|Emne||Canada; History of the Americas|
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Om History of Canada Series: Trouble on Mai
The weather on the Labour Day weekend of 1907 was hot and tempers were short. BritishColumbians had always been sensitive to Asian immigration and had become increasinglyfearful over the summer. More Japanese immigrants were coming to B.C. and rumourssmouldered of massive labour contracts for the projected Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. Like the citizens of Seattle and San Francisco, the residents of Vancouver had established abipartisan Asiatic Exclusion League aimed at Japanese, Chinese, and South Asian immigrantsin order to protect ';White Canada.' The league had widespread support among tradeunion organizations and churches, and so a parade during the Labour Day weekend wasscheduled. The result was a violent riot that drew the world's attention to Vancouver, toCanadian immigration policy, and to Britain's 1902 alliance with the Japanese. Historian Julie Gilmour traces the impact of these events on the life and work of futureprime minister W.L. Mackenzie King, and on Canada's relationships with Britain, theUnited States, China, Japan, and India. King's involvement with the commissions set up toevaluate the damages incurred during the riots led to his interest in opium suppression andimmigration control, and clarified his own sense of Canada's role in the empire.Trouble on Main Streetportrays a nation, and a time, at once relatively recent and shockingly unrecognizable.Over a century later, the links between local pressures, policy, and internationalevents provide insight into current debates on terror, immigration, and Canadian security.