Monthly Archives: March 2007

Tartan Day for Canada? Should Scots' contributions to Canada be recognized?

Tartan Day for Canada? 
Should Scots' contributions to Canada be recognized?


A Bill for
Tartan Day
is before the House of Commons right now. 
This is to recognize that the Scots have made important contributions
to the building of Canada as a nation.  Afterall Canada's first
prime minister, John A. MacDonald was born in Scotland, as was the
second – Alexander Mackenzie.  British Columbia's first governor
James Douglas was born in Guyana to a Scottish father and Creole mother
and sent to Scotland to be schooled. 

When
CBC created “The Greatest Canadian”, it was Tommy Douglas, the Scottish
born father of Medicare, who rose from the cream of the crop to be
number one.

But
it was also the Scots who played a big role in creating and supporting
the Chinese head tax, when it was feared that incoming Chinese were
taking jobs away from whites.  When Scottish nanny Janet Smith was
murdered in Vancouver, there was an “ethnic war” between Scots and
Chinese, when a Chinese house boy was accused, then aquitted…
described in the book
Canadian Holy War A Story of Clans, Tongs,
Murder, and Bigotry
by Ian Macdonald and Betty O'Keefe.  

Ahhh….
such was the early conflict between Scots and Chinese in BC's early
pioneer life, before they started falling in love with each other and
having babies together.  This is what makes organizing Gung Haggis
Fat Choy Robbie Burns Days so satisfying.  Nothing like a little
“Romeo and Juliet” to make everybody a little gushy.  
Hmmm…. maybe I should write a story about a Scottish-Canadian maiden
falling in love with a Chinese-Canadian male and set in in pioneer BC?

Anyways…  The Calgary Saint Andrew – Caledonian Society's website has created the following information. www.standrew-caledonian.ab.ca

Tartan Day needs
your help! Get on board!


TARTAN DAY FOR CANADA

A Bill to recognize the contribution Scots and their descendants have made to the development
of Canada has been introduced by Peter Stoffer MP of Nova Scotia. It is a private member’s Bill
and must pass before the closing of this session sometime before summer recess.

WHAT

Bill C-402 An Act Respecting Tartan Day (6th of April each year)

WHERE

Parliament of Canada – Ottawa

WHY

Whereas Canadians of Scottish descent have played an influential role in the
development of Canada …

WHEN – NOW

First reading passed 12 February 2007

HOW

Mail can be sent postage-free to a Member of Parliament at the House of Commons address.
Contact your Member of Parliament and any others you like by mail,
phone, email and/or fax and express your support for Bill C-402.

Contact List of Calgary and Area Members of Parliament
(click here)

You can contact any Member of Parliament.
A List of Members of Parliament for Canada can be found at: www.parl.gc.ca
Select your language
Select Members of Parliament (Current)

The Bill

You can read the bill at: www.parl.gc.ca
Select your language
Select Bills
Select House of Commons – Private members
and then scroll down the long list to C-402

Remember, Canada’s first Prime Minister – John Alexander MacDonald, Glasgow 1815
Alberta’s first Premier – Alexander Cameron Rutherford, Osgoode, ON 1857 (Scottish descent)
Calgary’s first Mayor – George Murdoch, Paisley 1850, and,
Canada’s Citizen of the 20th Century – Tommy Douglas, Falkirk 1904

For Statistics Canada 2001 information on Population by selected ethnic origins go to – www40.statcan.ca/l01/cst01/demo27v.htm

Tartan Day is based on the date of the Declaration of Arbroath. To read the declaration, click here.

Head Tax cheque finally ready for Mrs. Der; PM & Kenney to apologize to family

Head Tax cheque finally ready for Mrs. Der; PM & Kenney to apologize to family

It's
sad to think that it took the death of the oldest surviving head tax
spouse to galvinize the Conservative Government and Heritage Canada
into action over the long-delayed ex-gratia payments to head tax
spouses. 

I know that many of my colleagues in
the head tax redress movement are greatly saddened this past week by
the passing of both Mrs Quon Chung Shee Der in Vancouver and Mr. Ralph
Lee in Toronto.  From coast to coast, people have been recalling
stories of Mrs. Der climbing 2 flights of stairs to attend an
information meeting back in November 2005, or of Mr. Lee wheeling
around parliament in his wheelchair on June 22, 2006 – the of the
parliamentary apology. 

While many of us were too young
to have been born during the time of head tax or exclusion act
(1885-1947), we have heard many of our parents and grandparents tell
their stories or refuse to talk about hard times and racism.  We
have seen the younger generation rise up during the 1980's asking for
head tax redress.

It's
already been a few months since my own grandmother and her sister
received acknowledgement that their spousal claims had been
received.  And that was after months of spouses asking how and
when they could claim.  The problems were that Heritage Canada and
the bureaucrats and their lawyers couldn't agree on how to
proceed.  They harangued over the definition of spouse.  They
wondered about the possibility of multiple wives.  They questioned
how and if conjugal relations defined a spouse.

Der
family friends and head tax activists Daniel and Cynthia Lee first
learned of Mrs. Der's passing and immediately left voice and e-mail
messages for Mr. Kenney, PM Stephen Harper, Libby Davies, Jas Johal of
Global National TV and other friends. They also contacted Heritage
Canada to ask if her cheque could be processed immediately.  In
the chinese tradition of burning fake paper money so the deceased could
take it with them to the after-life, the Der family wished that Mrs.
Der could take a photocopy of the head tax cheque to show her deceased
husband.  It was Daniel and Cynthia Lee, as well as CCNC
National Chair Sid Tan that were interviewed by Global News on Sunday
morning – not former Liberal MLA  Patrick Wong, who is claiming
that he pursuaded Jason Kenney and Prime Minister Harper to send a
letter of apology to the Der family.

This is the first time many
of the head tax activists have heard the name Patrick Wong associated
with head tax. Patrick Wong has not ever been seen at any of the
previous head tax rallies, meetings or protests over the past two
years.  It would have been nice if Wong had offered to the Der
family to help them, but I have only heard of Wong calling media
outlets telling them that he had played a role in asking Jason Kenney
and Prime Minister Harper to write an apology letter to the Der
family.  Hopefully Wong can become a positive advocate for the
continued redress of all head tax certificates with refunds to
descendants whose parents and grandparents predeceased the Conservative
apology and redress program before they could see repayment, and not
just a political opportunist at the time of passing sorrow.

The following is from www.chineseinvancouver.blogspot.com

Cheque finally ready for Mrs Der; PM, Kenney to apologize to family


Following the death of the oldest surviving head tax spouse Mrs Quon Chung Shee Der (謝關仲樹), who was regretful for not being able to see the head tax refund cheque the minute before she died, the federal government now says her cheque has been approved and will be mailed to her family before her funeral.

Patrick
Wong, a former BC Liberal MLA who is now seeking Tory nomination in
Richmond, claimed he was touched by Mrs Der's story and had persuaded
PM Stephen Harper and minister of state for multiculturalism Jason
Kenney to write an apology letter to Mrs Der's family for the delay of
the cheque.

At first, Mrs Der's friends and family thought the
cheque would not arrive for another while and asked Heritage Canada to
issue a fake compensation cheque to be buried with Mrs Der. They knew
Mrs Der would want to carry the cheque to meeting her husband in
heaven, who paid the head tax.

A source
with the government said Mrs Der's cheque has been approved for some
time. It was only waiting to be signed. The bureaucratic red tape was
the main reason for the delay. Bureaucrats have been debating whether
“conjugal partners” should be compensated.

However, formal
marriage registration wasn't the norm during the 1900s among the
Chinese. But the bureaucrats were insisting on the technical debate.

Critics have been saying that it took much longer for the head tax spouses than the payers to get the compensation cheques.

Heritage
Canada yesterday said processing of the first batch of head tax
spouses' applications is now complete and cheques will be mailed out in
a short while.

Mrs. Der, oldest living head tax spouse, dies without head tax refund

Mrs. Der, oldest living head tax spouse, dies without head tax refund

Mrs Quon Chung Shee Der
(謝關仲樹), 102, died last Friday,  Daniel Lee, fellow head tax
activist told me on Sunday morning.  Daniel and his wife Cynthia
were family friends and had visited her earlier in the week.  Mrs. Der
had by default, become the oldest living head tax spouse.  She had
been an active senior in the redress campaign.

I remember when Mrs. Der came to the November 20, 2005 meeting. 
Everybody applauded when she was introduced.  She climbed 2
flights of stairs, with two men helping her because she WANTED to be at
the meeting.  She was more than just feisty.  She kept asking
“When is the government going give me my husband's money back?” 
Okay… she said it in Chinese.

This was at the planning and information meeting prior to our historic Nov 27 Chinese Head Tax: Protest in Vancouver Chinatown
Mrs. Der and many other people vocalized the pent-up frustration of
having justice denied for generations.  It's more than just a
simple wrongful but legal at the time monetary issue.  Mrs.
Der  really understood the issue as moral too.  The Canadian
government made an unfair tax.  It was a racially motivated tax against
only people of Chinese ancestry, and meant to deter Chinese immigration
to Canada..  In 1923, they changed it to an act of outright
exclusion.  But in 1947, they recognized it was wrong and
recanted.  They should give the money back.

Sid
Chow Tan, CCNC National Chairperson issued the following statement of the
passing of Mrs. Quon Chung Shee Der:

On Saturday,
I learned of the passing of Mrs. Quon Chung Shee Der, who at 102 was one of the
oldest surviving matriarchs of the head tax families. On behalf of the Chinese
Canadian National Council, the Head Tax Families Society of Canada and the
Chinese Canadian community, I extend our deep condolences to Mrs. Der's family
and friends.

Quon
Chung Shee Der was one feisty and tenacious advocate for redress of the
Head Tax and Chinese Exclusion Act and we will miss her greatly.

My
colleagues and I will always remember Mrs. Der climbing up two flights of
stairs to attend a community meeting held on November 20, 2005. It was at this
pivotal community meeting that head tax families decided to mobilize the
community to protest the former Liberal Government's efforts to impose the
ill-fated Agreement-in-Principle. Mrs. Der stirred all of us with her simple
question: “When will the Government give me back my husband's head tax
money? She became an instant media star on that day.

Mrs.
Der made an effort to involve herself in the redress campaign. There she was on
May 25, 2006 sitting beside Prime Minister Harper when he visited with our
seniors to discuss the redress issue. The Prime Minister and Hon. Jason Kenney
pledged that she and others would not have to wait too long for redress.
However, while Mrs. Der did submit her redress application in early December
2006, unfortunately, she was unable to hang on any longer and passed away last
Friday.

The
Government has lost the opportunity to complete the redress apology with Mrs.
Der and about a dozen others who have now passed away since June 22, 2006. To
date, none of the more than 400 head tax spouses who applied have received
their redress payments. We pledge to redouble our efforts to achieve a complete
the apology for Mrs. Der and others like her. We will never forget her.”

May
she rest in peace.

History books have continued to write about the “black mark” in
the racist history of Canada.  But the government still wouldn't
apologize, or give a refund, as they do for other “tax mistakes.” 
The government did not want to have to pay for the $23 Million with interest.

But now with an acceptable “symbolic refund” and apology by Prime
Minister Stephen Harper, why is his Conservative government so
S-L-O-W?  No spouses have yet been offered ex-gratia 
payments.  Thank God, they finally gave head tax payer 
Ralph Lee
,
his cheque on March 10, before Lee passed away 5 days later at age
107.  But why wasn't Lee presented with his cheque 5 months ago
when head tax payer Charlie Quon received his?

The government has been confused and quagmired in it's definition of
“spouse” and it's refusal to acknowledge descendants as legal heirs to
head tax refunds.  

Make it simple.  One payment per certificate.  Recognize each
and every certificate.  Please do it before any more surviving
head tax payers, spouses, sons or daughters go empty handed to meet
their ancestors.

This is what the CCNC had proposed to the Conservative government when
they asked for suggestions for redress.  First stage proposals was
to Give immediate apology for Chinese Head Tax, give immediate
“symbolic” monetary redress payment to living head tax payers and
spouses.  Stage Two was to develop a plan to address “symbolic”
monetary redress payment to descendants where original head tax payers
or spouses are pre-deceased.”  To date, the Conservative govt has
not acknowledged the Stage Two proposal.

It's only been since 1984, since MP Margaret Mitchell stood in
Parliament to ask the govt for head tax redress… 23 short but long
years ago.

The following story if from Chineseinvancouver.blogspot.com

Head tax payer's spouse dies with regret


An
icon in the fight for redressing the head tax, Mrs Quon Chung Shee Der
(謝關仲樹), died at the age of 102 with the regret that the final
compensation cheque didn't reach her in time.

“My
colleagues and I will always remember Mrs. Der climbing up two flights
of stairs to attend a community meeting held on November 20, 2005. It
was at this pivotal community meeting that head tax
families decided to mobilize the community to protest the former
Liberal Government's efforts to impose the ill-fated
Agreement-in-Principle. Mrs. Der stirred all of us with her simple
question: “When will the Government give me back my husband's head tax
money? She became an instant media star on that day,” said CCNC's
national chair Sid Chow Tan.

Cynthia Lee
was Mrs Der's friend who helped her fill out the redress application
form last year when Heritage Canada announced head tax payers' spouses could apply for compensation. Mrs Der's husband paid the head tax. To her, getting the tax refund was all about having justice done.

Ever
since, Mrs Der kept asking if her application had been approved. Lee
said Mrs Der had been in anxiety for the last few months. Her health
deteriorated rapidly at the same time. She broke her arm and was
admitted to a long term care facility towards the end of last year.

Lee
questioned why the government needed so long to process applications
filed by head tax payers' spouses. It only took one month for the
payers themselves to get the checque. However, spouses have waited for
over four months and so far none have got the compensation yet.

Tan
said Mrs Der was one feisty and tenacious advocate for redress of the
Head Tax and Chinese Exclusion Act. “We will miss her greatly.”

Last
year when PM Stephen Harper met with head tax survivors in Vancouver's
Chinatown, Mrs Der sat beside Harper, so did another head tax payer
Charlie Quan (關祥國) of 99 years old.

Quan became the country's first head tax payer compensated last October.

“Mrs.
Der made an effort to involve herself in the redress campaign. There
she was on May 25, 2006 sitting beside Prime Minister Harper when he
visited with our seniors to discuss the redress issue. The Prime
Minister and Hon. Jason Kenney pledged that she and others would not
have to wait too long for redress. However, while Mrs. Der did submit
her redress application in early December 2006, unfortunately, she was
unable to hang on any longer and passed away last Friday,” Tan said in
a statement.

Tan blasts the Tory government for having lost the
opportunity to complete the redress apology with Mrs. Der and about a
dozen others who have now passed away since June 22, 2006.

“Slanted Eyes?” Does Parti Quebecis leader Andre Boisclair have a “slanted” view of Asian-Canadians?

“Slanted Eyes?” Does Parti Quebecis leader Andre Boisclair have a “slanted” view of Asian-Canadians?

PQ leader Andre Boisclair has called Asians “yeux bridés”
which translates as “slanted eyes.”  He is not making an apology
for this racist slur.  He says it is an acceptable term in french
language.  The Chinese-Canadian National Council
has called on Boisclair to apologize.  He is refusing.  Even
May Chiu the Chinese-Canadian born in Quebec who ran as a Bloc
Quebecois candidate in the 2006 federal election against Paul Martin
has said that “
yeux bridés” is a derogatory term and she will review her membership in the PQ party. 

Is
Boisclair living in the dark ages?  There used to be a time when
the term “coloured person” was acceptable in society… or “chink”…
or “blackie”…  Communication is about people understanding the
message you are trying to convey, not telling people they are wrong for
misunderstanding you.  This is why racism is wrong and
hurtful.  Imagine telling somebody that because they don't like
the term you call them, you are not wrong – they are!  Maybe
Boisclair should read the book “
Black Like Me (1961)” by John Howard Griffin, to discover what it is like to walk in the shoes of non-white people.

I
have been called many names as I have grown up such as: Chink,
Chinaman, Nip, Nipper, Boat people, and more.  Many times they
were uttered by people who were ignorant, frustrated or angry. 
Sometimes they were said by British immigrants to Canada. 
Sometimes they were said by multigenerational Canadians.  I
consider myself 5th generation Canadian, after my
great-great-grandfather Rev. Chan Yu Tan came to Canada in 1896.

Boisclair's comment is similar to the 1985 Campus Giveaway story run on CTV's W5 program which resulted in the historic W5 protest
by Chinese Canadians across Canada.  Just because people have
Asian features and could be immigrants or foreign students doesn't mean
they aren't actually multi-generational Canadians of Asian ancestry,
born in Quebec!

See below for some of the newstories + statements from the CCNC.

March 16, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

CCNC Slams PQ Leader On “Slanting Eyes” Comment

TORONTO. Chinese Canadians today slammed Parti Quebecois leader Andre Boisclair
for his refusal to correct his offensive description of Asian students as
having “slanting eyes.” Mr. Boisclair was
speaking to Quebec
students on the topic of global competition on Wednesday when he said:
“The reality is these countries are not just working to create jobs in
sweatshops. When I was in Boston ,
where I spent a year, I was surprised to see that on campus about one-third of
the students doing their bachelor's degrees had slanting
eyes
.”

“These are
not people going to work in sweatshops. They are people who will later become
engineers and managers who create richness. There is a ferocious competition
happening in the world today. What I would like to do is equip you and equip
Quebec to face (the
challenge).” Source:
Montreal
Gazette: http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/story.html?id=307e19e1-f727-4086-9ef1-d899d2852706&p=2

“We were extremely disappointed to learn that Mr. Boisclair did not avail himself of the opportunity
yesterday to correct himself and simply withdraw the remarks,” Colleen
Hua, CCNC National President said today. “Mr. Boisclair’s
failure to recognize his harmful comments and his refusal to make amends calls
into question his suitability to be the next Premier of Quebec.”

“How can he
defend the interests of all Quebecers when he fails to recognize the harmful
nature of his words.

In response to questions about whether the term is derogatory, CCNC
cited two dictionary references:
 

From: http://www.wordwebonline.com/en/SLANTEYE
 

Noun:
slant-eye
  slant I

1.       
(slang) a disparaging term for an Asian person (especially for North Vietnamese soldiers in the Vietnam War)
- gook [N. Amer]

Derived forms: slant-eyes

Type of: Oriental [archaic], oriental person

From: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/slant

slant-eye  Slang: Disparaging and Offensive. an Oriental person, esp. a Chinese or Japanese.

 

“Mr. Boisclair has alienated some of
his supporters including members of his party’s campaign with his lack of
sensitivity,” Victor Wong, CCNC Executive Director said today. “Is
it acceptable to refer to school children as students with slanting eyes?

“If they are a source of amazement to Mr. Boisclair,
then why not be more respectful and just refer to us as Asian Canadians or
Asian Quebecers?”

While the French expression « yeux bridés » may have a nuance, it is clear that
many Asian Canadians are offended. CCNC urges Mr. Boisclair
to seize this opportunity during this Action Week Against
Racism in Quebec
to correct himself, that is, to withdraw his harmful comments, and to do so
immediately.

CCNC is a community leader for Chinese Canadians in promoting a more
just, respectful, and inclusive society. CCNC is a national non-profit
organization with 27 chapters across
Canada with a mandate to promote
the equality rights and full participation of our community members in all
aspects of Canadian society.

-30-

For more information, please contact Victor Wong at (416) 977-9871.

end

'No way' will Boisclair apologize for remarks

From Friday's Globe and Mail

QUEBEC
Parti Québécois Leader
André Boisclair refused to apologize yesterday
for referring to Asians as having “slanted eyes,” even as he faced
criticism from Asian-Canadian and other groups that the comments were
offensive.

The
Chinese Canadian National Council said Mr. Boisclair
should withdraw his words, which it said were disrespectful and traded on
caricatures. And a Montreal
civil-rights group said the PQ Leader should apologize because the remarks
betrayed “racial bias.”

“It's
a character issue,” said Victor Wong, executive director of the council,
which has members in Quebec .
“You're aspiring to be premier, and aspiring to be premier of all of us.
To refer to Asian students as having slanting eyes is offensive.”

Mr.
Boisclair said during a campaign speech to students
on Wednesday that they would face growing competition from emerging powerhouses
like India and
China .
He said he was struck by the large number of Asian students while he was
completing his one-year master's degree at Harvard
University in
Boston .

Related to this article

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Mr.
Boisclair studied at the John F. Kennedy School of
Government before running for the PQ leadership in 2005.

“I
was surprised to see that on campus, about a third of the undergraduate
students had slanted eyes,” he said.

“They're
not going to work in sweatshops. They're people who will later work as
engineers, managers, and will create wealth. They're people who will innovate
in their countries. There is ferocious competition in the world today.”

The
PQ has spent years trying to build bridges with ethnic minorities, who have
traditionally backed the Liberal Party, and Mr. Boisclair
has tried to make inclusiveness and tolerance one of his selling points since
his election as PQ leader in 2005.

Yesterday,
faced with repeated questions from reporters, Mr. Boisclair
said he stood by his remarks and didn't understand why a fuss was being made,
since he has used the “slanted eyes” phrase repeatedly in stump
speeches in the past.

“There's
no way I will apologize,” he told reporters during a campaign stop in
Quebec City . He said he
used the expression because “these people are a source of amazement for
me. I've been to Japan ;
they are my friends, my colleagues. No way I will
apologize.”

Asked
why he was referring to the Japanese, when he had talked about Chinese students
the day before, Mr. Boisclair said he meant students
from various Asian countries.

Mr.
Boisclair was speaking French to a classroom of
university students when he referred to “yeux bridés,” which
translates as slanted or slanting eyes. He suggested yesterday the term might
have a more negative connotation in English than in French.

“I'm
doing politics, not linguistics,” he said, adding that he believes
“Quebeckers are 100 per cent behind me” on the issue. Even Mr. Boisclair's rivals said they think he did not intend any
malice.

“He
might have used a better choice of words, but I know Mr. Boisclair
enough to know his intention was not to be disrespectful,” Liberal Leader
Jean Charest said.

The
issue has become a distraction for Mr. Boisclair.
While the French media have reported the comments, most of the questions
yesterday came from English-language reporters.

Fo
Niemi of the Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations, a Montreal
civil-rights group, said he was surprised to hear the remarks come from Mr. Boisclair, whom he considered a socially progressive leader
from a new generation of Quebec
sovereigntists.

Mr.
Niemi said he called the PQ yesterday to simply alert them to what he
considered the inappropriateness of Mr. Boisclair's
remarks. But then he said the party's director of communications for the
election campaign, Shirley Bishop, aggressively told him over the phone that
she saw nothing wrong with the comment and blamed “people like you”
for making racism an issue.

That's
when Mr. Niemi said he decided to issue a news release condemning Mr. Boisclair's comments.

“It's
a very derogatory remark and very racially offensive,” Mr. Niemi said in
an interview, adding that the comments were ill considered at a time when
Quebec needs to increase ties with the economies of Asia
and India .

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070316.wxboisclair16/BNStory/National/home
 

March 15, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CCNC Calls on PQ Leader To Correct “Slanting Eyes” Comment

TORONTO. The Chinese Canadian National Council
called on Parti Quebecois leader Andre Boisclair to clarify comments attributed to him in the
Montreal Gazette and Globe and Mail today:

From Montreal
Gazette:

PQ leader sees
Asian rivalry

In speaking to
students yesterday, Andre Boisclair warned that the
working world they will graduate into is totally different from the one of
their parents, but wound up using an unusual turn of phrase. He said in an open
economy, competition from emerging economies like India
and China
is stiff. Every year, 80,000 young people leave India
and 60,000 leave China to go
to study in the United
States .

“The reality
is these countries are not just working to create jobs in sweatshops. When I
was in Boston ,
where I spent a year, I was surprised to see that on campus about one-third of
the students doing their bachelor's degrees had slanting
eyes
.

“These are
not people going to work in sweatshops. They are people who will later become
engineers and managers who create richness. There is a ferocious competition
happening in the world today. What I would like to do is equip you and equip
Quebec to face (the
challenge).”

© The Gazette (
Montreal ) 2007

  http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/story.html?id=307e19e1-f727-4086-9ef1-d899d2852706&p=2

“It is rather disappointing to hear Mr. Boisclair,
and an aspiring Premier at that, refer to students of Asian heritage in this
manner,” Colleen Hua, CCNC National President said today. “Indeed,
it is ironic that today marks the start of Action Week Against
Racism in Quebec .”

“So we are taking action in asking Mr. Boisclair
to correct his statement immediately.”

CCNC is a community leader for Chinese Canadians in promoting a more
just, respectful, and inclusive society. CCNC is a national non-profit
organization with 27 chapters across
Canada with a mandate to promote
the equality rights and full participation of our community members in all
aspects of Canadian society.

-30-

For more information, please contact Victor Wong at (416) 977-9871.

From Montreal
Gazette:

PQ leader
sees Asian rivalry

In
speaking to students yesterday, Andre Boisclair
warned that the working world they will graduate into is totally different from
the one of their parents, but wound up using an unusal
turn of phrase. He said in an open economy, competition from emerging economies
like India and
China
is stiff. Every year, 80,000 young people leave India
and 60,000 leave China to go
to study in the United
States .

“The
reality is these countries are not just working to create jobs in sweatshops.
When I was in Boston ,
where I spent a year, I was surprised to see that on campus about one-third of
the students doing their bachelor's degrees had slanting
eyes
.

“These
are not people going to work in sweatshops. They are people who will later
become engineers and managers who create richness. There is a ferocious
competition happening in the world today. What I would like to do is equip you
and equip Quebec
to face (the challenge).”

© The
Gazette ( Montreal )
2007

  http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/story.html?id=307e19e1-f727-4086-9ef1-d899d2852706&p=2


From Globe and Mail:

Boisclair remarks on 'slanted eyes'

MONTREALParti Québécois Leader
André Boisclair said during a speech on global
competitiveness that he was surprised to see so many students “with
slanted eyes” when he was studying at
Harvard University .

Speaking
to university students in Trois-Rivières
yesterday about growing competition from emerging economies such as
India and
China , he said he had witnessed the
trend firsthand while on a master's program at Harvard.

Mr.
Boisclair studied at the John F. Kennedy School of
Government before running for the PQ leadership in 2005.

“When
I was at Harvard, where I spent a year, I was surprised to see that on campus,
about a third of the undergraduate students had slanted eyes,” he said to
a large classroom packed with students. He went on to say that 80,000 students
from India and 60,000 from
China study in the
United States yearly.

“They're
not going to work in sweatshops. They're people who will later work as
engineers, managers, and will create wealth. They're people who will innovate
in their countries. There is ferocious competition in the world today.”

Mr.
Boisclair also told the students they had benefited
from the language battles their parents' generation had fought.

“The
English sales ladies at Eaton's . . . you didn't live through that,” he
said, evoking a rich symbol of English dominance in
Quebec .

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20070315.QUEBECEYES15/TPStory/National

 

Vancouver Heritage Award of Honour given by Mayor Sam Sullivan to Save Kogawa House Committee and TLC

Vancouver Heritage Award of Honour given by Mayor Sam Sullivan to Save Kogawa House Committee TLC: The Land Conservancy of BC

It was one month ago that the Vancouver Heritage Award of Honour was
given to Save Kogawa House and TLC The Land Conservancy of BC. 
Now I have a picture from the event. 
You can check out the stories and press releases below

GungHaggisFatChoy.com  :: TLC and Save Joy Kogawa House committee both

Kogawahouse.com  VANCOUVER HERITAGE AWARD OF HONOUR GOES TO TLC

TLC The Land Conservancy :: NewsVancouver Heritage Award of Honour Goes to TLC & Kogawa House Committee and the activists and visionaries of our community, “says Todd Wong of the


Todd Wong of Save Kogaw House Committee, Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan,
and Bill Turner, executive director and founder of TLC The Land
Conservancy of BC, pose with the award certificates following the
ceremonies of the Vancouver Heritage Awards – photo Deb Martin.

Ralph Lee, 107, was oldest to pay head tax – passes away 5 days after receiving cheque

Ralph Lee, 107, was oldest to pay head tax – passes away 5 days after receiving cheque

Ralph Kung Kee Lee
passed away only five days after receiving his ex-gratia payment from
the Canadian government.  In 2006, Lee was the oldest activist
asking the government to make a sympbolic return of head tax money
charged only to immigrants of Chinese ancestry.  It seemed like
only days ago, that the Conservative government had a photo op with Mr.
Lee.

Unfortunately the same cannot be said for Mrs. Der – the
oldest living head tax spouse who passed away in Vancouver on Friday
evening.  Back in December 2005, the 101-year old Mrs. Der climbed
2 flights of stairs to attend a meeting organized by the BC Coalition
of Head Tax Payers, Spouses and Families.  In early 2006, Mrs. Der
met with both MP Jason Kenney, and Prime Minister Steven Harper – who
both promised her  quick action for giving immediate symbolic
repayment for surviving head tax payers and spouses.

Due to poor heath on June 22, 2006. Mrs. Der was unable to attend the
ceremonies at the Vancouver Hotel, for the simulcast apology
announcement by Prime Minister Harper.  Mrs. Der was also unable
to attend the Oct ceremony of the first head tax ex-gratia payment
given to Charlie Quon in Vancouver.

Below are stories about Ralph Lee from the media.

Chinese immigrant, 107, was oldest to pay head tax

Last Updated: Monday, March 19, 2007 | 5:29 PM ET

CBC News

Three generations of Ralph Lung Kee Lee's family gathered
for a memorial in Toronto Monday to say goodbye to the oldest member of
the Chinese-Canadian community to have paid the head tax.

Lee died at his residence in Pickering, Ont., on
Thursday, five days after celebrating his 107th birthday.

Ralph Lee, at 106, carrying the symbolic 'last spike' used in the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway, arrives in Ottawa aboard the 'Redress Express' in 2006.Ralph Lee, at 106, carrying the symbolic 'last spike'
used in the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway, arrives in
Ottawa aboard the 'Redress
Express' in 2006.

(Canadian Press)

“I'll miss him being around in terms of honouring
our ancestors, having the traditions passed down through the community,”
his granddaughter Lindy Anderson
said, fighting back tears.

Born March 10, 1900 in China's Guangdong province, he
immigrated to Canada at the age of 12 and moved to the northern Ontario
community then known as Fort William, now the city of Thunder Bay.
 
He spent five years working as a dishwasher there in order to pay off the $500
head tax he was forced to pay upon entering
Canada .

All Chinese immigrants entering
Canada from 1885 to 1923 had a head
tax imposed on them, with the intention of deterring Chinese immigration after
Chinese workers helped build the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1885.

A symbol of community's history

Lee later worked at maintaining the railway a previous
generation of Chinese labourers had helped to build.

To many in the Chinese-Canadian
community, Lee represents the history of Chinese immigration to this
country, said Colleen Hua, president of the Chinese Canadian National Council.

“What they see him as symbolizing is a person who,
although excluded, still persevered and worked through it and lived to the very
end to make sure that he saw an end to the exclusion and the redress,” Hua
said.

Lee returned to China
and found a wife before returning to
Canada .

But because the Chinese Exclusion Act prohibited Chinese
immigrants from bringing their families to
Canada , Lee's wife and son were
unable to join him. By the time the act was lifted in 1947, his son had died
during the Second World War.

Eventually, his wife and two daughters were brought to
Canada
to live with him.

Lee later started his own business importing and exporting
goods from China .

Joined 'Redress Express' journey

He participated in another historic chapter for the
Chinese-Canadian community when he was one of several head-taxpayers who
travelled to Ottawa from
Vancouver  in 2006 on a train dubbed the
“Redress Express.”

At the end of the journey on June 21, Prime Minister
Stephen Harper formally apologized for the fact that the head tax had been
imposed and promised symbolic payments to those who were affected.

Lee, who was 106 at the time, carried the symbolic
“last spike” given to the Chinese community by author Pierre Berton
in recognition of work done by immigrants to build the railway.

He is survived by two daughters, seven grandchildren and
12 great-grandchildren.

Of an estimated 80,000 Chinese immigrants who paid the
tax, about 30 remain alive, as well as several hundred widows of men who paid
the tax.

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/toronto/story/2007/03/19/headtax-obit.html

 

 

Family hopes memory and legacy of centenarian
head-tax payer lives on

 

Allison Jones

Canadian Press


Monday, March 19, 2007

 

TORONTO (CP) -
Ralph Lung Kee Lee has earned a place in Canadian history books as the oldest
Chinese head-tax payer to accept the government's official apology and redress,
and his family said Monday at his memorial service they hope his story lives on
long after his death.

Lee
received his $20,000 redress cheque from Ottawa
on March 10, his 107th birthday – just five days before he died.

“It
was almost like, 'I waited this long, here I am. I'm going to stay alive to get
it,”' Lee's daughter Linda Ing said of her father, who received his
apology and compensation 94 years after coming to Canada.

Born
in 1900, Lee came to Canada
when he was 12 and paid the $500 head tax imposed on all Chinese immigrants
between 1885 and 1923.

He
returned to China to marry
and fathered three children, but the Exclusion Act prevented him from bringing
his family to Canada .

After
the Exclusion Act was lifted in 1947, Lee was finally able to reunite with his
family in Canada .
For Ing, who was then 12, it was the first time she had ever laid eyes on her
father.

On
June 22, Lee was the oldest of six surviving head-tax payers who saw Prime
Minister Stephen Harper deliver the government's official apology.

Lee
had a fun and loving personality, Ing said, and he was quite tickled when he
finally received his redress cheque.

“I
said, 'You're going to be 107,”' Ing recalled telling her father the day
before his birthday.

“He
said, 'Me?' I said, 'You,”' Ing said in mock wide-eyed amazement.
“'You're going to get your cheque.' And he just laughed.”

Ing
said when she was younger, she didn't appreciate the sacrifices her father
made.

“It
was in one ear and out the other,” she said.

Ing's
son Leo said now that Lee is gone, it's important for those who remember his
story to pass it on so his legacy never dies.

“As
we move on, the younger generation has to look back and to look at people like
grandpa and think (about) why we came here, what we've accomplished here,”
he said.

“One
day I won't be here to speak, so I want to make sure that grandpa has passed
the torch on to the younger generation. I want the younger generation to
realize where they came from, to be proud to be Chinese.”

Lee's
granddaughter Landy Anderson said she is extremely proud to tell people about
her grandfather and her connection to Canadian history.

“It's
really hard to talk about grandpa without referring to the head tax, since my
entire family history revolves around this event,” she said, adding even
though Lee had to overcome years of adversity and racism, he was a loving soul
who doted on his family.

Lee
is survived by two daughters, seven grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

© The
Canadian Press 2007



http://www.canada.com/topics/news/national/story.html?id=4b839cd4-e837-4ecf-89e9-8b999df7d253&k=66676

 

******************************

Victor Wong

CCNC Executive Director

national@ccnc.ca

(416) 977-9871 (tel)

(416) 977-1630 (fax)

CCNC: www.ccnc.ca

PanAsian Network: www.ccnc.ca/panasian

Health Equity Network: www.ccnc.ca/health

“Remembering the contributions of the Head
Tax payers, Chinese railway workers and their families.”

Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team March 18 practice

Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team March 18 practice

It's dragon boat time again.  Cherry blossoms are blooming and
dragon boat teams are paddling on the waters of False Creek.  The
Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team practices on Sunday afternoons at
1pm, and Tuesdays at 6pm.  We practice from Dragon Zone, run by
the Alcan Dragon Boat Festival, located just south of Science World.

The team has been developing nicely over the past few years.   Our
core paddlers have been with the team for three years.  We like to
say we have a foodie team that likes to paddle. The team enjoys a nice
emphasis on multiculturalism, social events, food events – balancing
this with the fun, fitness and friendship of dragon boat
paddling and races.  Last night a group of 15 paddlers and ex-paddlers went
to see the play Banana Boys at the Firehall Theatre. 

Jonas and Joe lead the back half of the boat from the mid-stroke
position.  Behind Jonas (left) on the right side of the boat is
Barb, Gerard and Dan.  Behind Joe (right) on the left side of the
boat Stephen gives rabbit ears to Joe, Tzhe sits behind, then
Stuart.  Daniel steers the boat, he brings lots of dragon boat
experience to the team, having paddled with many teams since 1986 – the
first year dragon boat racing happened in Vancouver.

Also paddling on Sunday, but not in the picture were Steven W., Deb,
Georgia, Keng, with Ernest and Wendy sharing lead stroke
positions.  I coach the team and paddle.  It was Stuart's
first time on a dragon boat and he loved it!

After a long week of rain, the clouds lightened up and the rain stopped
for the 4th annual St. Patrick's Day Parade in Vancouver.  The
weather warmed up and we shedded our rain gear and fleece jackets, as
it quickly became too warm for paddling.  We paddled up to David
Lam Park, then came back to the East Bay and practiced starts. 
Today's practice focussed on improving paddling techniques.  We
worked on rotation, body position, paddle position, with light
intensity and an emphasis on improving cardio.  It was a good
practice.

Next practice is Tuesday 6pm.

Oldest Surviving Chinese Head Tax Subject Gets Compensation

Oldest Surviving Chinese Head Tax Subject Gets
Compensation

The oldest surviving head tax payer received his ex-gratia payment on Saturday March 10th.  Ralph
Lung Kee Lee is 107 years old.  Amazing that he was able to live
this long despite the hardships faced by Chinese pioneers in Canada, as
well as the systemic racism which included denial of citizenship,
naturalization and voting rights.

Victor Wong, executive director of the Chinese Canadian National
Council gives an account of the event attended by CCNC president
Colleen Hua.  The event was covered by Citynews in Toronto.

It was an emotional moment for all of
us who were present at the cheque presentation
yesterday for Ralph Lung Kee Lee. Those of you who
went to Ottawa
on June 22, 2006 will remember Mr. Lee wheeling around Parliament and at our
banquet that evening. He was one of 6 HT payers to receive an apology personally
from PM Stephen Harper that day. Mr. Lee turned 107 yesterday and he is one of
the oldest HT payers, if not the oldest surviving HT payer.  And there he was surrounded by a huge
extended family. MP Colin Carrie presented the cheque
(and received the 30-second lobby on inclusive redress from each of us).
Colleen, George and Doug spoke. Landy, Mr. Lee’s granddaughter, was the MC. We
had a huge feast c/o Bright Pearl and the story was covered by City TV and
various local and Chinese papers.

There’s another cheque presentation tomorrow in
Calgary …good luck to
Teresa and crew. There is an event on the book about the Three Chinese
Cuban-Generals in Vancouver today and tomorrow,
and in Montreal on March 17th and
Toronto on March
25th where we will be talking about HT redress (check below for more
details).

Cheers, Victor

Oldest Surviving Chinese Head Tax Subject Gets Compensation

Watch

Video News Director Watch

Oldest Surviving Chinese Head Tax Subject Gets Compensation

Saturday March 10, 2007

Saturday was Ralph Lee's 107th birthday, but for the Canadian, who just
happens to also be the oldest surviving subject of Canada 's infamous
Chinese head tax, it was also the day he finally got the compensation
and apology he'd waited so many years for.

“Apart from the fact that I'm happy that grandpa's alive to receive the
apology, it's a mixture of emotions,” said grand-daughter Landy
Anderson.

Fron 1885 to 1923 Chinese immigrants in Canada were charged a head tax.
Lee himself paid $500, which at the time was two years pay for the
young man.

“When he came over here he worked pretty hard to make a living,” said daughter Faye Lee.

“He was only 12 years old and he had to work in a restaurant and wash dishes while going to school at the same time.”

Lee was one of many in attendance last June in Ottawa when the Canadian
government announced both the compensation and released an apology for
the tax and the ensuing 24-year ban on Chinese immigration.

“On behalf of the people and government of Canada we offer a full
apology to Chinese Canadians for the head tax and express our deepest
sorrow for the subsequent exclusion of Chinese immigrants,” Prime
Minister Stephen Harper said that day.

That apology came with a $20,000 settlement offered to surviving head
tax subjects or their spouses, though for some of their descendents
that's nowhere near enough.

“It's a wonderful thing that there was an apology, and that redress has
been given to surviving head tax payers and spouses, but this really
only represents 0.6 per cent of the people who really suffered,” said
attendee Colleen Hua.

Currently only about 500 Chinese Canadians are eligible for the
compensation. If the offer were extended to the families of those who
paid the head tax – 3,000 people would be eligible.

The Chinese Head Tax

http://www.citynews.ca/news/news_8644.aspx