ACLA at the 2013 Chinese Railroad Workers Ceremony

Thank you to the event organizers for inviting ACLA to bring greetings and for organizing this annual gathering to recognize the contribution of Chinese railroad workers.
In the Chinese community, Canada is known as “Gold Mountain” meaning land of opportunity and prosperity.
Generations of Chinese have looked to Canada as a place of hope and good fortune.
For Chinese railroad workers, their story is bittersweet.
It is a story of hope and resilience, but it is also a story about hardship, sacrifice, and racial exclusion.
The first Prime Minister of Canada, Sir John A. MacDonald, insisted on cutting costs in building the Canadian Pacific Railway and campaigned to bring in Chinese workers to lower labour costs.
This was the less expensive, alternative option which overshadowed a more elaborate immigration/settlement proposal aimed at bringing in the preferred white Anglo-Saxon workers from British colonies.
In 2006, Canada formally apologized to the Chinese community for it unfortunate treatment of these workers and their families.
While there is recognition of mistreatment on this front, the Canadian government has not learned from past mistakes.
Today, we continue to see Canada use migrant labour.
Not much has changed, except the workers are coming from all over the world now, mainly from the global south.
What is disheartening is Canada has continued to implement similar exclusionary practices.
Instead of the Chinese Immigration Act or the Chinese Exclusion Act, it is now repackaged as the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
These programs allow workers to come into Canada to do work that Canadians are not lining up to do.
They are recruited to work in the fields in rain or shine harvesting the food that we eat.  They are the private caregivers for our children and elders because our country lacks a national strategy to properly care for our young and old.
As a country, we heavily rely on these workers.
However, they are not treated equally and they lack the same protections and rights as Canadian workers.
They are welcomed to labour in Canada for low wages, but they are not allowed to stay.
History is repeating itself and this is wrong.
For ACLA, events such at this one are particularly important.
First, it is an opportunity to help us remember the past struggles of Asian workers.
Second, it reminds us about the links to the issues we are currently dealing with today.
Lastly and most importantly, it can inform and inspire us to chart the path forward.
Asian workers have come along way in Canada, but more work lies ahead.

國慶日向鐵路華工紀念碑獻花 悼盤占元表揚華工貢獻大










冠軍得獎者是來自西門菲莎大學藝術及經濟系學生Anysley Wong Meldrum﹐其可獲得500元獎學金﹔亞軍則是紐芬藺省紀念大學工程系學生Dmitry Kosarev﹐季軍為溫尼辟大學的Lynnette Van Bruggen﹐他們分別獲300元及200元獎金。

基金會主席Andy Mark表示﹐今次徵文比賽的主題雖是關於加國華人的歷史﹐但參賽作品中少於20%為歷史系學生﹐顯示大部分參與者事前都需要進行大量資料搜集﹐藉此可進一步了解加國華人歷史。

ACLA Letter to CRTC on Roger’s Cuts to OMNI Television’s Multilanguage Programming

June 27, 2013

Via Email:

Jean-Pierre Blais

Chairman and Chief Executive Office

Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission

Les Terrasses de la Chaudière

Central Building

1 Promenade du Portage

Gatineau, Quebec J8X 4B1


Dear Mr. Blais:

Re: Cuts to OMNI Television’s Multilanguage Programming by

Rogers Communication


The Asian Canadian Labour Alliance is a multi-racial alliance of community and labour activists

who advocate for the rights of racialized workers in Canada. We are very concerned with the

recent cutbacks to the multicultural programming at OMNI Television (OMNI TV).

OMNI TV is one of the primary sources of information for members of the Asian Canadian

community. OMNI TV has played a critical role in bringing forth stories of interest for our

collective communities. Without OMNI TV, many important issues that are relevant would never

get reported. OMNI news has played a critical role in community campaigns such as the

Campaign for the Redress for Chinese Head Tax and Exclusion Act, the demand for reforms to

the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and raising awareness of the precarious labour force

and its impact on racialized communities. OMNI TV has also represented a diversity of

viewpoints, something that has been absent from most mainstream reporting. The elimination of

these programs will be a significant loss for journalism where the diversity of reporting is

significant in the ever increasing presence of racialized communities across this country.

We urge CRTC to consider the impact that this decision will have on racialized communities

across Canada, and to direct Rogers to restore the cuts to these essential news programs.


Anna Liu                                                                    Chris Ramsaroop

Co-Chair                                                                    Co-Chair

Asian Canadian Labour Alliance                               Asian Canadian Labour Alliance