In 2008 British Columbia celebrated its 150th birthday. In 2058 BC will celebrated its 200th birthday! What will the future of BC look like then? First looking back:
→ The British colonial office established the mainland as a crown colony on August 2, 1858, naming it the Colony of British Columbia.
→ British Columbia joined Confederation on July 20, 1871 and became a province.
In 1888 people feared Canada would be Annexed by the United States
“How the map of the United States would look with Canada Annexed” reads the political cartoon above. Interesting to note the names in the different regions.
The Canadian Manufacturers’ Association and the Canadian Pacific Railway opposed free trade with the United States arguing that the commercial union would lead to the United States taking over Canada. The beginning of annexation. Even today people are still talking about Canada joining the United States.
That same year in 1888 there were reports of native people starving in the Edmonton area. Approximately 3,000 First Nations people starved to death because they were forced off their traditional hunting lands and into reservations. Edgar Dewdney was the Lieutenant-governor of the North West Territories at the time, which included Alberta at the time.
→ Edgar Dewdney was the fifth Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia and the builder of the Dewdney Trail which is named after him.
This 1888 political cartoon reads: “Christian Statesmanship”
(Prime Minister) Sir John: Indians starving? Oh, well, they’re not “friends of Dewdney,” you know. I’ll see that you don’t come to want, though, Mr. Contractor.”
Meat contractors were paid by the government to provide food rations for the First Nation peoples. The meat that was provided was inadequate or tainted. Because the buffalo was virtually extinct, there were no hides to make clothing and therefore, many Natives were in rags and perished in the cold winter as well. This was all part of the government’s plan to ‘clear the land’ and make way for new immigrants.
Twenty years later in 1908 immigration was from Europe was in full swing. Land was being purchased by Europeans and farming communities were established.
In 1908 people feared an Asian Invasion
In January 1908 the federal government decide to retrict immigration from Asia.
The government of the day required immigrants to come directly from their countries of origin by a continuous passage. At the time there wasn’t a direct steamship which ran from India to Canada, so this law stopped immigration directly from India.
In agreement with Canada, at the time, Japan placed emigration restrictions on their citizens. Also, a tax was placed on all incoming Chinese immigrants.
This political cartoon of the day reads:
“We have here gentlemen positively the last specimen of a white man known to exist in BC. It was captured after great trouble and expense in the interior of the province. If you will listen gentlemen it will now sing a comic song…..Rule Britannia. The sign reads, Homo Albus (white man) at one time very numerous in this province – may still be found east of the Rocky Mountains.”
In 2016 fears of a slowing economy, homelessness and racism are still hot topics. What does the next 42 years hold for British Columbia?
In 2058 people will have no fears!
By the time BC celebrates it’s 200th birthday will the government respect its people?