Chinese Canadians invited to attend Throne Speech: Will Redress for Head Tax finally happen with Conservative Government?


Chinese Canadians invited to attend Throne Speech: Will Redress for Head Tax finally happen with Conservative Government?


Chinese Canadian Canadian Head Tax activists are anxiously awaiting the new Throne Speech by the Stephen Harper Conservative government.  It is widely speculated that redress for the Chinese-Canadian Head Tax and Exclusion Act will be included in the Conservative agenda for 2006.

It is such a certainty, that Dr. Joseph Wong, CCNC Founding President, Mr. James Pon, a head tax payer and Mr. George Lau, Co-Chair of the Ontario Coalition will be attending the Throne Speech in Ottawa on April 4, 2006.

Media Advisory: For Immediate Release – April 3, 2006

MEDIA ADVISORY

CHINESE CANADIAN COMMUNITY GATHERS TO HEAR THRONE SPEECH

TORONTO/VANCOUVER/OTTAWA (April 3, 2006) – In response to the demands made during the federal election by the Ontario Coalition of Chinese Head Tax Payers and Families (Ontario Coalition), along with the B.C. Coalition of Head Tax Payers, Spouses and Descendants, Chinese Canadian Redress Alliance and the Chinese Canadian National Council (CCNC), Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised Canadians that a Conservative Government would apologize and provide appropriate redress for the 62 years of racism brought on by the Chinese Head Tax and Chinese Exclusion Act.

Since the election, Chinese Canadian communities across the country have been anticipating a parliamentary apology for these historic injustices. On Tuesday April 4, 2006, Chinese Canadians will gather in Toronto and Vancouver to watch the throne Speech and provide comments and reaction to the media.

Date:                          Tuesday April 4, 2006

Where/When:             Bright Pearl Seafood Restaurant
                                  346 – 348 Spadina Avenue, Toronto at 3:00pm EST

                                 Guys and Dolls Billiards
                                 2434 Main Street, Vancouver at 12:00noon PST

Susan Eng, Co-Chair of the Ontario Coalition for Head Tax Payers and their Families, explains, “The Ontario Coalition and other head tax redress advocates have submitted a Framework for Reconciliation asking that a commitment to redress be made a priority in the Throne Speech, including sponsoring a Parliamentary Resolution to apologize for the harm suffered under the Chinese Head Tax and Chinese Exclusion Act, to provide direct financial redress to the Head Tax payers and surviving spouses, optimally by July 1st, highly symbolic as the date on which the Exclusion Act came into force and to commit to broad consultations and negotiations to effect redress and reconciliation with the descendants of Head Tax payers and those directly affected by the Chinese Exclusion Act.”

Colleen Hua, National President of CCNC says, “The throne speech is significant to the redress movement because it outlines the government’s strategic priorities for the year, especially since the Prime Minister has repeatedly promised an official apology and appropriate redress.”

George Lau, Co-Chair of the Ontario Coalition, agrees and adds, “I believe that the head tax redress movement has spurred many Chinese seniors to become involved in the political system for the first time.  As such we are becoming more civically engaged in the affairs of the nation.  For example, I believe, Chinese seniors will be tuned into the throne speech seeking out announcements that will be directly affecting them whether it is about head tax redress or strengthening the Senior Income Security Act.  Any way you look at it, the redress movement has changed the Chinese Canadian community forever.”

Canada's “National Dream” was realized when the Last Spike was driven to complete the transcontinental railway in 1885. Instead of gratitude for the Chinese railway workers – thousands of whom gave their lives to the building of this country – the government imposed a head tax on all new Chinese immigrants, collecting more than $23 million by 1923. That year, the government passed the Chinese Exclusion Act to stop all Chinese immigration to Canada. The racist legislation was not repealed until 1947.

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Notice to Media: Dr. Joseph Wong, CCNC Founding President, Mr. James Pon, a head tax payer and Mr. George Lau, Co-Chair of the Ontario Coalition will be attending the Throne Speech in Ottawa on April 4, 2006. This delegation will be available to meet with the Ottawa media in the foyer of Parliament immediately after the Throne Speech. Please contact Dr. Joseph Wong, CCNC Founding President, (416) 806-0082.

For more information, please contact:

Ontario Coalition of Head Tax Payers and Families
Susan Eng, Co-chair, (416) 960-0312 (Toronto)

Chinese Canadian National Council
Colleen Hua, National President, (647) 299-1775 (Toronto)
Victor Wong, Executive Director, (416) 977-9871 (Toronto)
Sid Tan, National Director, (604) 783-1853 (Vancouver)
Avvy Go, Director, Metro Toronto Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic; and
Counsel, Ontario Coalition of Chinese Head Tax Payers and Families (416) 971-9674 (Toronto)

BC Coalition of Head Tax Payers, Spouses and Descendants
Bill Chu, spokesperson (604) 261-6526 (Vancouver)

Chinese Canadian Redress Alliance
William Dere (514) 488-0804 (Montreal)
Walter Tom (514) 341-3929 (Montreal)

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