Media Release: November 24, 2005 – For Immediate Release
Confuses Canadians on Chinese Head Tax/Exclusion Redress: 4,000 Head
Tax Payers and Families Call for a Just and Honourable Redress Now
Vancouver – The federal government is poised to sign an agreement with
the National Congress of Chinese Canadians (NCCC) that humiliates and
disrespects the few remaining Head Tax payers and their spouses.
Community groups say the NCCC is not representative of the Chinese
Canadians calling on the government to engage in a genuine process of
redress and reconciliation. Only good faith negotiations with
representatives for the last surviving Head Tax payers and spouses who
are in the 90's or older will bring about the long overdue
reconciliation and healing.
“We would all agree that Canada is a better country today because of
the legacy of the Japanese Canadian redress. In that light, we
respectfully request that the Prime Minister review the deliberations
taking place regarding Bill C-333 and re-engage in negotiations with
active participation of all Chinese Canadian communities,” said Grace
Eiko Thomson of the National Association of Japanese
Canadians. “Only a just and honourable settlement can bring about
a healing process leading to full participation and pride in Canadian
Since 1984, over 4,000 Head Tax payers, spouses and families, each with
Head Tax certificate, registered with the Chinese Canadian National
Council (CCNC) to represent their claim to the Government. The
CCNC was not consulted about the agreement because the government set
preconditions of “no apology” and “no compensation”. This was
unacceptable to those seeking direct individual acknowledgement,
recognition and a tax refund.
“Paul Martin is doing the same to the aboriginal community at the First
Minister Conference: luring native elites and chiefs into
accepting a dollar cap for a Ten Year Plan without consultation with
grassroots groups and victims of residential schools,” said Bill Chu,
chairperson of Chinese Christians in Action and Canadians for
Reconciliation. “It is shameful that a Chinese group (NCCC) with
little history of fighting for Head Tax redress bypassed consulting the
victims and is willing to accept whatever small funds offered with no
intent of paying the actual victims.”
“As Canadians, we should have the courage to face our past wrong-doings
including the imposition of head tax and the Chinese Exclusion
Act. We should also urge our government to redress the head tax
payers and families,” said Thekla Lit, a human rights and peace
activist. “Before anyone or group benefits from the money
established because of the injustice to Chinese pioneers, they have the
moral obligation to ensure the head tax payers, spouses and families
get their refund of head tax first.”
“The Chinese head tax redress has been dragged on for over a quarter of
a century. We shouldn't rush to an unjust settlement because of a
upcoming election, said Gabriel Yiu, current affairs commentator.
“By shutting out the Chinese Canadian National Council, who represents
over 4,000 redress claimants, the Liberal government is adding another
disgraceful chapter to our national history.”
“There is much anger and frustration at the federal government.
Before his election to the Commons, current Multiculturalism Minister
Raymond Chan supported Head Tax payers, spouses and descendants at
Chinese Canadian National Council meetings,” said Sid Tan of the B. C.
Coalition of Head Tax Payers, Spouses and Descendants, director of CCNC
and a grandson of a Head Tax payer. “His proposed agreement
with the NCCC is unethical and humiliates the very people who overcame
the racist legislation to enable him to serve in public office.”
The B. C. Coalition of Head Tax Payers Spouses and Descendants are head
Tax payers, their surviving spouses, descendants and supporters.
They are joined in their demand for a just and honourable redress now
by the Ontario Coalition of Head Tax Payers and Families, Chinese
Canadian National Council, Chinese Canadian Redress Alliance, the
Association of Chinese Canadians for Equality and Solidarity Society
and the Metro Toronto Chinese and South East Asian Legal Clinic.
Go to www.headtaxredress.org to sign the on-line petition to stop the
proposed agreement between the federal government and NCCC.
Without proper consultation with the over 4000 Head Tax payers and
families registered with CCNC, any agreement on the on the Chinese Head
Tax/Exclusion redress and reconciliation will be unethical.
Sid Tan, co-ordinator 604-433-6169
B. C. Coalition of Head Tax Payers, Spouses and Descendants