Prime Minister Paul Martin Should Meet Montreal Survivors of the Head Tax and Chinese Exclusion Act

Chinese
Canadian Redress Alliance

For Immediate
Release: December 9, 2005

Prime
Minister Paul Martin Should Meet Montreal
Survivors of the Head Tax and Chinese Exclusion Act

MONTREAL/TORONTO. The Chinese
Canadian Redress Alliance (CCRA) called on Prime Minister Paul Martin to follow
the lead of Conservative Party Leader Stephen Harper, NDP Leader Jack Layton
and BLOC Leader Gilles Duceppe and support the call for an apology to and
redress for the victims of the Head Tax and Chinese Exclusion Act.  

“Mr. Martin has adjusted his
schedule to be in Montreal
today to meet with former US President Bill Clinton. Yet he has been unwilling
to meet with one of his LaSalle constituents, Mr. James Wing, a surviving Head
Tax Payer,” Walter Tom, spokesperson for CCRA and Head Tax descendant said
today.

“Mr. Martin has called for
building an inclusive society. However, he continues to exclude the Head Tax
payers and families who are among the nation-builders of this country from any
redress settlement.” 

The Head Tax was imposed by the
Canadian government from 1885 to 1923 and the Exclusion Act was imposed by the
Liberal government of the day in 1923 and lasted until 1947. CCRA supports the
Chinese Canadian National Council and redress-seeking groups who have
tirelessly sought redress on behalf of over 4000 redress claimants for more
than 20 years. “We call on Mr. Martin to meet with Mr. James Wing and to begin
a genuine reconciliation with the Head Tax payers and families,” Colleen Hua,
CCNC National President said today. “Mr. Martin has already acknowledged that
‘the Chinese Head Tax was a terrible thing.’ It’s time for Mr. Martin to commit
to good faith negotiations with the Head Tax payers and families and resolve
this longstanding issue in a just and honourable manner.”

Chinese Canadian Redress Alliance
is joined in the campaign for redress of the Head Tax and Chinese Exclusion Act
by CCNC and redress-seeking groups including the Ontario Coalition of Chinese
Head Tax Payers and Families, BC Coalition of Head Tax Payers Spouses and
Descendants, Association of Chinese Canadians for Equality and Solidarity
Society, and Metro Toronto Chinese and South East Asian Legal Clinic.

– 30 –

For more information, please
contact:

Walter Chi-Yan Tom, CCRA, (514)
341-3929

Ging Wee Dere, CCRA, (514)
488-0804

Victor Wong, CCNC Executive
Director, (416) 977-9871


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