Chinese Head tax apology coming June 22nd – no details yet on redress compensation package.

Chinese Head tax apology coming June 22nd – no details yet on redress compensation package.

I was just interviewed by Sing Tao.

I stressed points that support the BC Coalition position:.

BC position is one certificate – one payment.
Equal payment for surviving head tax payer, spouse or descendant.

I
pointed out that Japanese Canadian redress was arrived at by meetings
and agreement with the Japanese Canadian redresss committee.  Initial
offer was rejected.

It would be terrible if the package
announced by the govt was rejected by the Coalitions of head tax
redress descendants across Canada.

Sing Tao wanted somebody to say that “head tax descendants should be informed of the package before the June 22nd announcement.

I
also pointed out that this is a Canadian issue with many of the head
tax familes becoming multi-racial.  Many of my cousins children, like
film maker Karen Cho – are all Multi-racial now.

Cheers, Todd

CCNC National <national@ccnc.ca> wrote:

Harper to apologize June 22 for Chinese head tax, compensation still unclear
By Sue Bailey Canadian Press 
 
OTTAWA
— Prime Minister Stephen Harper will apologize next week for a racist
head tax from the last century that still scars the Chinese community.
 But there’s no word on whether he’ll offer compensation during his June 22 statement in the House of Commons.
 “Cash
payments, community projects, some kind of memorial — that’s the sort
of thing that’s being considered,” said a government source who spoke
on condition of anonymity.
 “There is no clear consensus within the (Chinese) community.”
 Fewer than 20 people who paid the immigration tax are still believed to be living.
 About 81,000 Chinese immigrants paid fees ranging from $50 to $500 to enter Canada between 1885 and 1923.
 About
$23 million in head taxes were collected, placing a burden on
immigrants that often meant they could not afford to bring their loved
ones to join them.
 “Just an apology is not good enough,” said New Democrat MP Olivia Chow, who is Chinese.
 “That is not justice, that is not reconciliation. There has to be compensation.
 “Some
of the descendants were directly affected because they’re sons and
daughters who never knew their fathers. They have mothers who committed
suicide because of loneliness, because of despair . . . (after) 30
years of being separated from their husband.”
 The Chinese Canadian National Council, with chapters across the country, has urged Ottawa to:
 
Apologize and send a letter of regret to anyone holding a head tax
certificate, including surviving spouses or descendants of those who’ve
passed on.
 
Pay a minimum $21,000 to surviving head tax payers or their spouses,
and a minimum of $10,000 to be divided among the first generation
children of deceased payers if both they and their spouse are dead.
 “We
are serving notice to the government that redress in amounts lower than
our proposal would be very difficult for a number of redress-seeking
groups and families to accept,” said Victor Wong, executive director of
the council, in a letter to the Conservative cabinet dated Monday.
 Some
survivors have said they would prefer funding for a memorial or
community projects, said the government source. Related consultations
drew hundreds of responses.
 “We’re
not going to be held to an artificial timetable,” the government
official said when asked when a compensation deal might be reached.
 “It’s extremely important for us to arrive at a just conclusion.”
 Chinese immigration to Canada surged after 1858, especially when labour was needed for hazardous work building the Canadian Pacific Railway.
 The
federal government later tried to stem the influx with head taxes and,
later, the Chinese Exclusion Act that barred Chinese immigrants
outright. It was repealed in 1947.
–30–
 
Subject: (Redress) “Half measure not enough for reconciliation with Chinese Head tax payers and their families.”

 
From Olivia Chow’s office:
 
Subject: Press Release: Chow says “Half measure not enough for reconciliation with Chinese Head tax payers and their families.”

Chow says “Half measure not enough for reconciliation with

Chinese Head tax payers and their families.”

Ottawa
– After two promises from Prime Minister Stephen Harper, consultations
across the country involving thousands of Canadians, and a fund raising
dinner hosted by the Chinese Committee of the Conservative Party
attended by 500 people featuring Minister Bev Oda and Prime Minister's
Parliamentary Secretary Jason Kenney, today's announcement of an
official apology was met with little enthusiasm.

“Today the
Conservatives began looking a lot like Liberals. After years of broken
Liberal promises, we thought that this government would finally restore
trust and do what it promised,” said Chow. “Chinese head tax payers and
their families have been clear about the significance of compensation
to the reconciliation process.”

Early in his mandate, Prime
Minister Harper had publicly promised an official apology and redress
to the Chinese community for the Head Tax. However, during the Throne
Speech and in subsequent comments, the Conservatives have made no
mention of the issue of redress. Today in Question Period the
government again failed to offer proper redress.

“After
waiting so long for the Liberal's to act, I welcome the official
apology, but Canadians seeking proper redress may be disappointed again
with the Stephen Harper government. I am disappointed that no
commitment to redress has been made today,” said Chow. “Since 1984 New
Democrat MPs Margaret Mitchell and Dan Heap were champions of seeking
justice and reconciliation. I thank my colleagues in the NDP caucus for
their long standing support and sustained effort.”

In the last
session of Parliament, both the Liberal and Conservative parties
rejected NDP amendments to proposed legislation that called for an
apology and redress for Chinese Head Tax payers and their families.
These positions changed during the 2006 federal election.

“How
much longer will surviving families have to wait for justice and
reconciliation?” asked Chow last week in Question Period. Chow and the
NDP team will continue to pressure Stephen Harper to provide adequate
compensation at the upcoming June 22 announcement in the House of
Commons.

The Canadian government collected $23 million from Chinese immigrants to Canada between 1885 and 1923. 

-30-

For more information, please call:
Sarah Dopp, 416-543-8332

 
End

Subject: (Redress) Globe and Mail: Harper to apologize for head tax

 

Harper to apologize for head tax

Globe and Mail Update
Ottawa will offer a formal apology next week to Chinese Canadians for the head tax.
The
Conservatives had promised during last winter's election that the
government would formally express its regret for the tax once in office.
“We
have kept our word by holding an unprecedented series of grass roots
national consultations on redress,” Heritage Minister Bev Oda said in
during question period in the House of Commons on Tuesday.
“I
want to thank all of those who participated and I am pleased to
announce that the prime minister will keep his word by righting this
historical wrong.”
She said Mr. Harper will offer a formal apology on June 22.
About 81,000 Chinese immigrants paid $23-million to enter Canada
under the head-tax scheme between 1885 and 1923. The Chinese Exclusion
Act followed, barring Chinese immigrants from altogether. That act was
repealed in 1947.
Chinese Canadians have been calling on Ottawa for years to apologize for the tax and to provide some form of redress.
 
end

Subject: (Redress) CCNC Responds To Government Announcement

 
For Immediate Release
June 13, 2006
 
CCNC Responds To Government Announcement
 
TORONTO.
Chinese Canadians today welcomed the announcement that Prime Minister
Stephen Harper will issue a formal apology in the House of Commons on
June 22nd.
 
The
Chinese Canadian National Council (CCNC) urges the Government to
provide more information on the details of redress as soon as possible.
 
“We welcome the announcement by Minister Oda that the Prime Minister will formally apologize in Parliament on June 22nd,”
Colleen Hua, CCNC National President said today. “We urge all of the
Opposition Parties to join with the Government in righting this
historic injustice.”
 
CCNC
reiterated its 4 point proposal in a letter to the federal Cabinet this
past Sunday. “We are anxious to learn about the details of redress,”
Dr. Joseph Wong, Founding President of CCNC said today. “We hope that
the Government will convene a meeting with CCNC and redress-seeking
groups as soon as possible.”
 
Chinese Canadian National Council (CCNC) and other redress-seeking groups across Canada
have pressed successive Federal Governments since 1984 to provide
redress for the Chinese Head Tax legislation 1885 -1923 and the Chinese
Exclusion Act 1923 – 1947.
 
-30-
 
For more information, please contact:
Colleen Hua, National President, (647) 299-1775 (Toronto)
Dr. Joseph Wong, CCNC Founding President, (416) 806-0082 (Toronto)
Victor Wong, Executive Director, (416) 977-9871 (Toronto)
 
 
End
 
 
 
For Immediate Release
June 13, 2006
 
Chinese Canadians Ride the Redress Train
 
TORONTO/VANCOUVER/EDMONTON/CALGARY/REGINA/MONTREAL/
HALIFAX/ST. JOHNS
 
Today,
the Minister of Canadian Heritage announced that Prime Minister Stephen
Harper will introduce a motion for a Parliamentary apology for the
injustice of the Head Tax and Exclusion Acts on Thursday, June 22nd,
2006.
 
This Friday, Chinese Canadian head tax payers, widows and their descendents will begin a historic train ride across Canada to mark the day the government of Canada finally apologizes for the 62 years of legislated racism they endured under the Head Tax and Exclusion Acts. Beginning in Vancouver on Friday June 16th and joining a major group in Toronto
leaving Wednesday June 21st, hundreds of families will witness the
Parliamentary session at which the resolution to acknowledge the
injustice and apologize to them will be passed.
 
The Redress Train has been made possible with the kind sponsorship of VIA Rail Canada.
 
“We
are grateful for VIA Rail’s support in this historic event both to
commemorate the role of early Chinese Canadian pioneers in the building
of this country and to carry their descendants on this journey of
justice and reconciliation at this time in our country’s history.” said
Susan Eng, Co-Chair, Ontario Coalition of Chinese Head Tax Payers and
Families.
 
Specific dates, events and details will be released at a news conference to be held:
 
Date:                Wednesday June 14, 2006
Time:                10:00 am
Place:               302 Spadina Ave Suite 507
 
 
 
For updates and a current list of events, please see www.headtaxredress.org after Wednesday June 14th.
 
– 30-
 
For more information, please contact:
 
Keith Wong       [416] 971-8022; cell [416] 835-7623        
 
Ontario Coalition of Head Tax Payers and Families
Susan Eng, Co-Chair, (416) 960-0312 (Toronto)
George Lau, Co-Chair (416) 588-1751 (Toronto)
Yew Lee, Co-Chair, (819) 827-3357 (Ottawa)
Avvy Go, Counsel, (416) 971-9674 (Toronto)
 
 

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