Title

Redress for old wounds: Canadian Prime Minister Harper’s Apology for the Chinese Head Tax

Publication Date

2011

Document Type

Article

Abstract

This essay examines how political leaders apologize for historical injustices. Specifically, we analyze Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's apology for the head tax imposed upon Chinese immigrants. The prime minister's apology was historic in that it marked the first time a Canadian Prime Minister formally apologized for the head tax. We argue that Harper used a combination of the frontier myth and collective apology rhetoric in his expression of remorse toward the Chinese-Canadian community. While controversial, this rhetoric created a discursive space for a constructive and strengthened relationship between the Chinese-Canadian community and the Canadian government.

Original Citation

Edwards, J.A. & Calhoun, L.R. (2011). Redress for old wounds: Canadian Prime Minister Harper’s Apology for the Chinese Head Tax. Chinese Journal of Communication, 4(1), 73-89. https://doi.org/10.1080/17544750.2011.544084