Brokerage Politics and the Exclusion Era’s Denouement
During the Second World War, crises forced Chinese Canadian political brokerage to extreme limits, suspended the usual rules, and forced sudden social change. Traditional brokers failed to secure adjustments in war time policies, so many Chinese turned to wider labor and anti-conscription movements. Mass protests rooted in these movements helped influence the repeal of anti-Chinese policies, building a foundation for a new politics that claimed minorities’ rights to equality. Thus, interpretations of the Second World War as a “good war” that brought about a “triumph of citizenship” for patient Chinese minorities tell only part of the political story. Chinese Canadian mass protests also helped transform Canada’s democracy.
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