship, the
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