Monthly Archives: November 2005

Government Bungling Confuses Canadians on Chinese Head Tax/Exclusion Redress: 4,000 Head Tax Payers and Families Call for a Just and Honourable Redress Now

Media Release: November 24, 2005  –  For Immediate Release

Government Bungling
Confuses Canadians on Chinese Head Tax/Exclusion Redress: 4,000 Head
Tax Payers and Families Call for a Just and Honourable Redress Now

Vancouver – The federal government is poised to sign an agreement with
the National Congress of Chinese Canadians (NCCC) that humiliates and
disrespects the few remaining Head Tax payers and their spouses. 
Community groups say the NCCC is not representative of the Chinese
Canadians calling on the government to engage in a genuine process of
redress and reconciliation.  Only good faith negotiations with
representatives for the last surviving Head Tax payers and spouses who
are in the 90's or older will bring about the long overdue
reconciliation and healing.

“We would all agree that Canada is a better country today because of
the legacy of the Japanese Canadian redress. In that light, we
respectfully request that the Prime Minister review the deliberations
taking place regarding Bill C-333 and re-engage in negotiations with
active participation of all Chinese Canadian communities,” said Grace
Eiko  Thomson of the National Association of Japanese
Canadians.  “Only a just and honourable settlement can bring about
a healing process leading to full participation and pride in Canadian

Since 1984, over 4,000 Head Tax payers, spouses and families, each with
Head Tax certificate, registered with the Chinese Canadian National
Council (CCNC) to represent their claim to the Government.  The
CCNC was not consulted about the agreement because the government set
preconditions of “no apology” and “no compensation”. This was
unacceptable to those seeking direct individual acknowledgement,
recognition and a tax refund.

“Paul Martin is doing the same to the aboriginal community at the First
Minister   Conference: luring native elites and chiefs into
accepting a dollar cap for a Ten Year Plan without consultation with
grassroots groups and victims of residential schools,” said Bill Chu,
chairperson of Chinese Christians in Action and Canadians for
Reconciliation.  “It is shameful that a Chinese group (NCCC) with
little history of fighting for Head Tax redress bypassed consulting the
victims and is willing to accept whatever small funds offered with no
intent of paying the actual victims.”

“As Canadians, we should have the courage to face our past wrong-doings
including the imposition of head tax and the Chinese Exclusion
Act.  We should also urge our government to redress the head tax
payers and families,” said Thekla Lit, a human rights and peace
activist.  “Before anyone or group benefits from the money
established because of the injustice to Chinese pioneers, they have the
moral obligation to ensure the head tax payers, spouses and families
get their refund of head tax first.”

“The Chinese head tax redress has been dragged on for over a quarter of
a century.  We shouldn't rush to an unjust settlement because of a
upcoming election, said Gabriel Yiu, current affairs commentator. 
“By shutting out the Chinese Canadian National Council, who represents
over 4,000 redress claimants, the Liberal government is adding another
disgraceful chapter to our national history.”

“There is much anger and frustration at the federal government. 
Before his election to the Commons, current Multiculturalism Minister
Raymond Chan supported Head Tax payers, spouses and descendants at
Chinese Canadian National Council meetings,” said Sid Tan of the B. C.
Coalition of Head Tax Payers, Spouses and Descendants, director of CCNC
and a grandson of  a Head Tax payer.  “His proposed agreement
with the NCCC is unethical and humiliates the very people who overcame
the racist legislation to enable him to serve in public office.”

The B. C. Coalition of Head Tax Payers Spouses and Descendants are head
Tax payers, their surviving spouses, descendants and supporters. 
They are joined in their demand for a just and honourable redress now
by the Ontario Coalition of Head Tax Payers and Families, Chinese
Canadian National Council, Chinese Canadian Redress Alliance, the
Association of Chinese Canadians for Equality and Solidarity Society
and the Metro Toronto Chinese and South East Asian Legal Clinic.

Go to to sign the on-line petition to stop the
proposed agreement between the federal government and NCCC. 
Without proper consultation with the over 4000 Head Tax payers and
families registered with CCNC, any agreement on the on the Chinese Head
Tax/Exclusion redress and reconciliation will be unethical.


Sid Tan, co-ordinator  604-433-6169
B. C. Coalition of Head Tax Payers, Spouses and Descendants

CBC Radio story on Head Tax issue – interview with Sid Tan of BC Coalition of Head Tax Payers and Descendants

CBC Radio story on Head Tax issue – interview with Sid Tan of BC Coalition of Head Tax Payers and Descendants

CBC Radio has a story on their website
Compensation deal reached on Chinese head tax

Last updated
Nov 18 2005 01:12 PM PST
CBC News

Ottawa is set to pay millions of dollars in compensation to descendants
of Chinese workers who were charged a head tax to enter the country.
The government has agreed to acknowledge the tax was discriminatory and
will pay $12.5 million into a new foundation. The agreement comes
following negotiations with the the National Congress of Chinese
Canadians, a group appointed to negotiate redress.

“We have concluded the negotiations and now we are looking forward to
signing the agreement with the federal government as soon as possible,”
said Pin Tan, of the Congress.

The federal government imposed a $50 head tax on Chinese immigrants in
1885 after Chinese workers were no longer needed to work on the
Canadian Pacific Railway. The amount was raised to $500 in 1903. In 1923 the head tax
was replaced by the Exclusion Act, which barred Chinese immigrants from
the country altogether until 1947. The tax was the equivalent of about
two years' wages at the time. About 80,000 Chinese were singled out.
It wasn't fully repealed until 1967.
“The cabinet has approved an acknowledgment, commemoration and
education program to make sure that Canadians understand those issues,
those wrong things that were done to the communities in the past,” said
Raymond Chan, Minister of State for Multiculturalism. However, some head tax payers and their families are upset
with the deal. The Ontario Coalition of Head Tax Payers and Families,
which is representing 4,000 of them, is questioning why it has been
shut out of negotiations with the government.
It is demanding individual payments to Chinese who were charged the tax.
“We think that no money should go out until it is settled,” said Susan
Eng, of the coalition. “There is widespread opposition in the Chinese

The group is planning to sue the government to stop the deal. It says
every Chinese-Canadian who paid the price for decades of discrimination
should be given the chance to be heard.
The Congress said it is willing to hear proposals about how the money should be spent.
But the Canadian Taxpayers Federation is opposed to any money being paid out.
“The danger is that it fosters other groups to come forward and also
demand compensation and tax money,” said John Williamson, of the
Federation. “We'd kind of get into a cycle whereby it's one group after

Toddish McWong on BBC Radio Scotland – next Monday Nov 28th – Scottish Time

Toddish McWong on BBC Radio Scotland – next Monday Nov 28th – Scottish Time

“Toddish McWong” or in Canadian, Todd Wong, will be featured onto BBC Radio Scotland on Monday – Nov 28th (11.30 am
Scottish time) or 3:30am PST if you are in Vancouver BC.. However, you can go to
the listen again option on the radio Scotland website. 

The interview explores the origins of my Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year dinner event, and the haggis-Chinese fusion food that we have created for it.

Maggie Shiels and the crew of the program
Scotland Licked! are now asking me to send them about 2 recipes for
Chinese Haggis dishes you
serve at your Burns Suppers – so that they can include them on our

The crew said that I definitely had
a “Canadian accent” – Funny because my girlfriend said that she loved
“Maggie's” liting “Scottish accent.”

Darn…. but I forgot to tell
Maggie that we mix bamboo shoots and water chestnuts in with the haggis for
the won ton and the spring rolls.  Makes it good and crunchy. 
mmmmm….. crunch crunch – good!

And we mix in maple syrup to the sweet and
sour sauce.  Sometimes a bit a Drambuie or scotch too.

My friends
always get asked by the media if the haggis is any good. 
My Grand-Uncle
called it “dandy” – and we always point out that tripe and chicken's feet are
always part of Chinese “dim sum” lunch.  “Dim Sum” actually means “little bit of heart”, “touch the heart”, or “close to the heart” – so the idea of eating Sheep's
organs mixed with oatmeal is not such a revolting idea to regular Chinese food

My girlfriend also said that I forgot to tell Maggie,
that my Bear Kilts “Maple Leaf” tartan kilt is made of synthetic polyviscous
material.  This makes it perfect for summer when I go dragon boat
paddling in the local Vancouver saltwater.

NDP calls on government to provide fair deal for Chinese head tax payers

Gim Wong with Jack Layton above right.


NOVEMBER 22, 2005


NDP Leader Jack Layton along with his caucus colleagues, House Leader
Libby Davies (Vancouver East), Immigration Critic Bill Siksay
(Burnaby-Douglas) and MP Peter Julian (Burnaby-New-Westminster), urged
the Prime Minister to find a compromise and fair deal for all Chinese
Canadian head tax payers and their families, today.

These families deserve an apology and real respect from this government, said Layton. In a letter to the Prime Minister, the Federal NDP questioned the governments
reasoning in allocating $12.5 million for a redress project to a single
organization without including thousands of head tax payers, their
families and their representatives.

is completely inadequate for this government to exclude at least 4000
head tax payers, their families and descendants through a lump sum
agreement with only one organization,
said Davies.

$12.5 million has
been allocated to Chinese Canadians through the Acknowledgement,
Commemoration and Education (ACE) Fund, established for communities
affected by wartime and similar past measures. The government is
expected to announce Wednesday that it will sign over the entire
allocation to the National Congress of Chinese Canadians, despite calls
from several other organizations, such as the Chinese Canadian National
Council, to be involved in any commemorative, educational or other key
measures that may arise from the fund.

the forefront of the redress movement is the Chinese Canadian National
Council, which represents thousands of head tax payers and their
said Layton, but if this deal goes forward in its current form, CCNC will have no say in how the funds will be spent.

Prime Minister should remember his responsibility to find a course of
compromise that will address the needs of the diverse community of
Chinese Canadians that deserve to be acknowledged here,
said Julian.

a compromise to address the injustices committed against Chinese
immigrants to Canada over a period of decades should be this government
s first priority, added Siksay.

The Canadian government collected $23 million from Chinese Immigrants to Canada between 1885 and 1923.


For more information, please contact:

Jack Layton Karl Belanger: (613) 995-6767

Libby Davies Leanne Holt: (613) 992-6036

Bill Siksay Sonja vanDieen: (613) 996-5599

Peter Julian Henri Sader: (613) 992-4215


From:   Julian, Peter – M.P. 

Sent:   November 23, 2005 10:45 AM

Subject:        Bill C-333, Chinese Canadian Recognition and Redress Act

Importance:     High

Thank you for
contacting my office with your concerns about the government amendments
to Bill C-333, Chinese Canadian Recognition and Redress Act.

BC NDP Caucus member
Libby Davies has brought forward several amendments to this Bill to try
to ensure that Head Tax Payers and their families were properly
represented.  Unfortunately, the Liberal and Conservatives
representatives on this committee voted against all amendments that the
NDP has put forward on this Bill.

You can rest assured
that my Caucus colleagues and myself will continue to push for changes
to this Bill that will acknowledge the mistakes the past government
made by imposing this tax, and for the Bill to be more inclusive of
Head Tax Payers and their families.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Julian, MP

Burnaby-New Westminster

Tel: (613) 992-4214  Fax: (613) 947-9500

Tel: (604) 775-5707  Fax: (604) 775-5743

TTY: (613) 992-4249

CEP 232/SCEP 232

Chinese Head Tax: NCCC Director Openly Reprimands NCCC for Mishandling Head Tax Issue

Chinese Head Tax:
Director Openly Reprimands NCCC for Mishandling Head Tax Issue

following article appeared on November 19, in Ming Pao, under a

of Tsai Fung Chan Lee, Har Ying Lee, and Jie Jun Zhang Yan.

Director Openly Reprimands NCCC for Mishandling Head Tax Issue

director Tsai Fung Chan Lee went public in her opposition to NCCC,
criticizing NCCC's approach, and urged its executive chairman Ping Tan
the federal government to reconsider their approach to the Head Tax issue.

Fung Chan Lee is also the chairwoman of the Association for

 Chinese-Canadian Friendship (Zhong Jia
Lian Yi Hui). She stated
that for many years NCCC has done a good job promoting friendship between
and Canada.  However, it has handled the
Head Tax issue in inappropriate


states that it was the Head Tax payers who actually paid, if the

is to redress the Head Tax issue in anyway, the money should go to the
and their families. It should be up to the payers and their families to
whether to donate the money to the community or to keep the money. It
be their choice.

Lee said, her own father-in-law and elder brother-in-law had been

Tax payers. When her father-in-law could not afford to pay any more Head
his wife was forced to stay in China to look after two sons, and for forty
led a widow's existence with a living husband. It was clearly a tragic
of tears and hurt.

Lee clearly states that she is going public and speaking up in the
that Ping Tan, NCCC, and the federal government would do some clear
and reconsider the way the Head Tax issue is being handled.

Jie Jun Zhang Yan, founder of the Association of Guangzhou High
Alumni In Canada, states that she is puzzled by the federal
attitude towards Canadians of Chinese descent. She cannot understand
compensation cannot go to the victims - the Head Tax payers. She
for the government to appoint a government spokesperson to explain the

Naomi's Road – Community Concert at Nikkei Place Sat Nov 26

Naomi's Road – Community Concert at Nikkei Place Sat Nov 26

This Saturday, Naomi's Road, the Vancouver Opera
Touring Ensemble production of Joy Kogawa's children's story plays at
Nikkei Centre in Burnaby – just off Kingsway.

It's a wonderful production, full of hope and tears, great singing, staging and acting.

Click here to read my review of the opening weekend performance on Oct 1

Click here to read my review of the Nov 12 Save Kogawa House special Awareness concert

Saturday, November 26, 2005 1:30 pm
Nikkei Place
6688 Southoaks Crescent
Burnaby, BC
Tickets: Youth $10, Adults $15. Festival seating.
Ticket sales: in person at the National Nikkei Heritage Centre after November 1,
book by phone (604-777-7000),
or at the door on the day of the event.

Letter to the Sun: Chinese head tax redress Bill C-333 is an affront to justice

Letter to the Vancouver Sun : Chinese head tax redress Bill C-333 is an affront to justice

RE: The liberals bungle a great opportunity to do the right thing.
By Brad Lee
Saturday Nov 19th, page C7

Bill C-333 is an affront to justice

I am a 5th Generation Chinese Canadian.
Bill C-333 is an affront to justice and Canadian values.

Every year my WW2 vet grand uncle writes to the government asking for an apology.  Ain’t going to happen.

Raymond Chan is making secret deals with the National Congress of
Chinese Canadians
–this group does not accurately represent actual head
tax payers nor their descendants – the Chinese Canadian National
does.  Chan and the NCCC are basically all immigrants that came
to Canada after 1967.  The head tax was last paid in 1923, before the
Chinese exclusion act closed the doors until 1947.  These guys just
want the $12.5 million.

1 – Chinese had to pay the head tax – no other ethnic or racial group was taxed.
2 – We endured over a century's worth of
racial discrimination and prejudice.
3) The government is ignoring us, and speaking to immigrants who did not pay the head tax.

The majority of head tax descendants are multi-generational Canadians
who all speak English, eh? – Why is Chan only talking to Chinese media?

It’s time for all Chinese-Canadians to wake up and protest. 
Register on-line as a headtax descendant.  The liberals are giving away OUR money that our ancestors sweated for.

Todd Wong aka “Toddish McWong”

Hello Scotland: Toddish McWong calling! I talk with BBC Radio Scotland's Maggie Shiels for Scotland Licked!

Hello Scotland:  Toddish McWong calling!  I talk with Maggie Shiels for
BBC Radio Scotland.

morning I donned my kilt and headed down to the CBC Radio studios,
where I was connected to BBC Radio Scotland's Maggie Shiels, host of
the program Scotland Licked!

Maggie has a wonderful Scottish lilt to her warm and friendly speaking voice.  She asked me questions about the origins of how Gung Haggis Fat Choy started up, how I managed to create haggis won ton, and what I do with Robbie Burns' famous “Address to a Haggis.”

It's all about the food, doncha know….  and the stories behind the people who make it happen! 

“You love to tell the stories, Todd!” exclaimed Maggie, when I 
told her how  I bumped into Iain Drummond in Vancouver, a man who
organizes  the Burns Dinner for the Royal Vancouver Yacht club,
when I was knocking on doors  looking for my lost cell
phone.  When I told him his name sounded familiar and asked if he
had ever attended my Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner, he stated that he had
always wanted to and invited me in to open up a bottle of 6 Isle blend
of Scotch Whiskey…. very smooth.

Maggie tells me that St. Andrew's Day
is coming up soon on November 30th, and did I have any plans to
celebrate?  Not quite sure what St. Andrew is the patron Saint
of… I assure her that I hadn't made any plans yet, but now that I
know about it, I will be sure to do something for St. Andrew's
Day.  But knowing that St. Cecilia Day was coming up (Nov 21), I told Maggie that I would be playing my accordion for the patron Saint of Music.

If you want to listen to the upcoming interview live – you can set your computer to BBC Radio Scotland
Check out
and I will let you know when the program actually airs.  Scotland
Licked! runs at 11:30 to 12 noon Scotland time which would be 3:30am in
the morning!  But they will have it archived on their website, so
you can listen to it at your leisure.

Eastside Culture Crawl – I am no longer a culture crawl virgin

Eastside Culture Crawl – I am no longer a culture crawl virgin

There were people everywhere when I went to 1000 Parker Street on Saturday afternoon, as part of the Eastside Culture Crawl
And this is only one of 37 building sites where 59 artists had opened
their studios to the public.  No wonder it takes 2 whole days and
1 whole evening to explore.  There are so many people in the
building, the crowds have to move at at snail's pace – no wonder it is
called a “crawl.”

My main priority was to visit my cousin Janice Wong
who is a visual artist concentrating on monotypes.  Janice has
been really busy for the past two months also promoting her book CHOW,
which includes recipes from her father's chinese food restaurant in
Prince Albert + stories about her family and our shared ancestors.

We talk with Janice's husband George, as Janice talks to some of the
many friends that drop in to visit.  Huge canvasses line the
studio walls priced at $1000 and up, as well as little ones for only

We wander in and out of the many studios where I bump into Arleigh Wood
Arleigh is half Japanese and she is combining visual art with a zen
approach, integrating her East and West cultures. Crows and circles
dominate her work.  I spot a photograph of a Japanese man on a
fishing boat – she tells me that it is her grandfather.  We have a
good chat – I tell her what I am up to, and promise to introduce her to
Ricepaper Magazine.

 When I walk into artist Michael Fitzsimmon's
studio, his paintings are luminescent with his own mix of special
paints that glow as if they have lights inside them.  Check this