Boxing Day Head Tax stories in Media: Vancouver Sun and CKNW

Boxing Day Head Tax stories in Media: Vancouver Sun and CKNW

Tuesday » December 27 » 2005

Head-tax redress a top issue in several ridings Liberals and Conservatives have
opposite views on an issue that could sway some Lower Mainland constituencies

Jonathan Fowlie

Vancouver Sun

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Redress for the head tax Ottawa once imposed on Chinese-Canadians is
becoming a significant election issue in some ridings in B.C. and
Ontario, Chinese community leaders told a news conference Monday.

“With the Conservative party and the Liberal party taking diametrically
different positions on this, that could have an effect,” former Vancouver
councillor Tung Chan said.

Tung cited Burnaby-Douglas and Richmond as two examples of Lower
Mainland ridings where the issue is key.

“Richmond has 40 per cent Chinese-Canadians living there, so that could
well be one of the ridings where this could have a major impact,” Chan said.

Joseph Wong, president of the Chinese Canadian National Council, agreed,
saying the head tax and the recently announced $2.5-million plan by
Ottawa to address the issue are starting to be of major concern, especially in
ridings with a substantial Chinese community.

In November, the Liberal government announced a $2.5-million plan to
recognize the historic injustice of the head tax, but it did not apologize
or offer individual financial redress to victims and their families.

“As far as we are concerned, the Chinese community across Canada is
voicing our disapproval of that type of settlement,” said Wong.

“We absolutely would not accept this type of settlement imposed upon us
by the federal Liberal government,” he added.

Wong, who is also a recipient of the Order of Canada, said there are are
at least 10 Ontario ridings where the Chinese-Canadian community accounts
for at least 10 to 15 per cent of voters, and where the head tax issue
could affect the outcome.

While campaigning in Ontario earlier this month, Conservative leader Stephen
Harper changed his position on the head tax issue and joined the New
Democratic Party and Bloc Quebecois in condemning the government's
$2.5-million plan as inadequate.

Harper also called on Parliament to apologize for the head tax.

Between 1885 and 1923, the Canadian government collected $23 million in
so-called head taxes — essentially fees to immigrate to Canada — from
about 81,000 Chinese immigrants. The government went a step further
between 1923 and 1947 by imposing an outright ban on Chinese immigration.

At Monday's news conference, Wong called the head tax the “most racist,
dirtiest part of Canadian history” and demanded it be properly addressed.

“The federal government is not taking this seriously enough,” he said,
slamming the recently announced Liberal plan.

Wong went on to urge Chinese Canadians to become more involved in the
election because of the issue, though he stopped short of endorsing one
party over another.

“I'm asking Canadians of Chinese descent to participate in the political
process,” he said. “I am asking people to know about the issues they are
voting for, and also to know about the stance of their candidates and
vote accordingly.”

© The Vancouver Sun 200

City's Chinese community wants Ottawa to up the ante

Dec, 26 2005 – 7:20 PM

VANCOUVER/CKNW(AM980) – A group of concerned Chinese Canadians are calling
on the Liberal Government to rescind an agreement in principle on the headtax redress.

Former Vancouver City Councillor Tung Chan says on Boxing Day or not
this is about to become a major issue in the Federal election.

Reps from several groups are calling for an apology and individual
compensation, charged Chinese immigrants between 1885 and 1947.

Dr. Joseph Wong is the founding President of the Chinese Canadian
National Council, “I'm asking Canadians of Chinese descent to participate in the
political process. We know the Chinese community has not been a high
voter turnout within our community and I think that this is exactly the
problem that we are facing.”

Dr. Wong also points to recent polls suggesting 75 to 90 percent of
those asked in the Chinese Canadian community aren't satisfied with the
agreement offer which is 12 and a half million dollars in compensation.

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