“We are not greedy!” Chinese Canadian seniors angry at Paul Martin's apology

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– For Immediate Release –

 

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“We are not greedy!” Chinese Canadian seniors angry at Paul Martin's apology – photo by Thekla Lit


January 9th, 2006

 

 “We are not
greedy!”

“We are not
thieves!”

“We are not robbing
taxpayers!”

 

About 70 seniors filled the room of Strathcona Community Centre on
Saturday January 7th, angry and disappointed with Paul Martin’s
“apology” for the Chinese Head Tax and Exclusion Act.  They said, “Any sincere apology must be
done in the Parliament, anything less is inadequate and unacceptable”.  The meeting was organized by the BC
Coalition of Head Tax payers, their spouses and
descendants.

 

They were the head tax payers and families who have come forward to
demand redress.  They want to let
other Canadians, including the recent Chinese immigrants understand the extreme
racist environment that prevailed throughout Canada from 1885 to 1947 when their
families lived through the times of the head tax and the Chinese Exclusion
Act.

 

“It is our hope that new immigrants including Chinese will
never be forced to live in ‘ethnic ghettoes’ for protection, be forced to board
their windows and doors against a racial riot like the one that happened in
Vancouver’s Chinatown in
1907,” said a younger generation descendant of a head tax payer. “And to
understand why both an apology and individual compensation to the Head Tax
payers and families are so important. 
Accepting any improper redress solution for 62 years of legislated racism
is an insult to the dignity of the Chinese Canadians.”

 

“Rescind the ACE
Agreement-in-Principle now!”


 “We want symbolic compensation, not the
sky!”


 “NCCC (National Congress of Chinese
Canadians) doesn’t speak for me!”


“We want the Chinese
Canadian National Council (CCNC) to negotiate for us”.

 

These statements
reverberated into the corridors of the local community centre.  The seniors gave a rousing reaffirmation
for the CCNC to represent them.  “We
and many others registered with the CCNC back in the 1980s with our forefather’s
head tax certificate to fight for a redress.  We want CCNC to continue representing us
in this important matter,” said Mr. Ho and his wife.

 

“We are the group of 4000 plus head tax payers that have come out and
demand redress from the government. 
Why didn’t Raymond Chan, the Minister of Multiculturalism give us the due
respect, talk to us and negotiate in good faith with our appointed
representative organization, CCNC to heal our historical wound?” said Mr. H. Lee
and many other seniors who are descendants of head tax
payers.

 

Another senior, Mr. T. Cheng expressed his disappointment with some
Chinese societies which were listed in the supporters’ list for the
Agreement-in-Principle.  “I am a
member of some of these societies. But this matter has never been discussed with
the general membership. When did NCCC consulted us about the redress solution? ”
he queried.

 

During the meeting, seniors demanded
th
e federal government to take immediate action including:

*      Rescind the “Agreement-in-Principle” under
the ACE program;

*     Pass an apology in the Parliament to
acknowledge the injustice of the legislated racism against Chinese;

*     Offer restitution by
returning a symbolic amount to the approximately 250 surviving head tax payers
and surviving spouses
;

*     Enter into good-faith
negotiations with the representatives of head tax families and the broader
Chinese Canadian community.

 

During this election period, these seniors will be taking their
message to all-candidate meetings, radio and television election specials and
interactive telephone-in shows, and community forums.  They believe this is the golden
opportunity that the politician will listen to their just
demand.

 

Seniors plan to
participate in some of the following upcoming event s
including:

 

1.  All-candidate
meetings:

*       
Wednesday 11 January, 7 to 9
pm
S.U.C.C.E.S.S.,
28 W.Pender St.,
Vancouver;

*       
Saturday January 14, 11 am to 1 pm.
Aberdeen Centre, 
Richmond, AM1470 Radio
special

*       
Saturday, January 14, 2 to 4
pm
at Crystal
Mall,
Burnaby, CHMB 1320
Special;

*       
Tuesday, 17 January, 7 to 9 pm, at the
Jewish Community Centre theatre, 
950 West 41st Avenue,
Vancouver;

 

 

Photo Caption: Some seniors and the HEADTAXREDRESS.ORG
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Media Contact:

Gabriel Yiu     Tel:
604-889-0696

Interim Spokesperson (from 9 – 19 January during the absence of Bill
Chu)

BC Coalition of Head Tax Payers, Their Spouses and Descendants

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