Building the CPR (Vlad Zaki)

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  • "Next summer, the railway will be closed to us, the whites will dictate us as they please. We no longer scare them, our only resource is our work, industries and our farms." -Chief Poundmaker plains Cree
  • But, we can't do it alone, we need more workers
  • Before the construction of the railway
  • It takes to long to trade and travel, what could we do?
  • I have an idea! Lets create a railway!
  • We can call workers from Asia, since they have skills in these field and pay them less to save money
  • As Many as 17000 of the laborers hired to build the railway were Chinese. They build most of the challenging and dangerous parts such as mountain passes or over rivers and got nothing in return.
  •  Building the railway. It is said that one Chinese worker died for every mile the railway was built since it was very dangerous, but the Chinese workers were paid only $1.00 per day while white workers were paid between $1.50-$2.50 per day.
  • The Chinese workers lived in camps and slept in tents near the railway even the weather was severe.
  • It's just not fair! The Chinese had to pay taxes to come into Canada, head taxes, and they were paid so little. After the CPR was finished the government passed a "Chinese immigration act" which taxed any chinese person when entering Canada
  • "There were separate camps for the Chinese workers and the white workers. Their pay wouldn't include allowances for food and the amount the Chinese were paid little and had to use that money to cover everything"
  • Descendant of a Chinese railway worker said,
  • "We acknowledge the high cost of the head tax meant that many family members were left behind in China, never to be reunited, or that families lived apart and in some cases in extreme poverty for years. We also recognize that our failure to truly acknowledge these historical injustices has prevented many in the community from seeing themselves as fully Canadian," Mr. Harper said.
  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper was the only prime minister who felt that it was important to apologize to the Chinese
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