Head Tax Families Call on Federal Government
for Good Faith Negotiations
- nearly 500 people show up
A CTV cameraman shoots footage of media stories and head tax
certificates - photo Todd Wong
Sid Tan sends the following - My pictures to follow soon:
Highlights of this HTFSC event (November 25/06) will be on Saltwater
City Television broadcast on $Shaw TV on Wednesday November 29 at 8:00pm
9:00pm. Includes full presentation by Grace Schenkeveld, Lillian Lim,
Jack Layton, Ujjal Dosanjh, Libby Davies, David Cadman and me. Also 15min.
doc of the rally and information line at SUCCESS and CCC last year.
Media Release: November 25, 2006
Head Tax Families Call on Federal Government
for Good Fait Negotiations:
Nearly 500 Hundred Observe Seminal Turnaround Moment
of Redress Movement
Honourary Head Tax Families Society memberships went to Vancouver MP Libby Davies,
Head Tax payer Charlie Quan; Federal NDP Leader Jack Layton; Quon Chung Shee Der
represented by her daughter Tse Cho Tai, Gim Wong and Hanson Lau (out of picture)
- photo Todd Wong
BC - Dignitaries and close to five hundred Chinese seniors,
their families and supporters observed the turnaround of the Chinese
head tax/exclusion redress struggle at a public forum at the David Lam
Hall (Chinese Cultural Centre).today. Organised by the Head Tax
Families Society of (HTFSC), a bold and clear path to just and
honourable redress called the Three Manifests was mapped by a near
unanimous show of hands. There were no dissenting votes.
The Head Tax Families Society of believes a just and honourable
redress begins with the Three Manifests: 1) the Government of
will recognize and acknowledge redress is incomplete; 2) the
Government of will commit to good faith negotiations with head
tax families seeking direct redress; and 3) the Government of
will act in the spirit of "one certificate one claim."
Ann Roberts, Kerry Jang, Vancouver City Councillor David Cadman,
Vancouver East MP Libby Davies and Federal NDP Leader Jack Layton
all raise there hands in support of "The Three Manifests" for a full
Head Tax redress - photo Todd Wong
"The Three Manifests is our mandate for a starting point for dialogue
with the government," said Grace Schenkeveld, HTFSC co-chairperson and
grand-daughter of a head tax payer. "We are seeking for head tax
families what every Canadian should want – justice and honour with
the symbolic refund of an unjust tax."
On June 22, 2006, Prime Minister Stephen Harper imposed a unilateral
settlement that will directly address only 0.6% of affected head tax
families. Approximately 600 surviving head tax payers and spouses
will receive $20,000 in ex gratia payments. Over 82,000 Chinese
families paid the unjust tax between 1885 and 1923 in and 1906
to 1949 in Newfoundland before joining Confederation.
"Our call for one certificate one claim was articulated by Charlie
Quan, a head tax payer, in his handwritten letter hand-delivered to
Jason Kenney, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister," states
Sid Tan, a HTFSC spokesperson and grandson of a head tax payer. "It
is a simple and dignified proposal to treat all head tax families
equally and fairly."
In 1984, Margaret Mitchell, then New Democrat MP for East,
raised the issue on behalf of constituent Dak Leon Mark, a head tax
payer. With the help of Hanson Lau, broadcaster and host of Overseas
Chinese Voice, close to 800 head tax families registered a call for
direct redress that year. To date, over 5,000 head tax families have
registered with HTFSC and redress-seeking groups across the
past twenty two years.
A Head Tax descendant proudly shows his support for Jack Layton's
stance against the Iraq War - photo Todd Wong
"The NDP was first to raised the issue in the House of Commons in
1984,".states Jack Layton, Leader of the federal New Democrats.
"Since then, I am proud to say that New Democrats have worked with the
Chinese community every step of the way for justice and redress. We
will continue to do so."
For their longtime principled work on redress, MP's Jack Layton and
Libby Davies of the New Democrats and Ujjal Dosanjh of the Liberals
were awarded honourary membership in HTFSC. Their memberships
symbolize HTFSC is politically non-partisan and open to all Canadians
of good conscience. As well, councilors David Cadman of
COPE and George Chow of Vision made generous donations and
purchased memberships in HTFSC. Also in attendance were New Democrat
MP's Dawn Black and Penny Priddy and Kanman Wong representing
Conservative cabinet minister David Emerson..
Honourary memberships were also awarded to recognize head tax families
and other Chinese Canadians in the struggle for justice and honour.
Charlie Quan, Quon Chung Shee Der represented by her daughter Tse Cho
Tai, Gim Wong and Hanson Lau received their membership as,
respectively, a head tax payer, a spouse of a head tax payer (Mrs.
Der), a son of two head tax payers and a Chinese non-descendant. All
have been longtime champions for head tax families.
Fairchild TV interviews head tax descendants and members of the
Head Tax Families Society - photo Todd Wong
Last year on November 26, several hundred people marched in protest
and set up an information line in Chinatown. It attended outside a
closed redress conference funded by the government at the Chinese
Cultural Center and a photo opportunity for Prime Minister Paul Martin
at United Chinese Community Enrichment Social Services (SUCCESS).
This "on the streets" action is now considered by many in the redress
movement as a seminal moment in the redress struggle.
Head Tax Families Society of Canada is a . registered Society with
a mandate of over 2,500 written claims for justice and honour from and
for Chinese pioneer families. An open membership and democratic
Society, HTFSC continues its mission of meaningful redress for head
Vancouver City Councillor George Chow is a head tax descendant.
He poses with Sid Tan head tax activist on the far right, and
Meena Wong, translator for the evnet on the far left. - photo Todd Wong
- 30 -
The “Ugly Chinese Canadian”: new blog by David Wong
You've heard of the Ugly American….
Welcome to the Ugly Chinese Canadian
– a new blog by my friend David Wong, a fellow multi-generational
Chinese Canadian head tax descendant whose family was temporarily shut
out of Canada and separated because of the Exclusion Act, after his
great-grandfathers had paid the Chinese Head Tax.
David and I first met in 1986, when we both became involved in the
“Saltwater City” exhibition, celebrating 100 years of Chinese history
in Vancouver. The Saltwater City planning committee was chaired by Paul Yee, and was soon followed by Paul's award winning book Saltwater City: an Illustrated history of Vancouver Chinatown. David was an architectural graduate at the time,
who has since gone on to develop architect firms in Singapore and
Vancouver, as well as gain a reputation for political insider savvy –
thus qualifying him as one of Vancouver Sun's recent 100 Influential Chinese Canadians in BC.
Lexus’s, and the odd Pinto appear out of thin air… and out pours the
representatives of humanity’s most populous nation.
Stuck in the mob of a Chinese-Canadian crowd? Then, mention the word “Taxman” and see what happens.”
But actually David Wong is a Chinese Canadian writing about the “ugly”
attitudes and behaviors of immigrant Chinese to Canada,
multi-generational Chinese-Canadian descendants and multi-generational
non-Asian White Canadians – especially the politicians!
David has been currently on the BC government's business and cultural
trade mission to China. BC Premier Gordon Campbell, who told David that
this 4th visit to Guangzhou by him was the best. Check out his
wry tongue-lashing critiques about the bumblings of BC and Canadian
bureaucrats and politicians, as Canada and BC is getting out-paced by
Germany, Japan and Australia for trade opportunities in China.
Waitaminute! Wasn't it Trudeau and Canada who were the first to
recognize the People's Republic of China as a nation – thus opening the
gates between China and Canada for a “love-in” following the Chinese
love for Dr. Norman Bethune?
Yes…. but current Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been
showing his lack of cultural and international smarts by sniping at
Beijing and grandstanding over “who invited who” showdown for a meeting
with the Chinese Prime Minister.
David gives the “real dope” and reads in-between the lines of “Canadian politeness” and “Chinese saving face.”