Community meeting: “Don't Exclude Us Again” say Sons and Daughters of Chinese Head Tax Payers

A community meeting is taking place in Toronto on May 4th, to address issues of redress for Chinese Head Tax and Exclusion Act.

A similar community meeting will take place in Vancouver:


Saturday May 6th, 2pm,

SUCCESS. 

28 West Pender  St.

This will be organized by CCNC, ACCESS and the BC Coalition for Head Tax Payers, Spouses and Descendants.


Media Advisory
May 3, 2006

“Don’t
Exclude Us Again” say Sons and Daughters of Chinese Head Tax Payers

Vancouver/Edmonton/Regina/Toronto/Ottawa/Montreal/Halifax/St.
John’s.

Chinese Canadian National Council (CCNC), Ontario
Coalition of Chinese Head Tax Payers and Families (Ontario Coalition), and
redress-seeking groups will convene a news conference tomorrow to call upon the
Government to provide fair and inclusive redress:


Date:               Thursday,
May 4, 2006


Time:              11:00
am EST


\Place:              CCNC
office 302 Spadina Ave Suite 507


Speakers:        Colleen
Hua, National President, CCNC

                      
Victor Wong, Executive
Director, CCNC


                       Susan
Eng, Co-Chair, Ontario
Coalition

                      
George Lau, Co-Chair, Ontario
Coalition
                      
Avvy Go, Legal Counsel, Ontario Coalition

“Don’t
exclude us again” is the message that sons and daughters of Chinese Head
Tax payers presented at cross country consultations organized by Heritage Canada
over the past two weeks. More than 1,500 Chinese Canadians attended meetings in
Halifax, Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Montreal and Winnipeg to share their
painful stories of discrimination, hardship, and decades of separation from
their parents during the Chinese Exclusion Act era, most of whom were elderly
sons and daughters of people who had paid the head tax.

All welcomed the
Government’s commitment to a Parliamentary Apology and Chinese Head Tax
Redress in the Throne Speech and were encouraged by the words and receptiveness
of the
Minister of Canadian Heritage, Hon. Bev Oda, and
Mr. Jason Kenney, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister.

“This
is a historic moment, and the first step to righting a historic wrong,”

said 88-year-old Head Tax payer James Pon. “Without a
doubt, the process of reconciliation has begun.”

Mr. Pon is one of the few
head tax payers alive today because his father paid his head tax for him when
he was an infant. There were more than 2000 head tax payers or spouses alive in
1984 when the Chinese Canadian National Council started to campaign for head
tax redress. After more than 21 years of inaction by successive federal
governments, there are only about 250 head tax payers and spouses alive today
across Canada.

But the
head tax payers and their wives are not the only victims who endured much pain
and suffering. 
My mother is both a spouse and daughter of head tax payers. She never
met her father who died in Ottawa
in 1916.  She was separated from my father for most of 14 years. Alone,
she raised children through famine and war before they were allowed to come to Canada.
I would be totally against a redress settlement that denies that this racist
legislation did not affect entire families
.”
said Yew Lee, Co-Chair of the Ontario Coalition.

“The sons and daughters
were directly affected by the racist Head Tax and Exclusion Acts in their own
right and it would not be fair to exclude them from redress”

said William Dere of the Chinese
Canadian Redress Alliance [Montreal].
“Surely, the Government got that message
from the consultations – their suffering was real and personal.”

“If the federal government
had acted as quickly in 1984 as the Harper government has so far just 3 months
into its mandate, then the families who have registered with us would have
received redress”
said Colleen
Hua, CCNC National President. “Their sons and daughters
should not be excluded simply because their parents could not outlive
Government intransigence.”

“The only fair settlement is “one certificate,
one payment” so that the sons and daughters of those who have predeceased
and still carry the pain both for what their parents suffered and what they
endured themselves will see justice too.”
said Kenda Gee of Edmonton Chinese HTEA Redress Committee [Alberta].

Chinese Canadian National Council (CCNC) and other redress-seeking
groups including the Ontario Coalition of Chinese Head Tax Payers and Families
(Ontario Coalition), B.C. Coalition of Head Tax Payers, Spouses and Descendants
(B.C. Coalition),
Saskatchewan Chinese Head Tax Redress Committee,
Association of Chinese Canadians for Equality and Solidarity (ACCESS), Edmonton Chinese HTEA Redress
Committee
,  and Chinese Canadian Redress
Alliance (CCRA) are now joined by the Halifax Chinese Redress Committee and Newfoundland and Labrador Head Tax Redress
Committee
in the campaign to redress the Head Tax and Chinese Exclusion
Act.

 
-30-

For more information, please contact:         

Chinese Canadian National Council
Colleen Hua, National President, (647) 299-1775 (Toronto)
Dr. Joseph Wong, CCNC Founding President, (416) 806-0082 (Toronto)
Victor Wong, Executive Director, (416) 977-9871 (Toronto)

Ontario
Coalition of Head Tax Payers and Families

Susan Eng, Co-Chair, (416) 960-0312 (Toronto)
George Lau, Co-Chair (416) 588-1751 (Toronto)
Yew Lee, Co-Chair, (819) 827-3357 (Ottawa)
Avvy Go, Legal Counsel, (416) 971-9674 (Toronto)

BC Coalition of Head Tax Payers, Spouses and Descendants

Gabriel
Yiu
, Chinese-language spokesperson (
604) 889-0696 (Vancouver)
Karin Lee, English-language spokesperson (778) 773-1088 (Vancouver)
Harvey Lee, English-language spokesperson (604) 254-7137 (Vancouver)

Association of Chinese Canadians for Equality and Solidarity

Sid Tan, President/ CCNC National Director, (604) 783-1853 (Vancouver)

Chinese Canadian Redress Alliance


William Dere (514) 488-0804 (Montreal)
Walter Tom (514) 341-3929 (Montreal)

Edmonton Chinese HTEA Redress
Committee


Kenda Gee, Chair, (780)
487-3536 (Edmonton)

Saskatchewan
Chinese Head Tax Redress Committee


Sam
Gee, Chair, (306) 586-7579 (Regina)
Choon
Yong, Vice-Chair, (306) 586-9663 (Regina)

Halifax
Chinese Redress Committee


May
Lui, Chairperson, (902) 423-7802 (Halifax)

Newfoundland and Labrador
Head Tax Redress Committee


Gordon Jin, Co-Chair, (709) 726-7872 (St. John’s)

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