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Fraser River - Changing faces

Immigration trends in British Columbia

More on the Fraser River:
Fraser River:
Caring for a Great Resource

Osprey health indicates water quality

Cariboo Road:
Gold seekers open the interior of British Columbia

Enhancing Creek to Creek:
Uniting to save the Fraser River

Changing Faces:
Immigration trends in British Columbia

Fowl Territory:
Farmers profit by feeding migrating birds

Mountain Marshlands:
Rehabilitation of interior wetlands

A fine mess:
Restoration of a riparian habitat

Stream Makers:
Preparing a nursery for salmon

Tooth or Consequences:
Making good neighbours of beavers

Troubled Waters:
The struggle over salmon fishing

Waste Not:
Poultry manure is recycled into non-polluting pellets

The first immigrants from Asia arrived in British Columbia in the 1850s. By 1911 almost 10 percent of the population was Asian.

The Asians newcomers were not popular with everyone and a series of restrictive immigration measures were imposed. In 1885, Chinese immigrants had to pay a head tax of $50.00. This tax was increased until it reached $500.00 in 1903. Asian settlers continued to arrive. In many cases, employers would pay the head tax, because Asians worked for less money than other people. The Canadian Pacific Railway, for example, saved $3.5 million by using Chinese workers.

Immigrants from India had special claims for entry, since both Canada and India were members of the British Empire. However, this did not make the immigrants popular. In an infamous incident in May 1914, the vessel, the Komagata Maru, with 400 Indians aboard, was denied entry into Canada. The ship sat in Vancouver's harbour for two months, before eventually returning to India.

During World War II, Canadians of Japanese ancestry were placed in concentration camps and their property was confiscated by the Canadian government which distrusted their loyalty. These people were never adequately compensated for their losses of freedom and property.

Recently, many wealthy residents of Hong Kong have been attracted to British Columbia and the Fraser River valley by federal immigration policies that encourage the entry of business people willing to invest here. Some well-off Chinese immigrant families wanted to establish Canadian citizenship because of the transfer of control of Hong Kong from Great Britain to the People's Republic of China in 1997.

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