Head Tax Redress: Opposition Parties united – Here are the questionnaire responses

January 6, 2005

Conservative Party of Canada Response to
the Ontario
Coalition of Head Tax Payers and
Families

       
        
Question 1: 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?

Yes.  The Conservative Party has long recognized the terrible
historical wrong of the Chinese head tax.  It is time for the Parliament
and Government of Canada to recognize this grave injustice, and to apologize
for it.

Question 2: Do you support  the return of a symbolic amount to the
approximately 250 surviving head tax payers and surviving spouses?

Yes.  Living head tax payers should
receive such restitution.


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

Yes.  This agreement was rushed by the government at the last
minute before an election, and has divided rather than united the Chinese
Canadian community.  A Conservative Government would take a constructive
and consensual approach to resolving this issue, as a previous Conservative
government did with respect to redress of the unjust wartime internment of
Japenese-Canadians.

Question 4: 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?

A Conservative government would work with the entire
Chinese-Canadian community to establish a consensus for reconciliation and
redress.

*****************

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January 7, 2006

RE: Ontario Coalition of Head Tax
Payers and Families Questionnaire

Attached please find the response of the New Democratic
Party to your 2006 Election Survey.  It
is the policy of our party to respond to surveys on behalf of all New Democratic
candidates.  

Please note that our election platform has yet to be
released. We invite you to consult our platform after it is released for more
information on the issues you raise in your questionnaire.

Thank you for your interest in the views of the New
Democratic Party on the critical issues facing Canadians. 

We appreciate your efforts to help voters make an informed
decision on voting day.  

Sincerely,

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Jack Layton

Leader of Canada’s
NDP 

Question 1: 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?

Question 1: 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?

Yes. The
NDP
believes the Prime Minister
should formally apologize in the House of Commons to the Chinese community, the
payers and their families.

Question 2: Do you
support
the
return of a symbolic amount to the approximately 250 surviving head tax payers
and surviving spouses?

Yes. In
October 2004, Libby Davies our multiculturalism critic MP tabled a motion
asking for an apology and redress for head tax payers, their families and
representatives
.

Question 3: Will you
rescind the agreement in principle signed with the Congress and stop payment on
the $2.5 million ACE program funds identified therein?

Yes. The NDP has called on the government to quash the
existing agreement in principle, go back to the table with all the relevant
groups, including key Chinese Canadian head tax payers, their families and
representatives, and find a compromise and fair deal for everyone.  The
government has a responsibility to acknowledge the diversity of the Chinese Canadian
community and find a course of compromise. It is completely unacceptable for
the Liberal government to exclude at least 4000 head tax payers, their families
and descendants through an agreement with only one part of the community
.

Question 4: 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?

Yes. The
NDP has called on the Liberal government to acknowledge past hardships for
Chinese Canadians through the Chinese head tax and exclusion legislation in a
way that unites the community rather than deliberately divides it. Indeed, On
November 22, 2005 NDP MP Bill Siksay joined NDP
Jack
Layton
and BC NDP MPs to call on the
Prime Minister “to find a compromise and fair deal for all Chinese Canadians
head tax payers and their families.”


*************

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Envoi par courriel

Le 6 janvier 2006

Susan Eng, co-chair

Ontario Coalition
of Head Tax Payers and Families

Madame, 

Vous trouverez, ci-joint, les réponses au
questionnaire que vous nous avez fait parvenir dans le cadre du déclenchement
des élections fédérales 2005-2006.

Nous espérons que les réponses fournies vous permettront
de mieux comprendre notre action politique.  

Nous vous prions d’agréer, Madame,  l’_expression de nos sentiments distingués. 

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Dominic Labrie

Cabinet du chef du Bloc
Québécois
3750, Crémazie Est, bureau 307
Montréal (Québec)
H2A 1B6

 ELECTION QUESTIONS

Canada's “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 country.

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.

Question 1: 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?

Oui.
Le Bloc Québécois a même proposé des amendements au projet de loi C-333
afin d’inclure des réparations.

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.

Question 2: Do you support

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


Oui.
Au cours de l’étude du projet de loi C-333
lors des réunions du Comité permanent,
les amendements proposés par les députés du Bloc
Québécois et du NPD en ce sens ont été rejetés par les députés libéraux et
conservateurs membres du Comité.

Notamment, un amendement prévoyant un
dédommagement pour les personnes ayant payé une taxe d'entrée, leur famille et
leurs descendant
s en ligne directe
de même qu’un amendement du Bloc Québécois demandant que le
gouvernement fédéral négocie directement avec les familles qui ont été victimes
de la taxe d’entrée et de l’acte d’exclusion et leurs représentants, ont été
rejeté sur vote des membres du Comité.

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.

Question 3: Will you rescind the
agreement in principle signed with the Congress and stop payment on the $2.5
million ACE program funds identified therein?

Le texte du projet de projet de loi C-333
visant à reconnaître les injustices commises à l'égard des immigrants chinois
par suite de l'imposition d'une taxe d'entrée et de l'adoption de lois
d'exclusion, à souligner la contribution remarquable de ces immigrants au
Canada, prévoit aussi des mesures reconnaissance, de commémoration et
d’éducation.

Le projet de loi original proposait que le
gouvernement fédéral négocie avec le National Congress of Chinese Canadians
afin qu’une entente soit conclue sur les mesures réparatoires à mettre en
œuvre.  Ces mesures réparatoires devaient
prendre forme sous des projets éducatifs. (art.4)

Le projet de loi C-333 modifié et présenté à la Chambre
ne comporte plus cet élément de reconnaissance de la contribution des
immigrants chinois mais plutôt sur des mesures qui seront négociées
avec une seule organisation de la communauté chinoise en vue de la
reconnaissance des mesures d’exclusion qui ont été imposées aux
Canadiens d’origine chinoise.
 

Le Bloc Québécois est en faveur de la mise en œuvre de mesures éducatives et commémoratives mais
déplore le fait qu’un seul groupe puisse négocier avec le gouvernement fédéral
et qu’il y ait des conditions que doit accepter l’interlocuteur représentant la
communauté chinoise canadienne. Le Bloc Québécois a tenté d’amendé C-333 afin que le gouvernement fédéral négocie
directement avec les familles qui ont été victimes de la taxe d’entrée et de
l’acte d’exclusion et leurs représentants. L’amendement a été rejeté par les conservateurs
et les libéraux.

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.

Question
4: 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?

Dans sa version originale, le texte du projet
de loi C-333 présenté à
la Chambre des communes proposait que le gouvernement
fédéral négocie avec le National Congress of Chinese Canadians afin qu’une
entente soit conclue sur les mesures réparatoires à mettre en œuvre.  Ces mesures réparatoires devaient prendre
forme sous des projets éducatifs. (art.4)

Lors des débats de 2e lecture du
projet de loi C-333, soit le 21 février et le 18 avril 2005, des députés
libéraux et conservateurs ont insisté sur la reconnaissance et les mesures réparatoires
dont fait mention le projet de loi.
 

Plus tard, au cours de l’étude du projet de
loi C-333 lors des réunions du Comité permanent,
le NPD,
soutenu par le Bloc Québécois, a proposé un amendement qui demandait que le
gouvernement fédéral négocie avec le Conseil national des
canadiens et chinois et d’autres groupes représentatifs afin d’élargir les
interlocuteurs de la communauté chinoise du Canada qui pourraient participer
aux négociations. 
Cependant, les
membres libéraux et conservateurs du Comité ont 
voté contre cet amendement.

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