NDP calls on government to provide fair deal for Chinese head tax payers


Gim Wong with Jack Layton above right.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NOVEMBER 22, 2005

NDP CALLS ON GOVERNMENT TO PROVIDE FAIR DEAL FOR CHINESE HEAD TAX PAYERS

OTTAWA
NDP Leader Jack Layton along with his caucus colleagues, House Leader
Libby Davies (Vancouver East), Immigration Critic Bill Siksay
(Burnaby-Douglas) and MP Peter Julian (Burnaby-New-Westminster), urged
the Prime Minister to find a compromise and fair deal for all Chinese
Canadian head tax payers and their families, today.

These families deserve an apology and real respect from this government, said Layton. In a letter to the Prime Minister, the Federal NDP questioned the governments
reasoning in allocating $12.5 million for a redress project to a single
organization without including thousands of head tax payers, their
families and their representatives.

It
is completely inadequate for this government to exclude at least 4000
head tax payers, their families and descendants through a lump sum
agreement with only one organization,
said Davies.

$12.5 million has
been allocated to Chinese Canadians through the Acknowledgement,
Commemoration and Education (ACE) Fund, established for communities
affected by wartime and similar past measures. The government is
expected to announce Wednesday that it will sign over the entire
allocation to the National Congress of Chinese Canadians, despite calls
from several other organizations, such as the Chinese Canadian National
Council, to be involved in any commemorative, educational or other key
measures that may arise from the fund.

At
the forefront of the redress movement is the Chinese Canadian National
Council, which represents thousands of head tax payers and their
families,
said Layton, but if this deal goes forward in its current form, CCNC will have no say in how the funds will be spent.

The
Prime Minister should remember his responsibility to find a course of
compromise that will address the needs of the diverse community of
Chinese Canadians that deserve to be acknowledged here,
said Julian.

Finding
a compromise to address the injustices committed against Chinese
immigrants to Canada over a period of decades should be this government
s first priority, added Siksay.

The Canadian government collected $23 million from Chinese Immigrants to Canada between 1885 and 1923.

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For more information, please contact:

Jack Layton Karl Belanger: (613) 995-6767

Libby Davies Leanne Holt: (613) 992-6036

Bill Siksay Sonja vanDieen: (613) 996-5599

Peter Julian Henri Sader: (613) 992-4215

_____________________________________________

From:   Julian, Peter – M.P. 

Sent:   November 23, 2005 10:45 AM

Subject:        Bill C-333, Chinese Canadian Recognition and Redress Act

Importance:     High

Thank you for
contacting my office with your concerns about the government amendments
to Bill C-333, Chinese Canadian Recognition and Redress Act.

BC NDP Caucus member
Libby Davies has brought forward several amendments to this Bill to try
to ensure that Head Tax Payers and their families were properly
represented.  Unfortunately, the Liberal and Conservatives
representatives on this committee voted against all amendments that the
NDP has put forward on this Bill.

You can rest assured
that my Caucus colleagues and myself will continue to push for changes
to this Bill that will acknowledge the mistakes the past government
made by imposing this tax, and for the Bill to be more inclusive of
Head Tax Payers and their families.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Julian, MP

Burnaby-New Westminster

Tel: (613) 992-4214  Fax: (613) 947-9500

Tel: (604) 775-5707  Fax: (604) 775-5743

TTY: (613) 992-4249

CEP 232/SCEP 232

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