Vancouver Centre all-candidates meeting: Svend, Hedy and the rest of them…
It was very crowded, and I was unable to initially get into the
meeting. I went for coffee with a friend, Janek Kuchmistrz,
who had run as the provincial Green Party candidate earlier in the
year. Then I went for a short visit with my 95 year old
grandmother, who told me stories about how challenging in head been to
grow up during the Head Tax and Exclusion Act period, then I came back
before the meeting ended. By that time, there was more standing
Head Tax did not really come up at the Vancouver Centre all-candidates meeting. Not even after Hedy Fry's
statement of “those people with their little issues” – recorded on CBC
TV news last Friday. Most of the audience was white, despite the
ridings supposed 20% Chinese population, or is it 20,000 voters… I
forget – one or the other… but enough to make a difference in voting
for a close race.
Svend Robingson brought up the head tax issue as an example of the Liberals flip-flopping.
After the meeting, I did approach Hedy Fry and ask her
position about the head tax redress apology. She said “An apology
had been made.” I asked her about individual compensation.
She said no
She said “It would be a mistake to give compensation because every
group would be asking for compensation. Where would you stop?”
“But the Japanese Canadians got individual compensation,” I said. And then her answer surprised me…
She said that it
was the Conservatives under Brian Mulroney who gave compensation.
“Well you got your answer,” said Janek, “Hedy Fry says that the
Conservatives made a mistake by giving individual compensation to the
Hmmm…. so if Chinese Canadians want individual compensation we should vote in the Conservatives?
Or maybe the NDP?
On the other hand, Svend Robinson was very gracious.
He is in favour of individual compensation for surviving head tax
payers and spouses. And he added that he first worked with Margaret
Mitchell in the 1980's on the head tax issues.
And then, Svend said… “and you're working to help save the Kogawa House,” acknowledging my community work to create a new literary monument for Vancouver.
The other candidates were no longer in sight afterwards… except the Green party Candidate… then I missed talking with him.