NDP CALLS ON GOVERNMENT TO PROVIDE FAIR DEAL FOR CHINESE HEAD TAX PAYERS

FOR
IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NOVEMBER
22, 2005

NDP
CALLS ON GOVERNMENT TO PROVIDE FAIR DEAL FOR CHINESE HEAD TAX PAYERS

OTTAWA NDP Leader Jack Layton
along with his caucus colleagues, House Leader Libby Davies (Vancouver East),
Immigration Critic Bill Siksay (Burnaby-Douglas) and
MP Peter Julian (Burnaby-New-Westminster), urged the Prime Minister to find a
compromise and fair deal for all Chinese Canadian head tax payers and their
families, today.

“These
families deserve an apology and real respect from this government,” said Layton. In a letter to
the Prime Minister, the Federal NDP questioned the government’s reasoning
in allocating $12.5 million for a redress project to a single organization
without including thousands of head tax payers, their families and their
representatives.

“It
is completely inadequate for this government to exclude at least 4000 head tax
payers, their families and descendants through a lump sum agreement with only
one organization,“ said Davies.

$12.5
million has been allocated to Chinese Canadians through the Acknowledgement,
Commemoration and Education (ACE) Fund, established for communities affected by
wartime and similar past measures. The government is expected to announce
Wednesday that it will sign over the entire allocation to the National Congress
of Chinese Canadians, despite calls from several other organizations, such as
the Chinese Canadian National Council, to be involved in any commemorative,
educational or other key measures that may arise from the fund. 

“At
the forefront of the redress movement is the Chinese Canadian National Council,
which represents thousands of head tax payers and their families,” said Layton, “but if
this deal goes forward in its current form, CCNC will have no say in how the
funds will be spent.”

“The
Prime Minister should remember his responsibility to find a course of
compromise that will address the needs of the diverse community of Chinese
Canadians that deserve to be acknowledged here,” said Julian.

“Finding
a compromise to address the injustices committed against Chinese immigrants to Canada over a
period of decades should be this government’s first priority,”
added Siksay

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

-30-

For
more information, please contact:
Jack Layton
Karl Belanger: (613) 995-6767
Libby
Davies
Leanne Holt: (613) 992-6036
Bill Siksay
  Sonja vanDieen:
(613) 996-5599
Peter Julian
Henri Sader: (613) 992-4215

Question posed by
Libby Davies today in the House of Commons:

“Last Sunday was Father's Day, but many Chiense Canadians never knew their fathers because of the racist head tax..  Very few of them could celebrate because their fathers died waiting for an apology and redress.

Half an hour ago, hundreds of frail seniors arrived on a train to Ottawa with hope for justice at last.  But justice must also include redress for families, without it, there is no reconciliation.

Will the Prime Minister do the right thing tomorrow and offer compensation to Head tax descendants?”

 

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