Monthly Archives: February 2007

Globe & Mail: Ottawa urged to expand head-tax redress

Ottawa urged to expand head-tax redress

Globe and Mail update

— The Chinese Canadian National Council (CCNC) is calling for an
expansion of the current federal redress program for Chinese immigrants who
paid a discriminatory head tax upon entry into Canada.At a press conference
Monday in Toronto, members of the council and the Ontario Coalition of Head Tax
Payers and Families said the families of those who paid the head tax should be
eligible for compensation.

Currently, only surviving head-tax payers and their
spouses can claim the $20,000 settlement announced by the government in June

“We have formed a consensus right across
… that the redress is not complete,” said CCNC executive director
Victor Wong.

“The head tax impacted on the entire family
– this is the concept that the government fails to understand.”

The council says that as many as 3,000 families are
excluded from the federal payments, which began after Prime Minister Stephen
Harper made a formal apology to Chinese-Canadians last June for the head tax
that was imposed on Chinese immigrants entering
Canada from 1885 to 1923.

NDP MP Olivia Chow put forth a private members' motion
Feb. 14 in the House of Commons urging the government to recognize that the
redress agreement is incomplete and to commit to negotiations with families of
head-tax payers to offer them similar compensation to that of payers' spouses.

“What's happened is that only 5 per cent –
that is, the head tax payers and spouse – receive redress,” Ms.
Chow told the press conference via telephone from
Ottawa , speaking in English and Cantonese.
“Given that a year ago the Prime Minister promised to have complete
redress and an apology, and so far, only the apology and a partial redress [has
happened]…. We need to impress upon them that justice is not done as

Ms. Chow suggested that the matter could develop into
a hot-button issue during the next federal election.

Several direct descendents of head-tax payers spoke of
the hardship suffered by their families as a result of the discriminatory

Student Eric Yam, 14, a second-generation
Chinese-Canadian, never knew his grandparents. His grandfather arrived in
Canada in 1923 and was sent to a detention
centre in Victoria
when he couldn't pay all of the head tax. After marrying in
China in 1930, Yam's grandfather had to leave
his wife and daughter behind upon returning to
Canada due to the Chinese Exclusion
Act of 1923. Tam's father was born years later, but had to quit school at 17 to
support his aging parents.

“The only memory I have of them is the suffering
they faced,” Mr. Yam said. “Even after all these years, the effect
of the head tax is still being felt. My father never got to go to school.
First-generation sons and daughters should receive a refund from the federal
government – it is only fair.”

Educator Rebecca Tam broke down in tears explaining
how her mother never met her own father, who couldn't afford to bring his
family to Canada
thanks to the head tax. Ms. Tam expressed surprise at how
“speedily” Ottawa dealt with the
case of Maher Arar, the Canadian who was imprisoned and tortured in
for nearly a year.

“The government is paying lip service to the
descendents of head tax victims,” Ms. Tam said. “Chinese-Canadians
are once again being sidelined. Mr. Arar, one person, suffered for one year …
in the Chinese community, we had 80,000 head-tax payers and their families who

Binh Chow, co-vice-chair of the Ontario Coalition of
Head Tax Payers and Families (OCHTPF), noted that the $23-million in head taxes
paid by Chinese immigrants is worth billions today even without factoring in
accumulation of interest. As for government concerns that extending redress to
families of head-tax payers would open the floodgates for applications, Mr.
Chow said only those descendents born after 1947, when the exclusion act was repealed,
would be eligible.

Over 80,000 immigrants paid the head tax, which ranged
from $50 to $500 over the years. Newfoundland
also imposed a head tax from 1906 to 1949, the year it joined Confederation.

Chinese-Canadians have been lobbying the government for
the past two decades, with over 4000 families registering with the CCNC since

About 500 families are eligible for compensation under
the current government plan, but thousands more have turned in head-tax
certificates and other paperwork that could serve as documentation for any
claims, Mr. Wong said, adding that the coalition hasn't yet determined what
they think the exact criteria for eligibility should be, but is keen to enter
discussions with the government.

But Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney wouldn't
commit to negotiations, saying the government maintains an “open
dialogue” with the Chinese-Canadian community.

“The government's made its decision on redress,
and I don't see the cabinet reconsidering that,” he told Canadian Press.

While the government acknowledges the suffering of
Chinese families, Mr. Kenney said it had to “draw the line
somewhere” when deciding on a compensation package.

“Part of our concern, quite frankly, is that
many families in this country have suffered hardship or injustice or
discrimination, and we don't want to create social divisions where people start
comparing or compensating each other through their tax dollars for the
sufferings of their parents or grandparents,” he said.

But the Chinese experience is “unique,”
said Maria Chan, vice-president of the Chinese Community Centre of Ontario.

“It was the role that the Chinese played that
made Canada
possible,” said co-vice-chair Doug Hum of the OCHTPF, referring to how
Chinese workers helped build the national railroad. “The tax belongs to
the families and it should be returned. Whole families were affected. Many had
to beg, borrow from other family members to get here.”

With files from Canadian


Politicians are pigs… Stephen Harper, Michael Ignatieff, Hilary Clinton…

Politicians are pigs… Stephen Harper, Michael Ignatieff, Hilary Clinton…

Well, born in the year of… 
Here are some stories about politicians and the Year of the Pig.

February 17, 2007
Chinese in hog heaven
PM joins Year of the Pig party


's Chinese community marked the coming lunar new year last night,
kicking off a festival with Prime Minister Stephen Harper on hand to
extend wishes of good health and good fortune.

Harper told
several hundred people gathered at the Automotive Building at the CNE
for the Toronto Celebrates the Lunar New Year that he is looking
forward to the Year of the Pig.

“I have a particular reason to
celebrate because I was born during the Year of the Pig,” Harper told
the crowd, remarking that he shared some of the traditional
characteristics — honest, direct and patient — of people born in that

“But I must admit I'm not always a patient man. I have particular frustration with the Opposition in the minority parliament.”

of the people at the festival said they were there to show their
appreciation for Harper's apology last June for the head tax that was
imposed on Chinese immigrants to Canada in the early 20th century.

are very thankful that he said this was wrong,” said Michael Wong, who
brought his two young children just so they could see the prime
minister in person.

“I would really like to thank him personally
for what he has done and I know it would be important to some of the
people in my family who are not alive today,” Wong said. “So I have
brought my son and my daughter instead.”

Harper met with festival organizers and other VIPs before the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

along with Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and Canadian
Identity Jason Kenny and MP Wajid Khan, participated in the traditional
dotting of the dragon's eye and officially starting the festival.

makes for a very good end to this year and a good start to next year to
have these important people here to celebrate with us,” said Nancy Lam,
visiting from Hong Kong during this festive season.



February 17, 2007
They're all … pigs
Those born in this Chinese zodiac sign are quick-tempered and stubborn, but also lucky


Prime Minister Stephen Harper is a pig.

Harper has been called worse by some of his opponents. But if you're a
Liberal supporter, don't get too cocky because star MP Michael
Ignatieff is also a pig.

Both high-profile politicians were born in the Chinese year of the pig, which starts tomorrow.

In fact, politics and pigs seem to have a lot in common.

Canadian prime minister Kim Campbell, U.S. Democratic presidential
candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, and former U.S. presidents Ronald
Reagan, Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson are all pigs.

not sure why politics and pigs seem to mix, but with a possible
election year and with Ignatieff and Harper born as pigs, it should
make for an interesting political scene,” said historian Dora Nip of
the Multicultural History Society of Ontario.

The year of the
pig heralds a year of contentment, security, optimism and signifies
good fortune, kindness, honesty and tolerance, Nip said.

has been courting the Chinese community, making a public apology over a
head tax on Chinese at the turn of the century and appearing at the
opening of Phase 2 of the Chinese Cultural Centre in Scarborough last
year. He has also had a few missteps, including a snub by the Chinese
prime minister over human rights issues.

But this is no ordinary
pig year; it's believed to be the year of the Golden Pig, which only
comes around every 600 years. Babies born this year are thought to be
especially lucky.

Pigs are thought to be extremely fortunate animals in China since they tend to eat and sleep all day.

in Canada start in earnest today on New Year's Eve. Toronto 's
400,000-strong Chinese community is one of the largest in North America


Events will range from the ritzy
$500-a-plate Dragon Ball today, attended by a who's who of political
leaders and corporate Canada to festive events in any of the city's
five Chinatowns .

People born in 1911, '23, '35, '47, '59, '71,
'83, '95, and 2007 are born under the zodiac sign of the pig. The
zodiac is based on the five elements of water, fire, wood, metal and
earth, and the traditional calendar's 12-year rotating cycle of
animals: Rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, ram, monkey,
rooster, dog and pig.

Each animal has its own characteristics, believed to define both the year and people born in it.

that case, pigs are quick-tempered and stubborn — which could describe
a lot of politicians, including Harper. But they're also loyal,
trustworthy and kind to their loved ones.

According to the
ancient calendar, 2007 will be year 4705. It begins on the first day of
the new year in the traditional Chinese calendar, starting tomorrow
through Feb. 6, 2008, which is based on both the lunar and solar cycles.

Harper said he's going to be celebrating.

“I have reason to celebrate it too because I was born in 1959, also the year of the pig.

“I'd like to offer my warmest greetings to all Chinese-Canadians as you welcome the year of the pig,” Harper said.

Chinese New Year has become an important part of the Canadian cultural
landscape, which tells us just how big a role this community plays in
modern Canada .

“That role is rooted in a long history — from
your ancestors' involvement in the building of the national railway in
the 19th century, to full participation in every aspect of community
life today,” he said.

“Chinese Canadians have shaped this
wonderful country we all call home. Our shared history was marred by
the injustice of the head tax. I am proud that last year our new
government finally dealt with this issue, so we could all move forward
into the future together and leave the past behind.”

Harper is known as an earth pig.

pigs are kindly in nature and like to please employers and go to great
lengths to secure his or her aims and ambitions and they have a
tendency to eat and drink more than they should,” Nip said.

Ignatieff, one of Harper's biggest rivals in government, said he's looking forward to the new year.

a fire pig, I look forward to what promises to be an exceptional year.
I wish all pigs and non-pigs alike a memorably happy year to come,”
Ignatieff said.

“Fire pigs are energetic, adventurous and
pleasure-seekers. They carry themselves in resolute manners and they
are generous and quick to support a worthy cause, but they can get
carried away by the excitement of the moment and are capable of
outstanding acts of heroism. But when they are determined on an
objective, it is almost impossible to sway them from it,” Nip said.

enough, Liberal Leader Stephane Dion is born in the year of the sheep
and sheep are most compatible and become best friends with pigs.


famous Canadians born in the year of the pig include rock star Bryan
Adams, Tom Green, Sandra Oh, Paul Gross, painter Stanley Cosgrove,
Olympic gold medallist Jennifer Heil, Toronto Maple Leafs Mats Sundin
and Matt Stajan, Ottawa Senators centre Jason Spezza and Formula One
racer Jacques Villeneuve.

Other famous pigs include the Dalai
Lama, leader of the Chinese KMT Chiang-Kai Shek, Ford founder Henry
Ford, Lucille Ball, Humphrey Bogart, Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee
Williams, Alfred Hitchcock, David Letterman and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Spezza said his only wish for the new year “is pretty easy — a Stanley Cup.”

year of the pig?” Spezza said with a huge chuckle. “That one comes out
of left field. But, it's nice to be in the company of someone like the
prime minister.”

Both Sundin and Stajan were unaware they were members of The Year Of The Pig fraternity.

So what would they like the new year to bring?

“The most important thing is to make the playoffs,” Sundin said. “And to win a championship, that's the ultimate goal.”

Stajan agreed.

want what everyone in Toronto wants to see — a winning team here,” he
said. “We want to make the playoffs and then make a run at (the Stanley
Cup). We're going to do everything we can to see that happen.”

up to New Year's Eve, rituals include family reunions with large
dinners, gifts of money placed in red envelopes, firecrackers to ward
off evil spirits, lion dances and a lantern festival.

” Toronto
's vibrant and thriving Chinese community plays an incredibly important
role in making this city the most diverse and cosmopolitan in the
world,” said Mayor David Miller.

“I'm proud and pleased that so
many Chinese-Canadians call Toronto home and I want to wish everyone
the very best for a safe, healthy and prosperous new year!”

Gung Hay Fat Choy – It's the year of the Pig! Norman Tom receives head tax payment in time for Chinese New Year!

Gung Hay Fat Choy – It's the year of the Pig!
Norman Tom receives head tax payment in time for Chinese New Year!

Here are some happy stories to start off the new year.
Mr. Norman Tom recieved a ex-gratia payment for his head tax certificate.







18, 2007

Happy end to
head tax

Canadian gets $20,000



is a Chinese New Year Norman Tom and his family will remember forever.

Tom, 78,
supported by his wife Jean, their three children and several grandchildren,
smiled as he was presented yesterday — on the eve of the Year of the Pig —
with an apology, handshake and cheque for $20,000 as
he became the 38th Chinese head-tax payer to receive redress from the Canadian

am very happy. I feel wonderful. It is a happy ending,” said Tom, after he
was presented with the cheque from MP Jason Kenney,
Secretary of State, Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity.

Tom said
he would hand over all the money to his family and two seniors' organizations
he belongs to.

is the kind of man my dad is,” said Wilman Tom.

The head
tax was imposed on Chinese immigrants to
Canada in 1885.

started out as a $50 tax became $500 in 1904 before being repealed in 1923. A total of 81,000 Chinese immigrants paid head taxes worth $23
To date, 380 applications have been received and are at various
stages of the assessment process.

Chinese Canadian National Council believes descendants of head tax payers
should also receive redress cheques.


News Release Banner

Canada's New Government Provides Ex gratia Payments

TORONTO, February 17, 2007 – On behalf of the Honourable Beverley
J. Oda, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women, the Honourable Jason Kenney, Secretary of State,
Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity, today presented a redress payment of
$20,000 to Mr. Norman Tom in Toronto .

“I am proud that Canada 's
New Government continues to fulfill its commitment to Chinese Head Tax payers
by providing this symbolic payment,” said Minister Oda. “With the
delivery of ex gratia payments to living Head Tax payers, we are taking
recognizing past hardships and contributing to healing in the Chinese
Canadian community.”

In presenting the cheque, Mr. Kenney said, ”
Canada 's New
Government is moving quickly on making the ex gratia symbolic payments
because we are committed to strengthening the sense of inclusion of Chinese
Canadians and their full participation in Canadian society.”

An official apology to Chinese Canadians for the Head Tax was made by Prime
Minister Stephen Harper on June 22, 2006, on behalf of the Government of
Canada. To date, applications from 44 Head Tax payers have been received by
the Department of Canadian Heritage and payments have been made to 37 of

The application process for ex gratia symbolic payments for individuals who
were in a conjugal relationship with a Head Tax payer who is now deceased was
launched on December 1, 2006. To date, 380 applications have been received by
the Department and are at various stages of the assessment process. It is
expected that eligible applicants will begin to receive their cheques in the near future.

The Head Tax was imposed on Chinese immigrants entering
Canada from
1885 to 1923. A similar tax existed in the Dominion of Newfoundland between
1906 and 1949, before the province entered Confederation.


Donald Boulanger
A/Chief, Media Relations
Canadian Heritage
819 994-9101


Radio Canada International: I am interviewed for Monday!

Radio Canada International:  I am interviewed for Monday Feb 19!

Earlier this week on Wednesday Feb 15th, I was interviewed for Radio Canada International's program The Link.  This is a program “linking new immigrants to Canada and Canada to the world.”

show on Monday will feature a panel discussion with three
Chinese-Canadians discussing how they celebrate Chinese New Year. 

I am the multigenerational CC who has rediscovered Chinese New
Year as a way to celebrate my Chinese ancestry.  As well, I
celebrate Lunar New Year with innovative ways such as combining it with
Scottish traditions like Robbie Burns Day.

There is a woman born
in Beijing, but has been in Canada for 22 years.  She is married
to a non-Chinese, and no longer “celebrates” Chinese New Year.

Wong is an older man who came to Canada many years ago, and he
regularly celebrates with traditional foods and customs (which my
family no longer does).

You can also listen to
The Link's Friday's show which interviewed my friend Victor Wong.
A group of Chinese Canadians gathered in Ottawa
yesterday to seek compensation for the Chinese Head Tax and the Chinese
Exclusion Act. Between 1885 and 1923, Canada charged a landing fee of
up to 500 dollars to more than 80 thousand Chinese immigrants then
banned immigration from China completely until 1947. Victor Wong is the
executive director of the Chinese Canadian National Council. He was in
Ottawa Thursday.

Chinese Head Tax: Chan was missing… now Chan is found and demanding an apology…

Chinese Head Tax: Chan was missing… now Chan is found and demanding an apology…

has Raymond Chan been during the Head Tax apology?  Why did he NOT
congratulate the head tax redress groups for being able to receive what
he and his government could not give them. 

Why has he
NOT been criticizing the government for leaving hundreds of thousands
of Chinese head tax descendants out in the cold, while less than 0.6%
of head tax certificates are recognized and honoured with symbolic
redress payments?

Why did Raymond Chan NOT seek the 2nd legal
opinion that David Emerson, Stephen Owen and Ujjal Dosanjh were able to
find?  I spoke to Ujjal during the Dec 2005 campaign, and he said
that an apology in Parliament would cost nothing, and there would be no

During the Dec 2005 election campaign –
Raymond apologized to me personally for not being able to give what we
were asking for – apology + one payment per certificate.

Liberals such as Chan and Hedy Fry were blindly following previous 1994
policy decisions of Sheila Finestone who said “We wish we could rewrite
history. We wish we could relive the past. We cannot…We believe our
only choice lies in using limited government resources to create a more
equitable society now and a better future for generations to come.
Therefore, the government will not grant financial compensation for the
requests made.”

Finestone said that statememt because cabinet
would not pay compensation… All the head tax money that had been
collected… had already long been spent.

Our government should NOT profit from racism.

change, Governments change, Ministers change.  It takes political
will and leadership to make the decisions that resulted in the 1988
Japanese Canadian Redress, even though they went through a number of
ministers to get it done.

The Conservatives are in power now
(albeit in a minority govt), and Jason Kenney is the new Secretary of
State for Multiculturalism (Raymond Chan's old post).  Kenney has
been going through files and memos and recetnly stated that Chan misled
the public about the liabilities of head tax redress.  Chan said
Kenney is wrong and has since demanded Kenny apologize to him.


Chan demands apology from Tory minister

Peter O'Neil

Vancouver Sun

Thursday, February 15, 2007
— Former Liberal multiculturalism minister Raymond Chan rose in Parliament
today to demand an apology from a Conservative minister who accused Chan of
misleading Chinese-Canadians on the head tax controversy.

directed his appeal to Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney, who alleged in
the House of Commons last year that Chan was falsely warning Canadians that a
head tax apology would expose the federal government to potential costly

has cited internal documents obtained by The Vancouver Sun, dating from
mid-2004 to early 2006, after the Conservatives formed government, warning of potential legal problems.

minister of multiculturalism must come clean and apologize to this House, to
Canadians and in particular to the Chinese-Canadian community for misleading
them,” Chan ( Richmond )
said in a statement.

who said earlier this week he had no intention of apologizing, couldn’t
be reached for comment.

in a telephone conference call, said later he and the Liberal party now support
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s apology and promise to provide $20,000 cheques to surving payers of the
racist head tax. The same payments are also going to widows of deceased payers.

said he always tried to develop a “collective” position, and noted
that Tory MPs Inky Mark and Bev Oda both supported the former Liberal
government’s refusal to apologize and offer individual redress.

said all four parties are backing redress now even though there still are legal
concerns that other ethnic groups, as well as Chinese-Canadians not eligible
for the redress cheques, could use the policy to file
challenges under the Charter of Rights.

everybody can handle that legal issue I don’t have to be opposing to that
decision,” Chan said.

concern is always been there. I think that people are making decisions with
that in their mind.”

when he was Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s parliamentary secretary last
year, rose in the House of Commons to denounce Chan’s stated refusal to
apologize because of legal concerns.

was the excuse, but we have since discovered, according to Access to
Information, that he received exactly the opposite advice,” Kenney said
in May, 2006, a month before the Conservative government apologized and offered
$20,000 cheques to surviving head tax payers or the
widows of deceased head tax payers.

cited a 2004 Canadian Heritage briefing note to Chan which listed numerous
groups, including Chinese Canadians, that might seek redress measures similar
to the $422 million package given in 1988 to  victims
of the Second World War policy of interning Japanese-Canadians.

note stated that any claims by other ethnic groups under the Charter of Rights
for equal treatment “would have to demonstrate close parallels to the
Japanese Canadians case in order to be successful,” wrote Judith LaRocque.

appears that, from a legal point of view, none of the outstanding claims would
meet this burden.”

Kenney, asked by a fellow Tory MP if Chan
had his “facts straight” on legal issues relating to head tax
redress, told MPs: “I think the member of
Richmond should apologize to Chinese
Canadians for not telling –“

was cut off by the Speaker before finishing his sentence.)

said today that Kenney mis-read the 2004 briefing

Seattle Gung Haggis Fat Choy: Just confirmed musicians Harry Aoki & Max Ngai

Seattle Gung Haggis Fat Choy: 

Just confirmed musicians Harry Aoki & Max Ngai

On Sunday February 18th, Lunar New Year…  the first Seattle Gung Haggis Fat Choy event will happen.

Vancouver musicians Harry Aoki and Max Ngai will be joining me as we
introduce Chinese-Scottish fusion music and poetry to the good people
of Seattle, Washington.

Harry Aoki

Harry Aoki and double bass – photo Deb Martin

plays harmonica and double bass.  He is an octogenarian who
survived the Japanese Canadian internment, and had left Vancouver in
1942 with his harmonica because it was easier to carry with luggage,
than his violin.  Harry plays classical, jazz and gypsy
swing.  He is an incredible musician and I have had the pleasure
to play with him for a few Gung Haggis Fat Choy events since
2003.  We also played together for the Kogawa House open house
event last September.

The rain can't hold us back

Wong (accordion), Jessica Cheung (vocals) Mas (guitar) and Harry Aoki
(double bass) performing at the Kogawa House open house event,
September 17, 2007 – photo Deb Martin

Max is an accomplished violinist who specializes in Celtic songs, and
stylings.  He has been a member of the Celtic/South Asian fusion
music trio Vishwa, with Sunny and Mehtu – the brother/sister
combination of tabla drums and sitar.  Vishwa performed for CBC
Radio's Sounds Like Canada radio program in 2003, and many other CBC
and explorASIAN events in Vancouver.  I first wrote about them in
September 2004 for the
CBC Radio's Musical Fusion cabaret
I have always wanted to include Max in a Gung Haggis Fat Choy show, and
it is finally going to happen!  I am excited!

What will we play together?  A little Scottish tune,  a little Irish tune, maybe a Chinese themed jazzy swing tune!

Feb 18th, 2007

Ocean City Restaurant

609 S. Weller St.

International District,

Seattle, Washington

5pm reception.

until 9pm.

Expect a 3 hour feast of Chinese food with Scottish music + Robbie
Burns poetry, singalongs, + some Asian Canadian poetry and…. special
music performances.


Northwest Junior Pipeband

Don Scobie – bagpiper
+ Toddish McWong – accordion
Harry Aoki – harmonica + double bass
Max Ngai – violin

Tix: $35

Contact Bill McFadden


produced by Bill McFadden for Caledonian & St. Andrew's Society of Seattle

Douglas Jung film biography “I AM the Canadian Delegate” airs this Sunday, Feb 18th

Douglas Jung film biography “I AM the Canadian Delegate” airs this Sunday, Feb 18th

“I Am the Canadian Delegate” this coming Sunday, February 18th, on
Chinese New Year Day, Film maker Wesley Lowe recently completed the
biography on Douglas Jung, WWII Veteran and Canada's first Chinese
Member of Parliament.

There was a private screening on Sunday, February 5th, for a hundred politicians, funders,
community leaders and veterans group.  Lowe wrote to me and said “In addition to applause, there
was a most unexpected response – tears, not only for the man but for a

In BC, it will air on Channel M at 9:00 pm.
Nationally, it will air on the Biography Channel at  8pm and 11pm
Eastern Standard time.

first met Douglas Jung at an mid 1980's Head Tax meeting at Strathcona
Community Centre.  Then, he seemed tall, and elegant with his
white hair, wearing a turtle neck.  He spoke very well and told
the story about how Chinese-Canadians were pecieved both in Ottawa and
the world.  When he led the Canadian delegation to the United
Nations.  When he approached the desk marked “Canada” – he was
motioned away, and was told that the Chinese desk was over there – this
is for the Canadian delegate.  Jung's reply was “I am the Canadian

Jung led an amazing life.  He signed up as a
soldier when Canada didn't want Chinese-Canadian soldiers.  He was
part of Operation Oblivion – Chinese-Canadians who were trained as
commando troops to go behind enemy lines in Burma and Southeast Asia.

to Canada, the Chinese Canadian veterans led the fight to gain the
francise for Canadians born of Chinese ancestry, so we could have full
citizenship rights and voting privileges.

Douglas Jung became
the first Chinese-Canadian Member of Parliament in 1957 for Vancouver
Centre. He ran as a Progressive Conservative because the Mackenzie King
Liberals had passed the Exclusion Act and wrote the secret memorandum
discriminating against Chinese, and keeping them out of the Candian
Armed Forces during WW2, until Great Britain and Churchill asked Canada
for soldiers who spoke Chinese.

Jung recieved many honours during his lifetime, including both the Order of BC, and the Order of Canada.

Here are links for Douglas Jung O.C.

Order of BC Biography – Douglas Jung

Douglas Jung – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Burma Star biography: Jung

SFU Gung Haggis Fat Choy Festival – the university student version of mixing Scottish and Chinese traditions in untraditional ways

SFU Gung Haggis Fat Choy Festival

– the university student version of mixing Scottish and Chinese traditions in untraditional ways

Back on Robbie Burns Day, January 25th, Simon Fraser University
Recreation Department celebrated the 2nd annual SFU Gung Haggis Fat
Choy Festival.

It was a crazy day filled with dragon cart racing, human curling, a humourous reading of Burns' immortal
“Address to a Haggis,”bagpipes, lion dances, celtic dances, and an
attempt to set a record for the most people eating haggis at the same

My role was to be the play by play commentator for the dragon boat race finals.

Lion Dance aat SFU Gung Haggis Fat Choy Festival in Convecation Mall.

Here is the official SFU News version from the Media department
SFU News – Gung haggis fat choy! – January 25, 2007

Gung Haggis Fat Choy is the brainchild of Todd Wong, a former SFU student As Wong told BBC Radio Scotland recently, Gung Haggis Fat Choy (Gung Hay Fat

Here is an SFU Co-op student's version of the event that feature's dragon cart racing
Having a Great Gung Haggis Fat Choy Time! :: SFU Co-op's Online
Our Co-op team competed in the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Festival Games, one of SFU's Traditions, celebrating both Robbie Burns Day and Chinese New Years! ..

Here is the SFU student newspaper version from The Peak.
e.Peak (29/1/2007) news: Campus: A marriage of cultureGung Haggis Fat Choy is the brainchild of Todd Wong, a former SFU student. As for the phrase “Gung Haggis Fat Choy,” it is a combination of the Chinese

Gee… it's funny but while I was at SFU as a studenty from 1989 to 1996, I contributed articles to The Peak, I was in the Co-op program, and I was a tourguide for the Media department.

Kyoto Journal: Multicultural Webfinds – a story about Gung Haggis Fat Choy!

Kyoto Journal: Multicultural Webfinds
– a story about Gung Haggis Fat Choy!

Kyoto Journal
is a non-profit quarterly magazine based in Kyoto, it's objective is to
present throught-provoking perspectives from Asia.

Author/moderator Jean Miyake Downey has written: 

HAGGIS FAT CHOY: Asian-Celtic Robbie Burns New Year with Toddish McWong
in Vancouver – Turning the “East-West Dichotomy” Inside

Jean moderates the feature called 10,000 Things which is a Buddhist expression representing the dynamic
interconnection and simultaneous unity and diversity of everything in
the universe.

Somehow she thinks Gung Haggis Fat Choy fits into this
perspective.  Jean and I have exchanged e-mails, and she wrote the
following piece based on our conversations and what she found on

HAGGIS FAT CHOY: Asian-Celtic Robbie Burns New Year with Toddish McWong
in Vancouver – Turning the “East-West Dichotomy” Inside

When Asian Eyes are Smiling
Sure, 'tis like the morn in Spring.
In the lilt of Asian laughter
You can hear the angels sing.
When Asian hearts are happy,
All the world seems bright and gay.
And when Asian eyes are smiling,
Sure, they steal your heart away…

song, especially when sung by a Chinese- or an Irish- or a Japanese-
or a Scottish- or a Korean- or a First Nations- or a Filipino- or African-
or Arab or Mexican- or Ukrainian-Canadian tenor, or all of the before-mentioned
hyphenalities in one person, always brings tears to my eyes. A twist
on the musical tribute to Ireland, “When Asian Eyes are Smiling”
has become one of Vancouver's anthems hailing the intercultural fusion.

A groundbreaking leader in this global movement, Canadian activist and
bon vivant Todd Wong does more than mix food, song, and fun from Scottish,
Chinese, and many more cultures in his annual celebration of Vancouver's
intercultural fusion — the annual Gung
Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year
, now in its
tenth anniversary. With acute wit and humanity, he challenges essentialist
descriptions of culture, subverts the usual ways of thinking about differences,
and consciously creates a space that embraces everyone:

“Gung Haggis Fat Choy does more than mix East and West. It blends
them together and turns them upside down and shakes them out sideways.
It highlights Canada's Scottish and Chinese heritage and pioneers. It
breaks down barriers and is an impressive forum for the emerging intercultural
Canada where everybody can claim and celebrate Chinese and Scottish
culture and everything in-between.

Expect great cultural fusion music between East and West, as Scots musicians
play Chinese music and Chinese musicians play Scottish music… and
everything in between and beyond!”

Scheduled between the Gregorian calendar New Year's and the Chinese
lunar New Year, and incorporating the birthday of Scottish poet Robert
Burns, this hybrid New Year's celebration is a valentine to Vancouver's
intercultural community, and proudly serves the “world's first
haggis shrimp dumplings, haggis spring rolls, haggis-stuffed tofu???
in addition to the now famous haggis won ton! For all the non-haggis
lovers there will be: lots of vegetarian food…tofu appetizers, deep-fried
tofu, tofu with vegetables, tofu hot pot, tofu with taro, tofu-stuffed
haggis, and tofu pudding…”

The Gung Haggis Fat Choy has morphed into an ever-increasing series
of creative events — a GHFC festival at Simon Fraser University, a
GHFC World Poetry Night, featuring Robbie Burns' fierce poetic manifesto
on human equality, “A Man's a Man For All That,” and a Dream
Dragon Dance.

A fifth-generation descendant of the Reverent Chan Yu Tan, a Christian
minister who emigrated from China to Canada in 1896, Wong celebrates
his extended family's mix of Scottish, French and other European cultures,
and First Nations, as well as Chinese.

A documentary,
chronicled his cousin Chief Rhonda Larabee's
discovery of her previously obscured
First Nation heritage
and subsequent resurrection of the
Qayqayt band, long considered a vanquished tribe, until she insisted
the Canadian government recognize her status as a surviving member.

Ann-Marie Metten describes Wong's road
to intercultural awakening and activism

It all started in 1993, when Todd attended Simon
Fraser University, home to a World Champion pipe band. When organizers
asked him to help out with the University’s annual Robbie Burns
celebrations, Todd says: “I was befuddled with the idea of a Chinese
guy (me) wearing a Scottish kilt and having to show my bare knees out
in the snow. But I quickly realized that this was my epiphany—a
true multicultural moment.”

Todd's sharp humor and energetic humanity resounds on his blog,
one of the most insightful sites for diversity commentary on the web,
and a smart, lively mix of news and activism.

A friend of fellow Vancouver resident, Japanese-Canadian novelist and
activist Joy Kogawa, he has kept an up-to-date account of the activist
movement to memorialize the Joy
Kogawa House
, which the Kogawa family lost when they were
incarcerated during the Japanese-Canadian internment. In another entry,
he reports efforts to name a park in Vancouver after globally renowned
environmentalist David Suzuki, who was also forcibly removed from Vancouver,
with his family, to a camp in the central Canadian wilderness. A story
on poet-activist Roy Miki notes that the author was awarded three prestigious
university awards (Gandhi Peace Award, Thakore Visiting Scholar, Sterling
FOR JUSTICE, and his work in the movement and commitment to the ideals
of truth, justice, human rights, and non-violence.

Paying tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who saw the connections
between the African-American movement for equal rights with worldwide
anti-colonial resistance, and continuing post-colonial movements, Todd
adds commentary about the continuing struggle by Chinese Canadians and
their supporters to rectify the damage that the Canadian government's
Head Tax
perpetrated. The government imposed this intentional
economic barrier on Chinese immigrants to Canada, during the “White
Canada” historical period, that lasted from the mid-nineteenth
to the mid-twentieth century. During the exclusion era, early Chinese
pioneers were not allowed to bring their families, including their wives,
to Canada. As a result, the Chinese Canadian community became a “bachelor
society”. The Head Tax and Exclusion Act resulted in long periods
of separation and many Chinese families did not reunite until years
after their initial marriage, and in some cases they were never reunited.
While their husbands were struggling abroad, many wives in China were
left to raise their children by themselves, experiencing severe economic
hardship and deprivation.

Besides bringing the power of humor, food, music, poetry, storytelling
and dragon boat racing to his part in co-creating an all-embracing intercultural
society, confronting the hard issues of historical racism and contemporary
injustice, and persistent essentialist stereotyping head on, Todd blows
apart all the boring and predictable takes on multiculturalism, hybridity,
and assimilation. He asks fresh questions, reflecting wide inclusionary
views of all cultures, and deep angles into both the past and the future:

“Canada's multiculturalism has become like a display of pretty
little ethnic boxes for display. That was fine for the 1970's and 1980's.
We had to grow into it, out of our colonial past, into post-colonialism.
But what is next? Hapa-ism?

“Canada is a nation of immigrants. Some old – who think they
own the place. Some new – who think they own the place. Some brand
spanking new – who think they own the place. Where are the common threads?

“I went to see the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” with
a friend who was born in Hong Kong, and came to Canada as a teen. She
sees something in the movie that is a typically Greek-Canadian immigrant
thing, such as the Greek father wanting his daughter to NOT date a non-Greek,
or spoil his son, or the Greek aunties trying to set up their un-married
niece… and my friend exclaims 'Ai-yah! Just like Chinese people.'

“The truth is that there is universality amongst all immigrants.
They want to retain their traditional practices and behaviors, as well
as a sense of identity. This is the comfort zone. If they lose it –
what do they become? Non-Greek? Non-Chinese? Non-Scottish? Do they become
American? or Canadian? What is that?

“How do we address an “evolving culture” that adjusts
with each new boat load, plane load, refugee wave?

“What is a traditional Canadian culture? What happens when the
families become culturally blended? What happens when a Chinese-Italian
marries a Persian-Quebecois or a Scottish-English-Welsh-German-Finnish-Japanese?

“And in the end… we eat… we laugh… we sing… we make love…
we make babies… and another generation begins.”

Happy National Flag Day of Canada Feb 15, 2007 + Canadian Club Vancouver's Flag Day / Order of Canada luncheon

Happy National Flag Day of Canada Feb 15, 2007
+ Canadian Club Vancouver's Flag Day / Order of Canada luncheon

Canadian Flag

It is the 42nd birthday of the Candian Maple Leaf flag.  Did you know it was
National Flag Day

Yesterday I celebrated by co-chairing the Canadian Club Vancouver's
annual Flag Day / Order of Canada luncheon.  It was the club's
10th annual luncheon which also celebrated Vancouver area's newest
members of the Order of Canada.

New Officers of the Order of Canada that attended the luncheon included Janet Davidson and David Dolphin.  First Nations blessing and drum song was given by elder Bob Baker.  Margaret Gallagher of CBC TV's Living Vancouver show emceeded the event.  Marie Bourgeois introduced keynote speaker Roslyn Kunin.

Marisa Gaetanne takes a bow finishing the performance of the Vancouver
Bach Children's Chorus' performance of “This Is My Home.” – photo Todd

Marie Bourgeois OC, First Nations elder Bob Baker and event co-chair Todd Wong.

· February 14, 2007On Canada and Excellence: The 10th
annual ‘Order of Canada & Flag Day’ luncheon, in which recent Order
of Canada honorees who live in the lower mainland are recognized and a
Canadian-flag decorated cake is served. This signature event, with its
colourful pomp and circumstance, always sells out.

upcoming Canadian Club events are:
· April 2007On Canada and its Linguistic Duality: The 5th annual ‘Déjeuner entièrement en français
in which Canada’s other official language is front and center, for the
enjoyment of our francophone and francophile members and supporters.

· May 2007 Celebrating Youth Achievement:
The presentation ceremony for student-winners of the ‘Canada Soars’
competition, initiated by the Club with support from Weyerhaeuser, and
of the Prix Trudeau, sponsored by the Club, for an outstanding achiever
in the ‘Concours d’art oratoire.’

National Flag of Canada Day February 15

Canadian Flag


At the stroke of noon on February 15, 1965, Canada's red and white maple leaf flag was raised for the very first time.

The flag belongs to all Canadians; it is an emblem we all share.

simple in design, Canada's flag well reflects the common values we hold
so dear: freedom, peace, respect, justice and tolerance. Canada's flag
is a symbol that unites Canadians and expresses throughout the world
and always our pride in being Canadian.

The maple leaf flag pays homage to our geography, reflects the grandeur of our history and represents our national identity.

flag thus honours Canadians of all origins who through their courage
and determination, have helped to build and are continuing to build our
great country: a dynamic country that is open to the future.

I, Jean Chrétien, Prime Minister of Canada, declare that February 15
will be celebrated henceforth as National Flag of Canada Day.

us be proud of our flag! Let us recognize how privileged we are to live
in Canada, this magnificent country that encompasses our history, our
hopes, our future.

Jean Chrétien

Prime Minister of Canada February 15, 1996

Flag Day Declaration