Monthly Archives: December 2005

Redress: The book by Roy Miki – addressing racial identity and its consequences

Redress: The book by Roy Miki – addressing racial identity and its consequences

It's Boxing Day morning at Kalamalka Lake, and I am not at any Boxing
Day sales in Vancouver. I am reading Roy Miki's book Redress: Inside
the Japanese Canadian redress movement. Roy is an amazing person. In
1994 I interviewed him for an article in the Simon Fraser University
student newspaper “The Peak”.

I am stunned by the atrocities and restrictions placed on the Canadians
of Japanese descent, even though I have read many accounts. I nod
knowingly when I read that Asian Canadians were “racialized” in the
1900's – particularly by the Anti-Asiastic League who wanted to create
and maintain a “white Vancouver” despite the presence of First Nations
peoples. I read about the 1907 meeting at City Hall, that erupted into
a riot in Chinatown, where stores were attacked and damaged, before the
white rioters headed to Japantown where they were repelled by a
prepared community.

This was the Vancouver where my maternal grandmother was raised,
soon after being born in 1910 in Victoria BC. This was the political
and social climate where my paternal grandfather was given a
“Chinaman's Chance” of defending a non-guilty plea for drug
trafficking, because the RCMP wanted to make an example of him as one
of Victoria's top community leaders that they could “take down.” This
was the BC, where the $500 head tax was only applied to ethnic Chinese
in an effort to keep “the Yellow Peril” away from “British” Vancouver,
where the early city fathers, provincial fathers and leaders of
Canadian Federation had emmigrated from Scotland and England, seeking a
better life…. just as the Chinese had, leaving behind a corrupt
Imperial government, famines, to come to “Gum San” – the gold mountain
of opportunity.

In the first chapeter of Redress, Roy Miki tells the story of
Tomekichi (Tomey) Homma “naturalized as a British Subject” in Canada,
who tried to have his name put on the voter's list, but was turned down
no doubt, because of the stipulation in Section 8 of the Provincial
Election Act which stated: “No Chinaman, Japanese, or Indian shall have
his name placed on the Register of Voters for any Electoral District,
or be entitled to vote in any election.”

Homma decided to challange the ruling on October 19th, 1900, but
was eventurally denied by a lengthy court case and both the BC and
Canadian governments. The Privy council at the time had stated that
“Orientals… were so inassimilable that they were incapable of
participating in the democratic process.” (Miki, p. 33-34)

The Victoria Times Colonist newspaper at the time had written
“We are relieved from the possibility of having polling booths swampd
by a horde of Orientals who are totally uniftted either by custom of
education to exercise the ballot, and whose voting would completely
demoralise politics… they have not the remotest idea of what a
democratic and representative government is, and are quite incapable of
taking part in it.” (Miki, p 28)

My great-great-grandfather Rev. Chan Yu Tan, was educated at the
Wesleyan Mission in Hong Kong, and arrived in Canada in 1896, following
his elder brother the Rev. Chan Sing Kai – the first Chinese ordained
in Canada. The Chinese Methodist Church helped teach the Chinese
immigrants how to speak English. A favourite story that my grandmother
tells me is that her granfather would tell his family, “We are in
Canada now – we should do things the Canadian way.” In every generation
of his 6 descendants in Canada, there have been inter-racial marriages
with Caucasians. In fact, descendants in the 6th and 7th generation are
now only 1/4 and 1/8 Chinese.

Yes, Canada has had a racist history, and yes Asians have
successfully integrated and assimilated. But is this alone a case for
redress for past wrongs? Certainly not. The case for redress is that in
the 17 years since the 1988 redress settlement there has been
tremendous healing in the Japanese Canadian community. In his final
chapter, Miki shares that in order to become fully Canadian, the
community had to forge an identity of being Japanese-Canadian through
both internment and redress.

Similarly, my grandmother's younger brother Daniel Lee, a WW2
veteran, has consistenly requested that the Canadian government
apologize for the head tax. Our family elders did not have the
privilege or franchise to vote in the country of their birth until
1947, while other families were kept apart because of the consequences
of the head tax and Chinese Exclusion Act. I am aware that as I have
grown up in Canada, I have always been racialized, as my uncles before
me who were denied jobs and university admittance. These were the real
consequences of the head tax and continued legislated and socialized
racism. Reading the accounts of the Japanese Canadians during
internment, I can only marvel at what my own ancestors endured from
arrivals in 1888 to 1947, when they were finally able to vote.

Joy Kogawa featured on CBC Radio “Sounds Like Canada”, Boxing Day morning 10:40am

Joy Kogawa featured on CBC Radio “Sounds Like Canada” on Boxind Day morning 10:30am

Joy Kogawa is interviewed about her childhood home and the Save Kogawa House campaign.

Kathryn Gretzinger met Joy at the house at 1450 West 64th Avenue earlier in November for this special interview. Joy also went to the CBC radio studio for some further interviews.

Listen to CBC Radio 690 AM in Vancouver – or on the web –


Dec 26, 2005

It has been such a pleasure getting to know Joy this year of 2005. The first time I met her was in 1986, at Expo 86's Folk Pavillion for a poetry and book reading. The next time I saw her was at a reading at the Vancouver Public Library in summer 2004 for Centre A. I was amazed at how tiny and fragile she was. But over the course of this year, I have gotten to know how, humble, warm and sincere she is. She truly is amazed at all the attention she has recieved from the Vancouver Public Library, Vancouver Opera, Vancouver City Hall, and the media for the Save Kogawa House campaign.

Some significant Joy Kogawa Events I have attended for 2005 include:

May at the opening event for One Book One Vancouver at the Vancouver Public Library;

Joining Save Kogawa House committee in September

September ACWW Ricepaper Magazine 10th Anniversary Dinner where ACWW presented Joy with a Community Builder's Award in September;

Vancouver Arts Awards which included performances from opera Naomi's Road

Reading at Word on the Street for final One Book One Vancouver event

Oct 1 – opening weekend for the premiere of Naomi's Road Opera;

Nov 1st – Obasan Cherry Tree Day at City Hall – with cherry tree planting

Nov 3rd – presentation at City Hall, asking for an unprecedented 120 day delay for demolition of Kogawa House

Nov 12th Save Kogawa House – Awareness concert with Harry Aoki, Raymond Chow and performance of Naomi's Road

Here are some upcoming media coverage for Save Kogawa House events.

CBC Radio One, Sounds like Canada, Dec 26, 2005, 10am – 11am .

Vancouver Sun, Reporter Kevin Griffin, Dec 30 or 31, 2006.

CBC Radio One, “On the Coast,” Early January 2006 (air date to be confirmed).

Shaw Cable, “The Express,” January 4, 2006, 6pm and 8pm.

Common Ground Magazine, January 2006 issue.

OMNI TV: BC, “The Standard,” January 11, 2006, 9pm and January 12, 8am and 12 noon.

“Have a multi-cultural Christmas” – Vancouver Sun's Douglas Todd vs Todd Wong's experiences

“Have a multi-cultural Christmas” – Vancouver Sun's Douglas Todd vs Todd Wong's experiences

Douglas Todd looks at the students and celebrations of Sir Richard
McBride elementary school in Vancouver.  He compares present day
activities and student ethnicity to when he attended in the early
1960s.  DT is a thoughtful writer and he explores the issues of
religious holidays, political correctness, inclusion, school 
cultural programming, and what the children really want and think.

Of special note, DT writes that more schools are celebrating Chinese
New Year, or rather the more exclusive term “Lunar New Year,” as an
inclusive event that often celebrates all ethnic cultures.  I have
certainly found this to be true, especially when I was invited early this year
to bring my Scottish-Chinese fusion of “Gung Haggis Fat Choy” to
Westridge Elementary School in Burnaby.

Check out DT's feature article titled
A Multicultural Christmas:
Sir Richard McBride students balance ethnicity with new traditions

Vancouver Sun – Dec 24th page C1

Personally, when I grew up at Vancouver's Laura Secord elementary school
in the from 1965 to 1973 – I thought I was already experiencing
multiculturalism by going to school with mostly white students. 
Okay… there were a few students of Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Dutch,
Portuguese…etc heritage there too.  By 1973, the Chinese
proportion grew significantly, and in my grade 7 class there were 6
other Wongs in the class, including the teacher.

I had started noticing more ESL immigrants of Chinese ancestry around
1970.  This was the effect of changed immigration laws in 1967,
that now allowed independant Chinese immigrants, no longer only
sponsored by relatives to come to Canada.  You see, even though
the Chinese Exclusion Act was removed in 1947, only very limited
immigration was allowed for family members only.

My experiences of Christmas growing up, involved dinners with sticky
rice, turkey, cranberry sauce, stir-fried vegetables – always a
combination of Chinese and Canadian food.  When we visited 
my father's side of the family – there were more Chinese speakers, as
his mother spoke almost exclusively Chinese, and his eldest sister had
been raised in China – despite having been born in Canada. I referred
to my mother's side of the family as our “English side” because the
family had been in Canada longer since the arrival of my grandmother's
grandfather Rev. Chan Yu Tan in 1896.  Even my great-grandmother
Kate Chan was fluent in english.  So… even in my family we were
multicultural… I guess.

Last year I visited my girlfriend's parents in Vernon, and we attended
Christmas dinner at a friend of theirs.  I was the only, non-Asian
attending, of the 10 guests.  It was my first ethnically “white”
Christmas dinner.  We ate turkey with cranberry sauce, potatoes,
salad… just like my own family dinners.  I felt comfortable with
the company, because of shared language and values.  Nobody asked
how I was enjoying the new “cultural experience” because they just
assumed I was “Canadian”, knowing that I considered myself a 5th
generation Vancouverite.  The cultural differences and
conversations were more concerned with the differences between
Vancouver and Vernon. Big City culture versus Small City culture.

Culture and “multiculturalism” is relative.  Especially if it is married into the family.

CCNC releases Election Primer for Chinese Canadians urging them to vote and make a difference

CCNC releases Election Primer for Chinese Canadians urging them to vote and make a difference

Canadian National Council

Release: December 23 2005

Canadians Launch 2006 Election Primer; Urges Community To Vote

Chinese Canadian National Council launched its 2006 Election Primer today.
“Head Tax redress has become a key community driven election
issue,” Colleen Hua, CCNC National President said today.
“We’ve developed a questionnaire of 12 questions on a range of
topics for the Party Leaders and for the community to use when candidates knock
at their door.”

With most of the more than one million
Chinese Canadians living in urban ridings, the federal Parties need to pay
attention to the concerns of the Chinese Canadian community. “There are
no less than 14 candidates of Chinese descent running for elected office and
Chinese Canadians are involved at all levels of this federal campaign,”
Dr. Joseph Wong, Founding President of CCNC said today, “CCNC and
equality-seeking groups urge prospective voters to register, to become familiar
with the issues, to ask questions of candidates and to vote in this upcoming

The youth vote is important in this
election if we want an elected government that reflects all aspects of Canadian
society.  “Currently International Students are being directed to
contact their local Embassy for assistance in the case of an emergency,”
Christine Li, Co-Founder of the Chinese Canadian National Youth Council said
today.  “What is the federal government’s responsibility to
safeguard and attend to the well-being of thousands of international students
living away from home?”

NGOs face a funding crunch every year due
to the elimination of core funding some years ago. “Actually, it was
then-Finance Minister Paul Martin who delivered that lump of coal a few years
ago,” Victor Wong, CCNC Executive Director said today.
“Community-based organizations contribute greatly to society by promoting
positive social change and their efforts should be supported by the

CCNC is a national human
rights organization with 27 chapters across Canada. CCNC is joined in the
campaign for redress of the Head Tax and Chinese Exclusion Act by the Ontario
Coalition of Chinese Head Tax Payers and Families, BC Coalition of Head Tax
Payers Spouses and Descendants, Chinese Canadian Redress Alliance, the Association
of Chinese Canadians for Equality and Solidarity Society, and Metro Toronto
Chinese and South East Asian Legal Clinic.


For media interviews with Chinese
Canadian National Council, please contact

Colleen Hua (647) 299-1775
Sid Tan (604) 783-1853



“National Dream” was realized when the Last Spike was driven to
complete the transcontinental railway in 1885. The ceremony excluded the
Chinese railway workers who blasted through the Rockies
and lay the tracks and, for thousands, gave their lives to the building of this

Instead of gratitude, the government
imposed the head tax on all new Chinese immigrants – $50 in 1885,
increased to $100 in 1900 and finally $500 in 1903. In all, $23 million in head
taxes was paid. Finally, in 1923, the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed to stop
Chinese immigration altogether until the legislation was repealed in 1947.


Do you support an all-party Parliamentary resolution to acknowledge the
injustice and racial discrimination, and to recognize the suffering of
individual Chinese Canadians, their families, and the entire Chinese Canadian
community that resulted from this legislated racism, including the emotional
and financial hardship, and the forced separation of families?

The Chinese Canadian National Council
(CCNC) started in 1984 to campaign for redress for the 62 years of legislated
racism. Over 4,000 head taxpayers and families registered with CCNC across Canada.
But after 20 years of foot dragging by successive federal governments, there
are only a couple hundred head tax payers or surviving spouses alive today.


Do you support the return of a symbolic amount to the approximately 250
surviving head tax payers and surviving spouses?

In its 2005 federal budget, Prime
Minister Paul Martin’s government set aside $25 million to address
redress claims from several communities but it set preconditions on the
so-called Acknowledgement, Commemoration and Education [ACE] program: “no
apology, no compensation”. Despite widespread opposition, the government
rushed to sign an agreement in principle to allocate $2.5 million from the ACE
program to the National Congress of Chinese Canadians which accepted the
preconditions but which does not represent head tax families.


Will you rescind the agreement in principle signed with the Congress and stop
payment on the $2.5 million ACE program funds identified therein?

The process of reconciliation cannot
begin until the federal government deals directly with those most affected: the
head tax families. It must also negotiate in good faith with groups that the
head tax families themselves chose to represent them, not those that the
government chooses for them. 


Do you support good-faith negotiations with the representatives of head tax
families as to the nature and extent of redress for the impact of 62 years of
legislated racism on head tax families and the Chinese Canadian community as a
whole, including a transparent and legitimate process of gathering input from
the head tax families and the broader Chinese Canadian community?


It is unfair and discriminatory that
there are serious backlogs in processing immigration and sponsorship
applications in Beijing and Hong Kong locations
where Chinese applicants are concentrated, especially in comparison to other
locations such as Paris or London.  Delays are particularly long
for sponsorship applications.

What would your Party do to reduce the long waiting time for these applicants?

Many Canadians feel that the current
point system is too stringent and screens out many qualified applicants. Its
emphasis on language capability discriminates against immigrants who are not of
Francophone or Anglophone background. In addition, Canada's immigration levels are not
meeting target levels, despite the continuing need for workers to build our


What is your Party's plan to reduce barriers to independent immigrants to Canada?


This past summer, international students
attending university in St. John, New Brunswick, were attacked by local youth;
the story making national headlines. The Canadian Government for all its good
intentions, has not been effective in curtailing the growing number of violent
incidents targetted at international students.  Recently, two
international students were shot to death in Ottawa.


What is your Party's policy on the role of the Canadian Government in guarding
the well-being of International Students after they enter Canada?


Community-based organizations no longer
receive core funding for their daily operations and staffing resources which
has significantly impeded the participation of organizations in supporting
social change and community capacity building.  While transparent
processes and accountability are important, it is also important that the
government recognize and acknowledge the contribution of non-profit
organizations in maintaining and sustaining a stable, healthy Canadian
society.  Project funding is time limited, targetted, and does not
acknowledge the infrastructure needed to implement and deliver results.   


What will your Party do to restore core funding to community-based


Canada is known
for its universal health care system that provides free health care for all its
citizens and ensures there are no barriers to accessing health care in every
jurisdiction of the country. 


What will your Party do to ensure that Canada’s Health Care System
continues to be a universal right of every Canadian and prevent the growth of
the private for-profit system? 

Health care is a right of every Canadian,
but many people living in Canada, who are not citizens, continue to contribute
to the growth and development of Canada’s economic system while waiting
to be naturalized.   

What will your Party do to ensure that people who are not
citizens living in Canada,
continue to have access to health care while they are waiting to be

Canada is a
diverse country that is composed of people from a variety of different
cultural, religious and ethnic backgrounds.  Along with languages, and
culture, people bring with them different approaches and understandings of health
and health care. 

What will your Party do to work towards the recognition and
resourcing of different approaches to health care? 


There is a built in assumption that our
immigration eligibility criteria matches the needs of the country, particularly
with respect to employment opportunities.  Because of a lack of
coordination and resources on the part of the government, many newcomers who
are successful in their applications to come to Canada, are not able to find
employment in their area of expertise and find themselves unemployed or working
in jobs where they are enormously over qualified.   

What will your Party do to ensure that a plan is developed
and implemented to facilitate and expedite the accreditation process for
internationally trained professionals?

List of Federal Candidates of Chinese Descent (2006 Election)




 Michael Chong            
Kanman Wong
British Columbia


Raymond Chan
British Columbia
Soeung Tang   
British Columbia

Democratic Party


British Columbia

Chinese style bbq turkeys for Christmas…. yum yum!

Chinese style bbq turkeys for Christmas…. yum yum!

Jenny Uechi of Ricepaper Magazine wrote this very interesting foodie
article about turkey dinner served Chinese style for the Georgia Straight.  I LOVE Chinese
style bbq duck, and was intrigued with this idea….  I mentioned
it to my mother, and she told me that she sometimes would take a turkey
to a Chinatown butcher/meat store, and they would BBQ it on a price per
pound basis.

Jim Wong-Chu is a long-time friend and Asian Canadian Arts
mentor.  We came up with the idea of haggis won ton, as he has
helped advise me on the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinners over the
years…  Jim loves Chinese food too!

Put a little extra red in your dinner with a Chinese-style BBQ turkey

By jenny uechi

Publish Date: 15-Dec-2005

will tell you that Christmas dinner just doesn’t feel complete without
a roasted whole turkey as its centrepiece. The more daring, however,
may want to try a new spin on this holiday favourite: Chinese-style
barbecue turkey. With its reddish skin and sweet-savoury flavour, it’s
a dish that not only tastes (and looks) spectacular but also reflects
Vancouver’s multiethnic history.

Jim Wong-Chu, Ricepaper
publisher and local Asian-food guru, takes time to meet with the
Straight to recount the origins of the Chinese-style turkey. “From what
people tell me,” he says, “this tradition started way back in the olden
days, when none of the Chinese had ovens in their homes. So on special
occasions, they asked the local barbecue houses to roast the turkey for
them.” Prepared much like a traditional roasted duck, the turkey had
crisply seared skin, marinade sauce, and better-preserved juices than
the oven-roasting birds. “Even now, when most people have their own
ovens, people crave that barbecue taste,” he says.

As proof of
this, many barbecue houses in Chinatown still cater to that tradition.
At Kwong Hing Co. Ltd (228 East Pender Street, 604-681-1939) and Dollar
Meat Store (266 East Pender Street, 604-681-0536), turkey is sold at
$4.99 a pound and can be ordered in advance. As with most stores in
Chinatown, Cantonese is the lingua franca among staff: Wong-Chu advises
that non–Cantonese speakers may want to order through a translator to
avoid miscommunication.

For more of the story click here

Winter Solstice 2006 Dong Zhi at the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Gardens

Winter Solstice 2006 Dong Zhi at the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Gardens

We went down to the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Gardens last night in Vancouver's Chinatown.  Chinese Winter Solstice or Dong Zhi was being celebrated as part of the Secret Lantern Society's extensive programming that took part at Chinatown, Yaletown, Westend, Strathcona and Brittania Community Centre.

Chinese Winter Solstice is also a time when there are special foods and
activities, especially to be shared with family and friends. 

It was my girlfriend's first time seeing the Chinese garden all lit up
with hand made lanterns and candles, and it was magically
beautiful.  Even before we had walked into the garden, I bumped
into musician friends Qiu Xia He and Andre Thibault who regularly
perform at the Garden as Silk Road Music.

Ji Rong Huang performed erhu in the Scholar's Study, and Alcvin Ramos
performed shakahachi flute in the Hall of One Hundred Rivers.  Click here for a virtual tour of the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Gardens.

Because of rain, many of the paper lanterns were not hanging on the
trees, in the ritual of returning the fallen leaves of Autum, to their
original trees in new forms of lanterns.  Many of these paper
lanterns feauting leaf designs were instead hung along the walkways of
the gardens. 

My favorite lanterns are the floating ones designed like lotus
flowers.  The gentle breeze pushed them around on the ponds, and
they looked gorgeous in the dark.

A floating lotus lantern lit by photo flash – photo Todd Wong

We soon bumped into my friend Meena Wong showing the garden to a friend
of hers visiting from Singapore.  My first dragon boat mentor
James Yu was there with his mother.  James is also restorer for
the gardens, making sure it is in good maintenance and running
order.  He has taught me how to steer dragon boat as well as both
Tai Chi, and  many stories about the Chinese garden and traditions.

Dragon Boat buddies Todd Wong and James Yu – photo Deb Martin

As we left the Gardens, we looked around in the Gardens giftshop,
and I found a lovely little amulet thingy with the Chinese character
for “Love” – which I bought as a gift for my girlfriend.  We also
had some fun, doing water brush strokes on a “buddha board” where I
demonstrated my long lost skills of having taken a class in Chinese
brush painting back in 1980.  It was also a big surprise to meet
the new Gardens giftshop manager Alexis who used to run the balloon
shop in Deman Place Mall.  Alexis had attended my 2002 Gung Haggis
Fat Choy dinner when her good actor /voice coach friend  Sonia
Baker co-hosted with me.

A real big surprise was bumping into former classmates from Grade 7 at
Laura Secord Elementary in Vancouver.  While I have bumped into
Selina So over the past years through many Asian Canadian events, this
was the first time I had seen Leslie Ikeda since 1978 – and we both
fondly recounted that we had been in kindergarten together, as well as
grade 7 and grade 8 Math. Winter Solstice really is a time for friends
and family, as they meet at all the community events!

We met in the Terracotta Warrior gift shop, owned by my friends Charles
and Grace.  It's a wonderful shop and I bought two silk ties – one
with Pandas, another with dragons… and a special framed print as a
Christmas present for my parents (shhh…. it's a secret for now!)

Classmates from Grade 7 Reunited – Selena So, Leslie Ikeda and Todd Wong – photo Deb Martin

Head Tax on CBC TV with Oliva Chow vs Raymond Chan

Head Tax on CBC TV with Oliva Chow vs Raymond Chan

CBC TV hosted Toronto Councillor & NDP candidate and Raymond
Chan Minister of State (Multiculturalism) on TV this morning. 
This issues is becoming big and bigger as more and more Chinese
Canadian head tax descendants become more aware of the issue.  I
just had a phone call from a stranger that saw the broadcast – and
asked me how to find her grandfather's documentation.  Expect this
more and more…


MIKE DUFFY: Well a murky chapter in Canadian history has resurfaced in this
federal election campaign. Just prior to the fall of the minority government,
the Liberals announced an agreement with the Chinese-Canadian community. They
would be given millions of dollars to build an educational facility to
acknowledge that Canada had put restrictions on Chinese immigrants called a
head tax which was in place from 19, I'm sorry 1885 to 1923. But many
people say the deal doesn't go far enough. Others say it will open up a
Pandora's box of litigations from other ethnic groups. Joining me tonight in
Vancouver, the Minister of Multiculturalism, the Honourable Raymond Chan, and in
Toronto the NDP candidate in that city Olivia Chow. So, Ms Chow, what's wrong
with the proposal the government's put forward to recognize that the head
was a wrong thing?

OLIVIA CHOW (NDP Candidate): I don't know, Mike, why it's so difficult for a
Canadian government, the Liberal party, to actually say “sorry”, apologize for
the wrong so that the 250 people that are still left, that are still alive that
have paid a head tax could at least get a sense of justice. Apologize and
then begin the reconciliation talk so that they can perhaps get a symbolic
compensation. Doesn't have to be too much. We did it for the Japanese-Canadians.
Why can't we do it for the Chinese-Canadians?

DUFFY: Let me just go back over the ground for people who may not be aware of
this issue. What the government is saying is that instead of giving money to
individual people who were harmed by this, as the Mulroney government did for
the Japanese who were interned during the Second World War, the Martin
government is saying let's give a general grant to the community and let the
community use it to build a kind of cultural centre, a memorial museum to remind
future generations of what happened. So there is a different approach between
the two.

CHOW: It's also, the way the money's being doled out is not at all
transparent. And one of the groups that are receiving the money is not formally
established yet. The Montreal Cultural Centre that was announced actually
doesn't quite formally exist. So it's murky in the way that where is the money
going, what's the formal application process, who is qualified? Are these people
are special connected friends of the Liberal party? Is that why they are getting
the money?

DUFFY: No, no, they would never do that.

CHOW: Well I don't know what the Gomery inquiry is all about.

DUFFY: The culture of entitlement. Well, we've lost Minister Chan somehow.
The satellite went down. We're working on that.

CHOW: Maybe it is the ghost of the people that have actually passed away.
It's actually quite sad.

DUFFY: It's not a very good omen. But while we try to get him back, how
serious is the division within the Chinese-Canadian community?

CHOW: If you consider the day that this was announced, this deal was
announced, it was all very secretive, but when it was announced, one of the
local Chinese stations did a poll. Eighty-eight percent of the Chinese-Canadians
that phoned in said, no, this is terrible. This is not good. Twelve percent said
ah, maybe this is a good thing. So you can tell that a lot of people said, look,
already a lot of these seniors have passed away and shouldn't we at bare minimum
apologize and then do the reconciliation so that a historical wrong can be
overcome. And just going, just throwing the money out there is a wasteful of
money and it doesn't do anything.

DUFFY: So the choice, and we're still trying to get Minister Chan, so the
choice is between giving several million dollars to a community centre to build
a kind of museum, and giving cheques to individual people. Would it be the same
amount of money? What if somebody who doesn't know this says, oh, they're just
looking for free money from the government.

CHOW: Well, actually there are certificates that they have to pay. It doesn't
have to be a big amount. It could also just be a symbolic amount. And maybe some
of these head taxpayers don't even want the money. I think the key thing is
respect them, ask them what they want to do with the money. Some of them may not
want the money. They may want to use it for education purposes. Fine. But at
least ask them, respect them. One of the group that…

DUFFY: Ms. Chow, I'm sorry, the Minister is back on the line. Minister, our
sincere apology, I don't know what happened. You've been able to hear our
discussion? RAYMOND CHAN (Minister of Multiculturalism): Yes I have been

DUFFY: We just didn't have your picture and sound. So now you've heard Ms
Chow's point of view. Tell us why the government did what it's doing and what
you hope the reaction from the community will be.

CHAN: First of all, the head tax thing is a very terrible thing that
the past government have done in the 100 years ago. And…

DUFFY: Maybe some Canadians don't understand that. Any Chinese coming to
Canada during that period from 1885 to 1920, whatever, had to pay how much for
every single person? They had to pay the Canadian government to come here.

CHAN: Close to about $500. And it is something that is terribly wrong.

DUFFY: And in those days it was a heck of a lot of money.

CHOW: You could buy a house.

CHAN: The issue is, Mike, is that the government's position is that we have
to acknowledge that this kind of thing was terribly wrong, and then we have to
commemorate and educate our children and the children of our children to the
dark pages of our history and make sure this kind of thing doesn't happen again.
But the issue is that an apology would open up the Canadian taxpayers for
unlimited liability, financial liability, and that's why you can't do it.

CHOW: Oh, excuse me. You know, this whole case has gone to the Supreme Court,
and the courts have said that this is a political issue, that apology is fine,
and they have the court case.


CHOW: They have a court case, and legally there is no other route to go, so
don't hide behind the legal pressure. Japanese-Canadians had no problem. They
had a compensation.

CHAN: The court has said that the government is not liable, but even if they
are not liable and yet we still apologize and pay out compensation that would
open up all the cases for everybody else.

DUFFY: It becomes an admission of guilt. You are afraid it becomes… CHAN:
And also legally liability.


CHAN: For limited financial cases.

CHOW: Minister, it has gone to the, Minister, it has gone to the court.

CHAN: That's right.

CHOW: The court said that there is no case for it. So the whole liability,
the legal issue is a red herring. Why wouldn't you apologize? Brian Mulroney,
even though I'm not a Tory, apologized. There was no legal case. Nothing
happened. He apologized.

DUFFY: But Ms Chow.

CHOW: So why is that a problem?

UFFY: Sorry, we're almost out of time.
Interesting, Pierre Trudeau said no way to any group, not to the Japanese, the
Chinese, no one because he said we are not responsible for the sins of our
fathers. Brian Mulroney opened to the Japanese, and now minister, you've got all
of this on your plate, not just the Chinese but many other groups, right?

CHAN: Everybody else, because the issue is that even though the courts have
said that we're not liable. but at the same time if he decided to come and
apologize then that will lead the government to be liable for everything that
the courts said we're not liable for. And that would expose the Canadian
taxpayer for unlimited financial liability.

CHOW: So let me ask you then, if you don't want to apologize, you don't want
to compensate, why are you putting aside that money, and why isn't that money
open for different groups to apply. What is it the criteria? You know that $2.5
million there is no criteria.

CHAN: This is a problem of you that you keep on… CHOW: Canadian household.

CHAN: You keep on saying that we hand out money, and now you are saying that
we have not handed out money.

CHOW: You did.

CHAN: We have not. We're just coming together with the Chinese community to
form a foundation with people from the success, from the Chinese cultural
association across Canada, with the Chinese Free Masons. We never seen that kind
of historical support from across the country of the Chinese community on one
single government project. They come together to form a foundation and then they
would judge which project they should finance and which ones they shouldn't.

DUFFY: Mr. Minister, Olivia Chow, thank you both for joining us. Terribly
sorry for the technical problems earlier. That's what happens sometimes with
live TV. We appreciate you both for coming in tonight.