Gim Wong: July 1st CTV television story on “Ride for Redress”

Robert Yip of Ottawa also sends this link to the CTV televsion newstory on Gim Wong:

Todd, a link to the CTV story with some pictures of
Gim Wong in Ottawa at the Canadian War Museum with Jack Layton.

Includes a quote from The Min of Justice  that
“The matter is right now before Cabinet……”

Robert

click here for more stories on this website about Gim Wong and Chinese head tax redress go to:


http://www.gunghaggisfatchoy.com/blog/



ChineseHeadTaxissuesGimWongsRideforRedress




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Fri. Jul. 1 2005 3:07 PM ET

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Wong began his 'Ride for Redress' at Victoria B.C.'s Beacon Hill Park on June 3, and has been heading east ever since.

Wong began his 'Ride for Redress' at Victoria B.C.'s Beacon Hill Park on June 3, and has been heading east ever since.

Wong not only wants the government to compensate the few surviving Chinese-Canadians who paid the tax, but also issue a formal apology.

Wong
not only wants the government to compensate the few surviving
Chinese-Canadians who paid the tax, but also issue a formal apology.

NDP Leader Jack Layton says 'Many lost their lives building the railroad.'

NDP Leader Jack Layton says 'Many lost their lives building the railroad.'

Veteran rides across Canada in head tax protest

CTV.ca News Staff

Gim Wong may be old, but he hasn't lost his fighting spirit.

The 83-year-old is making a cross-Canada trip to convince lawmakers
to redress the Chinese Head Tax that cost more than 80,000 immigrants
from China approximately $23 million between 1885 and 1923.

Factoring in inflation, that would be equivalent to more than $1 billion today.

Like many of Canada's first Chinese immigrants, Wong's parents were
each forced to pay a $500 head tax when they arrived in 1906 and 1919
to their new home — a huge amount of money at the time.

Now, Wong not only wants the government to compensate the few
surviving Chinese-Canadians who paid the tax, but also issue a formal
apology.

The levy was originally imposed to discourage immigration from
China, in the years after Canada had relied on cheap, reliable Chinese
labour to build the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) in the late 1800s.

The Chinese workers were paid less than other labourers, however, and often made to do the most dangerous jobs.

When the railway was completed in 1885, prevailing anti-Chinese racism led to the imposition of a so-called head tax.

The tax started at $50, and climbed to $100 in 1900. By 1913, the
fee was $500. Then, on July 1, 1923, Ottawa effectively banned Chinese
with its Chinese Immigration Act.

Unless prospective immigrants from China were diplomats, tourists,
merchants, scientists or students, they were not welcome in Canada.

Commonly referred to as the “Chinese Exclusion Act” because of its
ban on almost all persons of Chinese descent, it was only repealed in
1947.

Wong and his son Jeffrey began their “Ride for Redress” at Victoria
B.C.'s Beacon Hill Park on June 3, and have been heading east ever
since.

A veteran of the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Second World War,
Wong plans to ride his motorcycle into Ottawa wearing the uniform he
wore when he fought for Canada.

When he gets there, he hopes to put the issue directly to Prime Minister Paul Martin.

“If I see Paul Martin, I'll say to him, 'get off your
foot-dragging,' ” Wong said at a press conference in Toronto on
Wednesday. “He can issue a formal apology. And don't tell me that will
cost money.”

NDP Leader Jack Layton wants to see Wong succeed.

“Many (Chinese immigrants) lost their lives building the railroad,” Layton told CTV's Rosemary Thompson.

“And (Wong) is a veteran, (he's) fought for this country, and yet we
still have a government unwilling to say any words of apology.”

Yew Lee, of the Canadian Council of Chinese Canadians, is also angry an apology has never been given.

“I think Mr. Martin should stop listening to his lawyers and bean counters and start listening to his heart,” Lee told Thompson.

“Because I sense he knows what the right thing to do is.”

There is a chance the government is listening to people like Wong,
as Justice Minister Irwin Cotler acknowledged an apology could be on
the way.

“The matter is right now before cabinet,” Irwin Cotler told Thompson. “It's being considered.”

Calls for compensation aren't unprecedented, and have, in fact, even be answered.

In February 2002, New Zealand became the first Commonwealth nation
to issue a formal apology and issue compensation for its own head tax
on Chinese immigrants.

In Canada, the federal government apologized in 1988 to Japanese Canadians who were detained during the Second World War.

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