Canada’s New Democrats
CALLS ON GOVERNMENT TO PROVIDE FAIR DEAL FOR CHINESE HEAD TAX PAYERS
Vancouver – NDP candidate for Vancouver
East, Libby Davies, along with her NDP colleagues, Mary Woo Sims (Port Moody
–Westwood- Port Coquitlam) and Ian Waddell
(Vancouver Kingsway) joined with families and representatives of Chinese head
tax payers to urge the Liberal government to find a compromise and fair deal
for all Chinese Canadian head tax payers and their families today.
“It’s upsetting to see the divisiveness the
Liberals have created on this issue in the Chinese Canadian community,”
said Davies. “We’re challenging the Liberal government’s
so-called “shared vision” to acknowledge past hardships for Chinese
Canadians through the Chinese head tax and exclusion legislation in a way that
unites the community rather than deliberately divides it.”
An initial amount of $2.5 million has been allocated to the
National Congress of Chinese Canadians in an agreement in principle through the
Acknowledgement, Commemoration and Education (ACE) Fund. The Liberals announced the deal with the
Congress in November, 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.
“It is completely unacceptable for the Liberal
government to exclude at least 4000 head tax payers, their families and
descendants through an agreement with only one part of the community,” said
The NDP candidates are calling on the government to quash
the existing agreement in principle, go back to the table with all the relevant
groups, including key Chinese Canadian head tax payers, their families and
representatives, and find a compromise and fair deal for everyone.
“These families deserve an apology and real
respect from this government,” said Ian Waddell.
“For so many to be shut out at this point is too reminiscent of the head
“This deal is going ahead without the families and
others who were at the forefront of the redress movement,” said Davies.
“The government has a responsibility to acknowledge the diversity of the
Chinese Canadian community and find a course of compromise.”
Former NDP MP Margaret Mitchell, a long time advocate for
human rights who was on hand for the news conference, was the first MP to ask
the government for an apology on behalf of a head tax payer in 1984. Libby
Davies tabled a motion in 2004, asking for an apology and redress for head tax
payers, their families and representatives.
The Canadian government collected $23 million from Chinese immigrants
to Canada between 1885 and 1923.
Contact: Meena Wong,
604-430-8600 ext. 257
Leanne Holt, 604-254-8863