MEDIMEDIA ADVISORY – FOR
EXPRESS” ROLLS INTO TORONTO
(En route to Head Tax and
Exclusion Act Apology in Ottawa)
TORONTO, June 19, 2006 – The
“Redress Express”, carrying Chinese Canadian Head Tax payers,
spouses and families to Ottawa, will make a scheduled stop at Toronto Union
Station tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET.
More than 100
additional passengers from Head Tax families and redress-seeking groups are
expected to join the train Wednesday for the final leg of the journey to the
House of Commons to hear Prime Minister Stephen Harper deliver a Parliamentary
apology for 62 years of legislated racism against Chinese Canadians.
“I think this trip is incredibly
important, especially the apology,” said Head Tax payer Mrs. Mary Mah,
85, of Calgary, who boarded a special car on VIA Rail’s The Canadian train in Vancouver last
Friday to begin the cross-country journey.
Mrs. Mah, whose father paid $500 each for his wife and daughter to enter Canada
in May, 1923, just weeks before the Exclusion Act was imposed, carried a
ceremonial “Last Spike” donated by the late Canadian historian and
author Pierre Berton.
The iron spike, one of several commemorative items given to dignitaries
witnessing the driving of the actual Last Spike at Craigellachie, B.C., and
completion of the transcontinental Canadian Pacific Railway in 1885, was handed
off by Mrs. Mah to Mr. James Marr, 94, when he boarded the train in Edmonton on Saturday.
(Mrs. Mah disembarked in Edmonton but plans to
attend the apology in Ottawa.)
Mr. Marr will be joined Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. ET at Toronto Union Station by
more than 100 other Head Tax payers, spouses and families when the
“Redress Express” (VIA Rail Train 42, departing at 9:20 a.m. ET)
starts the last leg of the journey to Ottawa.
Parliament convenes on Thursday, June 22, at 3:00 p.m. EST to hear the apology.
“This historic cross-country train ride, made possible with the kind
support of VIA Rail, is significant for all Canadians,” said Susan Eng,
co-chair of the Ontario Coalition of Chinese Head Tax Payers, Spouses and
“It focuses national attention on a dark stain on our nation’s
history and the current Government’s efforts to restore justice.”
TIMETABLE FOR “REDRESS
Arrive in Toronto (VIA Rail Train 2 “The Canadian”) on Monday,
June 18, 2006, at 8:00 p.m. ET
Depart from Toronto (VIA Rail Train 42) on Wednesday,
June 21, at 9:20 a.m. ET. Delegation to meet in VIA Rail Station at 8:30 a.m
Arrive in Ottawa Wednesday, June 21, at 2:05 ET.
Prime Minister’s Apology set for
3:00 p.m. ET on Thursday, June 22, in the House of Commons.
For more information, please contact:
Avvy Go, legal counsel, Ontario Coalition
of Chinese Head Tax Payers, Spouses and Descendants 416-971-9676
Keith Wong, Ontario
Catherine Kaloutsky, VIA Rail, corporate