To the editor:
I read Alistair Water’s column in Capital News of Jan. 14. [B.C. Should Do a Better Job at Apologizing Than the Feds.] He was championing the need for an apology and reparations to the Chinese community for the head tax in the 1800s.
I think an apology. and money reparation are wrong. You can’t apply today’s standards, to long ago actions.
The Chinese who paid the head tax knew the rules and chose to pay the price to live in this country. The law was made by the government of the day as authorized by the voters.
In the old days there were lots of rules like this. Non-whites could not immigrate to Australia until recently. White people could not immigrate to China and Japan and many other countries.
This is just the way it was, and just because it was wrong in modern day thinking, it was not wrong in the context at the time.
Canada executed killers in years gone by. We do not do it know. Should we now compensate the family members of these executed criminals?
If we re-think criminal incarceration in the future, should we compensate current prisoners?
Homosexual sex was illegal and persecuted in the past. Gay marriage was not allowed. Should we compensate all gay people for the injustices of the past, considered in the context of society now?
How about the white male applicants to the RCMP about 10 to 20 years ago, who were refused a chance to be an RCMP member, because the force would only take visible minorities and women. Should they be compensated for this discrimination?
How many laws and customs that we have now, in the future will be seen as discriminatory and wrong? Will society have to flagellate itself and pay for forgiveness?
Once again, you cannot apply today’s standards to right the happenings of another age.
PS: There is one wrong I would like addressed. Canadian citizens of Japanese origin during the Second World War, were taken from their homes on the coast and put into internment camps in the Okanagan. This was not wrong in the context of the day. What was wrong, was the government took their land, their houses, their boats and everything that was not accompanying them to the camps, and they sold it all and kept the money. No reparations were ever made for this theft.
And that pisses me off.