Vancouver Province: Paying head tax families is a just remedy – letters to the editor

Vancouver Province: Paying head tax families is a just remedy – letters to the editor

Some letters
on HT redress in the Vancouver
Province from Monday, February 26th, 2007.

The
first letter is by my friend Sid Tan, a long-time community activist
and advocate for head tax redress.  While his friend Charlie Quon
was the the first person to receive the head tax ex-gratia payment –
Sid's grandmother died in 2002, so she and the family will not receive
a payment.  Neither will Gim Wong, the Canadian born WW2 veteran
whose father paid the head tax, but died a long time ago.  It was
Gim who saluted the Prime Minister from the public gallery when Harper
made the apology in Parliament, in Ottawa.

The second person is from a non-head tax descendant who doesn't understand how redress works. 

Head
tax redress issues have been an open sore on Canada's racist history
for far too long.  It needs to be treated.  The best health
care is always preventative.  Programs for the  prevention of
racism sometimes don't seem effective and a waste of money – but when
racism happens, it costs a lot, and everybody pays for it – sometimes
for generations.

If
head tax money had not been made mandatory – 81,000 Chinese migrants to
Canada could have paid for their health and dental care, homes to live
in, brought their wives and children to Canada, helped to send children
and grandchildren
to university (after universities allowed Chinese to attend) – and all
the things most Canadians take for granted, unless you are barred by
racism.

The
present head tax redress program by Conservative government is only
giving ex-gratia payments to individuals for living head tax payers or
spouses.  This means only 381 certificates from a total of 81,000
certificates are being recognized… less than 0.5%.  That's like
putting a band-aid on a completely burned leg.  Where's the justce
for the other 99.5%?

And redress advocacy groups are only asking for a “symbolic return” – not full tax refund with interest!

See below for the Vancouver Province letters:

Paying head-tax families is a just remedy

Paying
head-tax families is a just remedy

 Prime Minister Stephen Harper presents Chinese head-tax survivor Ralph Lee with a government apology. Now, families of those who paid the tax want compensation payments of $20,000 each.

Prime Minister Stephen
Harper presents Chinese head-tax survivor Ralph Lee with a government apology.
Now, families of those who paid the tax want compensation payments of $20,000
each.

Photograph by : The Canadian Press

Paying head-tax families is a just remedy

Letter to Editor

Vancouver
Province

February 26, 2007, A17 

The
families of Chinese head-tax payers are seeking what every Canadian would want
— a refund of an unjust tax.

No amount
of money could compensate for the hardship and loneliness of 62 years of unjust
legislated tax and exclusion against these families The federal government was
unjustly enriched by the collection of $23 million in head tax, of which the
B.C. government received an estimated $9 million.

The
federal government's message with its imposed settlement was: “The
government was wrong. We're sorry but we're keeping the money. Too bad your
parents or grandparents didn't live long enough. Take it or leave it.” Of
course, head-tax families believe it isn't over until we say it's over. We say
it isn't over.

If the
government unjustly takes a dollar from my family or me and apologizes, does
that mean it doesn't have to give the dollar back? Prime Minister Stephen
Harper and the Conservative government have shown a great deal of political
acumen and finesse on this file. Unfortunately, it now appears to be simply
pandering for votes, while neglecting the matter of justice and honour for head-tax families.

The prime
minister said the Chinese head tax and exclusion were morally wrong.

If that's
the case, shouldn't he do the morally right thing?

Sid Chow
Tan, Chinese Canadian National Council

Hospitals before head tax

Letter to Editor

The Province

February 26, 2007, A17 

I am sick
and tired of hearing about head-tax compensation.

The
government that we have now did not implement the head tax, and therefore
should not have to compensate anyone.

I don't
understand why government after government keeps apologizing, when they weren't
the ones who levied the head tax.

And for
those people who are trying to collect head-tax compensation because their
relatives had to pay it, they're just trying to get money from the government.

The government
could be using the money they have paid to expand emergency facilities in
hospitals, which is far more important.

Courtnee Anderson, Coquitlam

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