CCNC releases Election Primer for Chinese Canadians urging them to vote and make a difference

CCNC releases Election Primer for Chinese Canadians urging them to vote and make a difference

Chinese
Canadian National Council

News
Release: December 23 2005

Chinese
Canadians Launch 2006 Election Primer; Urges Community To Vote

TORONTO. The
Chinese Canadian National Council launched its 2006 Election Primer today.
“Head Tax redress has become a key community driven election
issue,” Colleen Hua, CCNC National President said today.
“We’ve developed a questionnaire of 12 questions on a range of
topics for the Party Leaders and for the community to use when candidates knock
at their door.”
 

With most of the more than one million
Chinese Canadians living in urban ridings, the federal Parties need to pay
attention to the concerns of the Chinese Canadian community. “There are
no less than 14 candidates of Chinese descent running for elected office and
Chinese Canadians are involved at all levels of this federal campaign,”
Dr. Joseph Wong, Founding President of CCNC said today, “CCNC and
equality-seeking groups urge prospective voters to register, to become familiar
with the issues, to ask questions of candidates and to vote in this upcoming
election.” 

The youth vote is important in this
election if we want an elected government that reflects all aspects of Canadian
society.  “Currently International Students are being directed to
contact their local Embassy for assistance in the case of an emergency,”
Christine Li, Co-Founder of the Chinese Canadian National Youth Council said
today.  “What is the federal government’s responsibility to
safeguard and attend to the well-being of thousands of international students
living away from home?”

NGOs face a funding crunch every year due
to the elimination of core funding some years ago. “Actually, it was
then-Finance Minister Paul Martin who delivered that lump of coal a few years
ago,” Victor Wong, CCNC Executive Director said today.
“Community-based organizations contribute greatly to society by promoting
positive social change and their efforts should be supported by the
Parties.”  

CCNC is a national human
rights organization with 27 chapters across Canada. CCNC is joined in the
campaign for redress of the Head Tax and Chinese Exclusion Act by the Ontario
Coalition of Chinese Head Tax Payers and Families, BC Coalition of Head Tax
Payers Spouses and Descendants, Chinese Canadian Redress Alliance, the Association
of Chinese Canadians for Equality and Solidarity Society, and Metro Toronto
Chinese and South East Asian Legal Clinic.
 

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For media interviews with Chinese
Canadian National Council, please contact

Colleen Hua (647) 299-1775
Sid Tan (604) 783-1853

2006 CCNC ELECTION PRIMER

 REDRESS 

Canada's
“National Dream” was realized when the Last Spike was driven to
complete the transcontinental railway in 1885. The ceremony excluded the
Chinese railway workers who blasted through the Rockies
and lay the tracks and, for thousands, gave their lives to the building of this
country.

Instead of gratitude, the government
imposed the head tax on all new Chinese immigrants – $50 in 1885,
increased to $100 in 1900 and finally $500 in 1903. In all, $23 million in head
taxes was paid. Finally, in 1923, the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed to stop
Chinese immigration altogether until the legislation was repealed in 1947.

Question
1:

Do you support an all-party Parliamentary resolution to acknowledge the
injustice and racial discrimination, and to recognize the suffering of
individual Chinese Canadians, their families, and the entire Chinese Canadian
community that resulted from this legislated racism, including the emotional
and financial hardship, and the forced separation of families?

The Chinese Canadian National Council
(CCNC) started in 1984 to campaign for redress for the 62 years of legislated
racism. Over 4,000 head taxpayers and families registered with CCNC across Canada.
But after 20 years of foot dragging by successive federal governments, there
are only a couple hundred head tax payers or surviving spouses alive today.

Question
2:

Do you support the return of a symbolic amount to the approximately 250
surviving head tax payers and surviving spouses?
 

In its 2005 federal budget, Prime
Minister Paul Martin’s government set aside $25 million to address
redress claims from several communities but it set preconditions on the
so-called Acknowledgement, Commemoration and Education [ACE] program: “no
apology, no compensation”. Despite widespread opposition, the government
rushed to sign an agreement in principle to allocate $2.5 million from the ACE
program to the National Congress of Chinese Canadians which accepted the
preconditions but which does not represent head tax families.

Question
3:

Will you rescind the agreement in principle signed with the Congress and stop
payment on the $2.5 million ACE program funds identified therein?
 

The process of reconciliation cannot
begin until the federal government deals directly with those most affected: the
head tax families. It must also negotiate in good faith with groups that the
head tax families themselves chose to represent them, not those that the
government chooses for them. 

Question
4:

Do you support good-faith negotiations with the representatives of head tax
families as to the nature and extent of redress for the impact of 62 years of
legislated racism on head tax families and the Chinese Canadian community as a
whole, including a transparent and legitimate process of gathering input from
the head tax families and the broader Chinese Canadian community?

IMMIGRATION

It is unfair and discriminatory that
there are serious backlogs in processing immigration and sponsorship
applications in Beijing and Hong Kong locations
where Chinese applicants are concentrated, especially in comparison to other
locations such as Paris or London.  Delays are particularly long
for sponsorship applications.

Question
5:
 
What would your Party do to reduce the long waiting time for these applicants?

Many Canadians feel that the current
point system is too stringent and screens out many qualified applicants. Its
emphasis on language capability discriminates against immigrants who are not of
Francophone or Anglophone background. In addition, Canada's immigration levels are not
meeting target levels, despite the continuing need for workers to build our
economy.

Question
6:

What is your Party's plan to reduce barriers to independent immigrants to Canada?


INTERNATIONAL
STUDENTS

This past summer, international students
attending university in St. John, New Brunswick, were attacked by local youth;
the story making national headlines. The Canadian Government for all its good
intentions, has not been effective in curtailing the growing number of violent
incidents targetted at international students.  Recently, two
international students were shot to death in Ottawa.

Question
7:

What is your Party's policy on the role of the Canadian Government in guarding
the well-being of International Students after they enter Canada?


CORE
FUNDING

Community-based organizations no longer
receive core funding for their daily operations and staffing resources which
has significantly impeded the participation of organizations in supporting
social change and community capacity building.  While transparent
processes and accountability are important, it is also important that the
government recognize and acknowledge the contribution of non-profit
organizations in maintaining and sustaining a stable, healthy Canadian
society.  Project funding is time limited, targetted, and does not
acknowledge the infrastructure needed to implement and deliver results.   

Question
8:

What will your Party do to restore core funding to community-based
organizations?

HEALTH

Canada is known
for its universal health care system that provides free health care for all its
citizens and ensures there are no barriers to accessing health care in every
jurisdiction of the country. 

Question
9:

What will your Party do to ensure that Canada’s Health Care System
continues to be a universal right of every Canadian and prevent the growth of
the private for-profit system? 

Health care is a right of every Canadian,
but many people living in Canada, who are not citizens, continue to contribute
to the growth and development of Canada’s economic system while waiting
to be naturalized.   

Question
10:
What will your Party do to ensure that people who are not
citizens living in Canada,
continue to have access to health care while they are waiting to be
naturalized?

Canada is a
diverse country that is composed of people from a variety of different
cultural, religious and ethnic backgrounds.  Along with languages, and
culture, people bring with them different approaches and understandings of health
and health care. 

Question
11:
What will your Party do to work towards the recognition and
resourcing of different approaches to health care? 
 

EMPLOYMENT

There is a built in assumption that our
immigration eligibility criteria matches the needs of the country, particularly
with respect to employment opportunities.  Because of a lack of
coordination and resources on the part of the government, many newcomers who
are successful in their applications to come to Canada, are not able to find
employment in their area of expertise and find themselves unemployed or working
in jobs where they are enormously over qualified.   

Question
12:
What will your Party do to ensure that a plan is developed
and implemented to facilitate and expedite the accreditation process for
internationally trained professionals?

Partial
List of Federal Candidates of Chinese Descent (2006 Election)

Bloc
Quebecois

May
Chiu                    
Quebec
Meili
Faille                   
Quebec

 Conservative
Party

 Michael Chong            
Ontario
Joe
Li                          
Ontario
Inky
Mark                   
Manitoba
Kanman Wong
           
British Columbia

 Liberal
Party

Raymond Chan
           
British Columbia
Soeung Tang   
            Quebec
Dobie
To                     
Alberta
Simon
Yu                    
British Columbia

New
Democratic Party

John
Chan                   
Alberta
Olivia
Chow                
Ontario

Mary-Woo
Sims         
British Columbia
Helen
Yum                  
Saskatchewan

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