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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

The Spokesman-Review said on its editorial page that the people of British Columbia were beginning to consider leaving the British Empire and becoming part of the United States.

The reason? “The British government will not help them to stay the swelling stream of oriental immigration.”

The premier of British Columbia was in London, partly to reiterate the province’s right to “exclude Hindus, even though they are British subjects, and Japanese, notwithstanding the treaty that makes Japan an ally of the British Empire.”

The story quoted Archibald Hurd, writing in the London Fortnightly Review, as saying the British government was obsessed “with the struggle of Slav against Teuton,” but was ignoring the dangerous “rivalry between the white and yellow peoples” in British Columbia. He said politics in the province were increasingly dominated by a “fear” of people from Japan and India.

“This fear, and not the growth of German naval armaments or uncertainty as to the future of little Balkan states, is definitely and rapidly molding the destinies of these Dominions on the other side of the world,” Hurd wrote.

He wrote that many felt “the road of safety” was in close cooperation with the United States, rather than with an Imperial government more concerned with suffragettes than with issues vital to western Canada.