Georgia Straight names election candidate recommendations + conversation with Charlie Smith

The Georgia Straight names election candidate recommendations

Funny thing happened
as I was writing this article.  Georgia Straight News Editor
Charlie Smith phoned me.

“Todd I've been seeing your face pop up on tv all over the place.”

“Oh Charlie, I just wanted to make a statment about head tax.  It
is such an important issue for all Canadians, but especially for me as
a 5th generational Chinese-Canadian.  My grandmother is 95 years
old, and her father and husband paid the head tax.  The Liberals
really bungled the head tax redress by not including head tax
descendants.  That's why I agreed to do the NDP television
ad.  I truly feel that the Liberals have forgotten to speak to
“real Canadians.” Their bureaucrats followed their instructions to only
find organizations that agreed to their pre-conditions of No Apology,
and No Compensation.  That was a terrible predicament to put our
Chinese Canadian veterans in, who have always asked for an apology, yet
no compensation.  They wanted to see an apology in their lifetime,
and all they got was a psuedo admission of regret.”

Charlie and I have a good conversation, and he asks me questions about
how I feel that no Chinese Canadian candidates may be elected from the
Vancouver Lower Mainland.  I tell him that with candidates like
Libby Davies and Bill Siksay who have good handles and outreach into
the Chinese communities, I feel confident that we have their ear. 
I think many people in the Chinese community feel that Raymond Chan did
not stand up for Chinese Canadians on the head tax redress issue. 
He could have resigned his position in protest – but he followed the
party line.  But give credit to Raymond Chan, he did bring a
redress settlement to the House, even though it was a gutted private
members bill first brought up by Conservative Inky Mark.  And head
tax redress will finally get its due soon – although not the way
Raymond Chan intended.

We also discuss how Sherry Shaghaghi is the first Iranian-Canadian
candidate for a federal election.  “She is a star
candidate.”  It's important for ethnic candidates to develop
exposure, even though they may be running in unwinnable ridings such as
North Vancouver.  But think of what it was like for Doug Jung to
run for election as the first Chinese Canadian MP in 1957.

More importanly Charlie Smith and I also discuss what I have found to
be amazing during this
election is that the Chinese community, has a new identity through the
hard work of incredible 1st generation immigrants such as Thekla Lit,
Bill Chu and Gabriel Yiu, with Canadian born Chinese like myself. 
He has such high praise for them all, and especially Sid Tan, whose
mother in China was separated from his father in Canada for
I especially have a greater appreciation and understanding of Chinese
language immigrants and the Chinese media too.  And that is a good

The Georgia Straight includes the Chinese Head Tax redress amongst important elections issues such as
the future of health care, child care, the cost of postsecondary
education, crime, police surveillance powers, ,
immigration, Canadian military priorities, and the desire for less
corruption in Ottawa.  They also state that “it’s
unthinkable to elect federal politicians who opposed ratifying the
Kyoto Protocol and who are so threatened by gay and lesbian marriages
that they feel they must be banned.”

Recommendations are listed in 19 Lower Mainland ridings where none of the choices have
denied that human activity is contributing to climate change nor want to deny same-sex

My personal view is that I cannot support the Liberal position on the
head tax apology, or rather lack of proper apology and failue to
compensate remaining head tax payers and spouses.  After
scratching out Conservative candidates who are
anti-same-sex-marriage… there's generally only the NDP and Green
Party left.  But we still need some good Conservative and Liberal
reps in the House…. hmmm…. who will it be?

Highlights include:

We’re not recommending Chan because he fumbled the Chinese head-tax issue, refusing to give an official apology.

Libby Davies
, who was first elected to Parliament in 1997, has had more impact than most opposition federal politicians.

Bill Siksay
deserves to be reelected after his party forced the federal
Liberals to amend their budget to replace corporate tax cuts with
tuition assistance and funding for housing.

Mary Woo Sims
, the former
chief commissioner of the BC Human Rights Commission, is a hero to some
in the gay and lesbian community for her record as a defender and
promoter of human rights.

As B.C.’s attorney general in the late 1990s, Dosanjh did more than any
of his predecessors to advance the rights of gays and lesbians and to
allocate public resources to combat domestic abuse. No one can accuse
Dosanjh of lacking personal courage.

For 25 years as an NDP MP in Burnaby, Svend Robinson repeatedly
demonstrated that he was willing to do all of this and more on behalf
of his constituents

We’re recommending Shaghaghi, a clinical counsellor, over Stephenson
because of her extensive record of community service and her party’s
record in the recent Parliament.

Dawn Black is a progressive politician who will fight for the concerns of low-income residents in the riding.

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