Head Tax issue: Todd's letter to the editors of the Vancouver Sun
To Kirk LaPointe
Managing Editor, Vancouver Sun
Thank you for taking seriously my comments about
the Sun's coverage of Canadian issues that just happen to have Asian
names and faces behind them, and not just to feature Asian faces at
Chinese New Year time.
I am a 5th generation Canadian, my
picture and activities have been featured in the Vancouver Sun many
times since 1993, for my Gung Haggis Fat Choy events, for being awarded
the SFU Terry Fox Gold Medal, and for speaking as a Terry's Team member
for the Terry Fox Run as a living cancer survivor.
that the Vancouver Sun can offer a different perspective to the Chinese
head tax issue. I want to know what real community leaders such as Bob
Lee, Milton Wong, David YH Lui, Lori Fung, Roy Mah and Bev Nann have to
say. Their pioneer forefathers all likely had to pay the head tax,
their families were isolated by the Chinese Exclusion Act. These
people have recieved the Order of Canada and or the Order of BC.
I want to hear from
architect Joe Wai, writer Wayson Choy, historian Jim Wong-Chu. How
about “white” people that are important members of the Chinese
community such as Dr. Jan Walls or Dr. Edgar Wickberg.
Kevin, here is the link to my blog article postings on Chinese Canadian Head Tax redress
What does writer Joy Kogawa think about the Chinese head tax redress
issue. Joy and Roy Miki both worked on the Japanese Canadian redress
campaign and both are listed in Almanac's 100 Greatest British
Here's a letter to me from Joy Kogawa below
Regards, Todd Wong
is almost exactly what happened with Japanese Canadian redress. My
new/old novel, “Emily Kato” (a re-write of Itsuka and just published)
describes the panic when government tried to pull the rug out from the
redress movement. But we did stop it.
a copy of the letter that Tam asked for and that went off this morning.
It may not make it, of course, into the Globe. Please do anything you
want with it — add, alter, delete, whatever.
Callwood, Dr. Joseph Wong, Michele Landsberg, and many other people of
conscience have added their support to the Ontario Coalition of Chinese
Head Tax Payers and Families plus the Chinese Canadian National
Council. The strenuous efforts of these organizations to have the Head
Tax redress resolved in an honourable manner have thus far been
thwarted by the federal government.
decades ago I was passionately involved in the Japanese Canadian
struggle for redress for the actions against my community during and
after World War II. The aspect of the struggle that was for me the most
arduous was the endeavour to have the government recognize the
legitimacy of our national organization. More than once in its haste
and impatience to resolve the issue, events were staged by government
officials to undercut the community's need for an inclusive, open and
this same unseemly haste and disregard for the passions and needs of
the affected people are once more evident in the issue of the Chinese
Head Tax. Surely there is time enough to heed the many voices across
the country, pleading for the healing of those who were directly
affected and those who have been working across the country on this
matter for many years.
am reminded again as I was twenty years ago of the words of the prophet
Jeremiah. “They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying
'Peace, Peace,' where there is no peace.”