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Uniting Histories and Celebrating Contributions: Let’s have a Chinese Railroad Workers Day

Xiaoming Guo 郭晓明



In the vast tapestry of our nation’s narrative, there exists a pivotal moment—a century-old scar that still bears its weight upon our collective conscience. Today, as we stand on the precipice of the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act, we are compelled to confront this dark chapter in our history. Its indelible mark of discrimination and injustice has shaped our society, leaving a lasting impact on the fabric of our nation. It is in this solemn moment that we advocate ardently for the establishment of Chinese Railroad Workers Day, a national statutory holiday that not only pays homage to the remarkable contributions of Chinese Canadians but also serves as a beacon of unity and a testament to our shared commitment to building a stronger, more inclusive Canada.

Confronting the Legacy of Discrimination:

As the centennial anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act looms large, it is incumbent upon us to reckon with its enduring ramifications. This historical stain stands as a somber reminder of the systemic discrimination that marred our past. We must confront this legacy head-on, acknowledging the pain it inflicted and vowing to build a future free from prejudice and exclusion.

The Profound Contributions of Chinese Canadians:

Amidst the darkness of discrimination, the light of resilience and contribution shines brightly through the story of Chinese Canadians. From the early days of the Gold Rush, these trailblazers braved unfamiliar territories, cementing their place in the annals of our shared history. Among their ranks, the Chinese Railroad Workers stand as a testament to unwavering courage and unwavering sacrifice. Their tireless efforts in constructing the Canadian Pacific Railway were instrumental in uniting our vast nation, shaping the very essence of Canadian identity. Their legacy endures as a powerful reminder of their invaluable contributions to our collective journey.

Furthermore, we must also recognize the significant contributions of Chinese veterans of World War II. These brave men and women fought ardently for the cause of universal suffrage, advocating democratic values and paving the way for greater inclusivity. Their unwavering dedication to equality and justice made an indelible impact on Canadian society. By advocating for the rights of minority ethnic groups, they championed a vision of Canada that transcended boundaries and embraced the principles of fairness and democracy. We owe them a debt of gratitude for their profound contributions to shaping the multicultural tapestry of our nation.

Embracing Unity and Inclusivity:

In our present era, as we face the complexities of a changing labor landscape and an increasingly diverse society, unity and inclusivity are imperatives for Canada’s continued progress. The pursuit of a prosperous nation is not the exclusive domain of a select few; it is a shared responsibility that encompasses every member of our multicultural mosaic, including our Indigenous peoples. Embracing the contributions of all ethnic groups that have played a role in shaping our great nation fosters a sense of unity and empowers us to build a future founded on equity and respect.

The Call for Chinese Railroad Workers Day:

In light of the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act, we passionately advocate for the establishment of Chinese Railroad Workers Day as a national statutory holiday. This commemorative occasion not only honors the indomitable spirit of Chinese Canadians but also symbolizes our collective unity and determination to forge a more prosperous Canada. By recognizing the contributions of every ethnic group, we set a norm that values diversity and celebrates the rich tapestry of our nation’s heritage.

Moreover, the timing of Chinese Railroad Workers Day is especially critical in our current socio-economic landscape. As the baby boomer generation reaches retirement age, we are witnessing an abrupt demographic shift that poses significant challenges to our society. The departure of experienced workers leaves a void in the labor market and creates a pressing need for a skilled and diverse workforce to sustain our economy. The contributions of immigrants become increasingly vital in filling these gaps and propelling our nation forward.

Chinese Railroad Workers Day serves as a rallying call to honor the immense contributions of the Chinese community while acknowledging the urgent need to foster a welcoming environment for all ethnic groups. By establishing this national holiday, we not only pay tribute to the past but also send a powerful message of inclusivity and appreciation for the diverse talents and skills that immigrants bring to our country. It underscores the fact that our pursuit of a strong and prosperous Canada rests upon the shoulders of every individual, irrespective of their ethnic background.

By acknowledging the challenges posed by the retirement of baby boomers and the necessity of a diverse workforce, Chinese Railroad Workers Day becomes an emblem of our shared responsibility to build a future that thrives on inclusivity, innovation, and unity. It is a day when we can celebrate the contributions of Chinese Canadians while reaffirming our commitment to creating an equitable society that embraces the talents and abilities of individuals from all walks of life.


As we stand at the precipice of the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act, let us confront our history with courage and compassion. Through the establishment of Chinese Railroad Workers Day, we pay tribute to the extraordinary contributions of Chinese Canadians and demonstrate our unwavering commitment to unity and inclusivity. This milestone invites us to reimagine a Canada free from the shadows of discrimination, where every individual, regardless of their ethnic background, is honored and respected. Together, let us embark on a journey of collective healing, forging a stronger, more harmonious nation that stands as a beacon of opportunity for all.