By Premier Christy Clark
Feb. 14, 2014
VICTORIA - On Tuesday, I stood in the legislature to acknowledge the great work during the past few months to determine the best path forward as we address historical wrongs by past B.C. governments against the Chinese community.
Teresa Wat, Minister of International Trade and Minister Responsible for Multiculturalism, attended seven forums throughout B.C. with members of the Chinese community. The idea was to reach out and confront a painful time in our collective history. It was an opportunity to educate ourselves, and all British Columbians, about a time that we cannot and should not forget. About some bad ideas, and bad government policies.
Unsurprisingly, the hearings generated a lot of interest. Minster Wat heard more than 160 submissions from presenters - powerful stories from those who were impacted by historical wrongs imposed on Chinese Canadians. More than 100 others submitted their views online or by correspondence.
I commend the minister and her staff, and all members of the legislature who participated in this process. This issue isn't about partisan politics, and that's why our government is working with the opposition on a formal motion to be introduced in the legislature as an apology for historical wrongs.
Apologies express regret for actions in the past, but they shouldn't end there - they should also make a difference moving forward.
As the forums made clear, we need to educate all British Columbians about this unfortunate time in our history. That's why I've asked Minister of Education Peter Fassbender and Minister Wat to ensure that our school curriculum reflects our true history.
British Columbia has a long history, filled with men, women, and events we can be proud of - but our history also has to be accurate. We won't achieve anything if we choose to ignore the events of our past that make us uncomfortable. The curriculum changes will ensure that every child in British Columbia grows up knowing our history - including the mistakes.
Introducing changes to the curriculum will take time, and we want to make sure we get it right. As they always do, teachers will guide the process. And we will make sure the new curriculum includes voices from the communities that were affected.
British Columbia is a great province, one that has benefitted greatly by all those who have come here over the years to contribute. We have a lot to be proud of. And by confronting the mistakes of the past, we'll have something else to take pride in.
Office of the Premier