Stephen Harper reiterates his pledge of an apology and appropriate redress for Chinese Canadians

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Stephen Harper reiterates his pledge of an apology and appropriate redress for Chinese Canadians



Stephen Harper just held a news conference where he announced that the
new Conservative Government would be sworn in on Monday Feb 6th.

He also took the occasion to acknowledge Chinese New Year (with Gung
Hay Fat Choy to all Canadians) and recognize the contribution of the
community and reiterated his pledge of an apology and appropriate redress.

PM Stephen Harper:

“Before concluding I'd also like to just acknowledge briefly that

Chinese New Year begins this Sunday Jan 29th.  Chinese Canadians are making an

extraordinary impact on the building of our country.  They've also made

a significant historical contribution despite many obstacles.  That's why

as I said during the election campaign – the Chinese Canadian community

deserves an apology for the head tax and appropriate acknowledgement and redress. 

On this occasion I just like to take the opportunity to wish all Canadians

of Chinese descent a healthy and prosperous new year.  Gung Hay Fat Choy.”


CTV
Newsnet Live: Harper speaks from Parliament 
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7:48

       
If you can’t open it. Try www.ctv.ca and find the feed.

The BC Coaltion of Head Tax Payers, Spouses and Descendants will be making a response soon.

24 Hours has called Gabriel Yui for a
response.  Fairchild TV and Channel M TV will also interview Thekla Lit for a
response which  she says will be the following:

1.                  
Welcome
this apology and pledge for acknowledgment and redress and good to have Conservatives
to honour their election promise.

2.                  
This is
only the first step.  The apology must be done in the Parliament to be
follow by individual and community compensation.  Because apology with proper
compensation is hypocritical and compensation without apology is unethical.

3.                  
No one
should ever give up other people’s right for a just compensation.  Then,
a consensus of compensation will be able to worked out.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

VANCOUVER/TORONTO/MONTREAL, January 26, 2006 Chinese
Canadians groups are applauding Prime Minister Designate Stephen Harper’s restatement
of his commitment to Chinese head tax redress in time for the Chinese Lunar New
Year. In his first news conference today as Prime Minister Designate, Mr.
Harper stated: “The Chinese Canadian community deserves
an apology for the Head Tax and appropriate acknowledgement and redress of
that wrong.”

“This is a wonderful beginning
– Mr. Harper shows that he can keep an election promise.”

said Susan Eng, co-chair of the Ontario Coalition
of Chinese Head Tax Payers and Families, (Ontario Coalition), which along with the
B.C. Coalition of Head Tax Payers,
Spouses and Descendents (B.C. Coalition),
Chinese Canadian Redress Alliance and the
Chinese Canadian National Council (CCNC), called on the newly elected Prime
Minister and other party leaders to recommit to their election pledge to fully
support head tax redress. “Once again,
Mr. Harper is the first party leader to respond to our appeal. This bodes very
well for finally getting justice for head tax families and to closing a dark
chapter in Canadian history. We can now stop having to explain our grievances
for past injustice and look forward to working with the new government for full
and proper redress. ”

Mr. Harper was also the first party leader to issue
formal support for head tax redress during the election campaign as early as a
December 8th news release issued to foreclose any further support by
his caucus member, Inky Mark, [Dauphin–Swan River—Marquette] for the
Liberal’s much maligned position of “no apology, no
compensation”.

In response to the demands made by Chinese Canadian
groups during the election,
the Conservative Party, the NDP and
the Bloc Quebecois committed in writing to support a Parliamentary Resolution
to apologize, direct redress for the 250 surviving head tax
payers and spouses, rescinding of the $2.5 million deal under the ACE program
and open, transparent and inclusive consultations and negotiations with head
tax families and the broader Chinese Canadian community as to the nature and
extent of redress.

Mr.
Harper’s strong and immediate commitment, especially coming as it does on
the eve of the Chinese Lunar New Year, will be treated as solemn promise to
Chinese Canadians, young and old
.” said Dr. Joseph Wong,
founder of CCNC.

“This is a statement of
Canadian values. We are now very optimistic that immediate action will be taken
before it is too late for the surviving head tax payers and spouses.”
said Avvy Go, counsel
for the Ontario Coalition.

“It was clear that head tax redress issue galvanized Chinese
Canadians right across the country,” Bill Chu, spokesperson for the BC Coalition added.

“Even the Liberals eventually agreed to an apology during the
election campaign,” William Dere, spokesperson for the Chinese Canadian
Redress Alliance added. “Now it’s up to the Harper government

Canada's
“National Dream” was realized when
the Last Spike was driven to complete the transcontinental railway in 1885.
Instead of gratitude for the Chinese railway workers – thousands of whom
gave their lives to the building of this country – the government imposed
a head tax on all new Chinese immigrants, collecting more than $23 million by
1923. That year, the government passed the Chinese Exclusion Act to stop all
Chinese immigration
to Canada. The racist legislation was
not repealed until 1947.

 –30–

 

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