The Dependent Magazine is a Vancouver-based publication of daring and creative works of journalism and entertainment.
Want to get involved?
Send text, pictures, videos, and crude drawings to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The Asiatic Exclusion League has got hold of the right end of the stick,” reads an editorial in the Vancouver Province, “but it has shown a slight tendency toward an indiscreet though well-meaning zeal.”
Five days after the worst race riot in the city’s history-one which caused thousands of dollars in damage to Chinatown businesses, and resulted in dozens of charges, Vancouver’s Police Court heaves a “sigh of relief” as its docket is cleared of the last of its riot-related cases.
“During the hearing of the entire list the counsel for defence have submitted the witnesses to the most savage cross examination,” claims The Vancouver Province. “And have accomplished their purpose in discovering strength of the evidence against their respective clients, without hinting that there may be, in reserve, evidence for the defence.”
Despite a national public apology by Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier, strong anti-asian sentiment continues to pervade the city’s public institutions (the newly-elected President of the Asiatic Exclusion League is Vice-President of the Trades and Labour Council, and the organization itself is supported by Mayor Bethune, and the B.C. Attorney-General). Though a number of charges will proceed to trial, only one will result in a conviction -a bookkeeper fined $50 for assaulting a police sargeant.
“It is declared by some that the good name of the city has been injured,” a “prominent member” of the Exclusion League is quoted as saying, “but as no serious damage was done, I think that it is a far-fetched statement.”
Less than one year later, a Royal Commission headed by Labour Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King will determine that the damage suffered by Chinese merchants totals more than $26,000.
The triumph, though, is short-lived, as it is swiftly followed by increased measures to restrict asian immigration, culminating ultimately in total Chinese exclusion by 1923.
IMAGE: Members of the Knights of the Kanadian Ku Klux Klan, outside their headquarters at 1960 Mathews Street (now Canuck Place)