It's hard to believe that Canadians of Chinese ancestry have only been
able to vote in BC since 1947. My grandmother was born in
Victoria BC, in 1910, the grand-daughter of Chinese Canadian pioneer Rev. Chan Yu Tan.
After she turned the legal voting age of 18, she had to wait another 19
years before she could vote in 1947 when Chinese were allowed to vote
My Uncle Dan
and his fellow Chinese Canadian war veterans told me the story about
after they were allowed to join the Canadian Armed Forces, they were
stationed in Alberta. On a Canadian federal election day, their
sergeant told them to go vote. Uncle Dan and his mates said “We
can't vote, Chinese aren't allowed to vote.”
The reply was “You're in the King's Army, and you can vote.”
When I became of legal voting age, my father has always emphasized that
I should exercise my right to vote. Dad was born in Victoria BC,
in 1925. He wasn't able to vote until 1947 when he turned 22
years old. But his older brothers and sisters had to wait longer until
the racist voting laws in BC were changed.
Here are some voting and political highlights in Chinese Canadian history
A dozen Chinese veterans who served in the Canadian Army during W.W.I are given the right to vote.
British Columbia passes a law giving the vote to Asians who are Canadian citizens and fought in W.W.II.
Chinese Canadians given right to vote in federal elections.
British Columbia gives all Chinese Canadians the right to vote in provincial elections.
Douglas Jung was the first Chinese Canadian to be elected to the federal parliament.
Raymond Chan (born in Hong Kong) became the first Chinese Canadian to sit on the federal Privy Council.
Jenny Kwan became first Chinese Canadian cabinet minister in BC legislature
Vivienne Poy appointed first Chinese Canadian senator
Below is a picture of Jenny Kwan at the 2005 Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner in Vancouver.