Apologizing for historical wrongs ‘tears societies apart’: Former B.C. premier Ujjal Dosanjh

“It is the worst form of pandering by politicians, and we’ve been doing it for a long time in this country. B.C. Liberals are simply repeating that sin. This holier-than-thou nonsense that I hear from other politicians or from individuals from so-called ethnic communities is nauseating. For heaven’s sake, we’re all ethnic.” Former B.C. NDP premier Ujjal Dosanjh

Ujjal Dosanjh calls ethnic pandering ‘nauseating’.

Former B.C. NDP premier Ujjal Dosanjh says he now opposes the policy of apologizing to ethnic groups for historical wrongs, saying it panders to divisive “identity politics” that are pitting Canadians against one another.

Dosanjh, Canada’s first Indo-Canadian premier and a former provincial attorney general, federal Liberal MP and cabinet minister, said he’s disgusted by the political haymaking over the provincial Liberal party’s controversial “multicultural ethnic election strategy,” which advocates “quick wins” by making apologies to ethnic groups for historic wrongs.

As an NDP MLA in the early 1990s, Dosanjh actively campaigned for the federal government to apologize for Chinese immigrants being forced to pay a head tax. When he became a Liberal MP and cabinet minister, he helped convince Prime Minister Paul Martin to make a historic apology in 2006.

The Liberal government of Paul Martin laid the groundwork for an apology over the head tax issue that was later issued formally by the new Conservative government of Stephen Harper. In 2006 Martin, who has been pressured by Dosanjh and another BC minister, David Emerson to issue a government apology, gave a personal one in during a Chinese radio talk show interview.

The new Harper government followed through with a formal apology.


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