Unwanted Soldiers

After the outbreak of the European War in September 1939, the governments of British Columbia and Saskatchewan strongly opposed enlisting Asians in the armed forces, fearing that they would demand to be enfranchised after the war. Despite opposition, many native-born Chinese youths volunteered for military service to prove their loyalty to Canada although they were not treated as Canadian soldiers. It was only after Japan entered the war that the British started recruiting Chinese Canadians to infiltrate and fight behind Japanese lines in China, Sarawak and Malaya. After they were finally granted entry into the Canadian armed forces, over 600 Chinese Canadians served in World War II. On 14 May 1947, the federal government repealed the Exclusion Act and subsequently other discriminatory laws against the Chinese. The 1962 immigration policy opened the door to Chinese immigration. As a result, new Chinese immigrants rose from 876 in 1962 to 5,178 in 1966.