Did Paul Martin really apologize for Head Tax or did he duck? If it waddles like an apology, and it quacks like an apology – then it's a duck!

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Did Paul Martin really apologize for Chinese Canadian Head Tax? or did he duck…
If it waddles like an apology, and it quacks like an apology…  then it's a duck!

I
listened to 1320 AM Radio at 6pm on Wednesday. It is a Chinese language
station and I don't even speak Chinese.  They had clips of Paul
Martin's January 4th visit to Vancouver.  The Chinese media cornered
him, and asked him about the community demands for an apology for
Chinese Canadian head tax.

When
speaking to Fairchild Radio Vancouver (AM 1470) yesterday, Prime
Minister Paul Martin said, “Do I regret that?  The answer is
Yes.  Do I apologize? Yes.  I don't know how anyone could not
regret what occured.”

So now… “I have deep sorrow” translates to “I am sorry???
According
to Roy Miki's book “Redress: Inside the Japanese Canadian Call for
Justice, the word “regret” is used to avoid legal liability.

The real regret is that the Liberals did not come straight out with a
fair and inclusive redress package for Chinese Canadians, when they
signed the Novemeber 26th, Agreement-in-Principle for the ACE
(Acknowledgement, Commemoration, and Education).  The Liberals
deliberately did not include consulting with the Chinese Canadian
National Council and the 4000+ head tax payers, spouses and descendants
that the CCNC registered over the past 20 years.

 It is only due to the diligence of community activists and
Chinese media that the Liberals have now moved from their No Apology
position.

Also on the program, I heard the Liberal
MP (Stephen Owen or was it Ujjal Dosanjh?) saying the Prime Minister
speaks for Canada, and he speaks for the Liberal Party – so you heard
him make an apology….  so I hope it's over with, and I don't want to
hear any more about it… (not exact quotes).

One sound-bite on radio does not an apology make.
Hmmm….
sounds to me like the Liberals are still trying to spin their words
into votes… but I thought that Rapunzel spinning straw into gold was
only a fairy tale???

Ujjal Dosanjh also emphasized his presnt position on redress  is still the same as when
he was a BC NDP cabinet minister – that redress is necessary.  And
said he
will be an advocate for an inclusive process and apology.  It was
Dosanjh that moved the motion to ask the Federal Govnment to initiate
and resolve Chinese Head Tax and Exclusion Act issues.


So if the PM has now made an un-official apology, and plans to make an
official apology in the House of Parliament after he is re-elected….

Does this now invalidate the  Nov 26th Agreement-in-Principle?
Because now, the Liberals have reneged on the pre-conditions of No Apology. 
Will they now also reverse their position on No Individual compensation by making a tax refund?

Apology
(sort of) made….  but saying it only on Chinese language radio
and to ALL Canadians at a media conference for ALL media is a different
thing.  As a 5th generation Canadian of Chinese ancestry, I know
that English is the main language for the vast majority of head tax
descendants.  If the Prime Minister wants to reach us, the
survivors, spouse and descendants of head tax payers – then he must
adress us through English language media.

Wednesday night's Global
Television News reported that “Martin apologizes to Chinese Canadians
for head tax.”  And said this story would be published in tomorrow's
Vancouver Sun.

This
“apology” clearly shows that the Liberals are playing to the Chinese
language voters.  If they really and sincerely had wanted to apologize
for the head tax – then they would not have spent the last two months
saying there would be NO APOLOGY!  

Just yesterday on CKNW
radio, Minister of State (Multiculturalism) Raymond Chan told radio
host Bill Good, that an apology would open the government to
liability.  

Meanwhile,
Minister of Industry and leader of the fedreal
BC Liberal Caucus, David Emerson, says he supports an apology and that
he is not worried about legal ramifications.  In the Jan 4th Metro
Newspaper, Emerson said, “I'll be a pain in the neck to the
establishment if that's what it takes,” distancing himself from Chan's
longtime stance of “No Apology.”

So where does this leave Raymond Chan?  Definitely on the outside. Chan
is still repeating his statements of No Apology like a broken record.

He says he is waiting for a 2nd legal opinion before he changes his
mind.  Meanwhile… the world changes around Raymond, as one by one,
Emerson, Dosanjh and now Martin say that an apology must be made. I
think that “pride” is listed under one of the seven deadly sins.  But
can Chan understand the translation that “Pride” can be like an
“Acknowledgement.”

Next step – commitment to tearing up the November 26th AiP ACE program and start a new inclusive process.

Gee… Japanese Canadian redress negotiations all over again…
  • Government originally says No Negotiations.
  • The more activist groups
    wanting apology and compensation gets ignored.
  • Government
    works out settlement with one group that follows the governmentt line
    (in an effort for survivors to see some settlement before they died.) 
  • Voices rise in a now divided community, challenging groups validity to negotiate
  • Other established community groups challenge the acceptance of No Apology and No Individual Compensation,
  • Public
    pressure builds, until government finally negotiated the 1988
    settlement with both an Apology and individual compensation.


check out www.headtaxredress.org





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