Newfoundland considers apologizing for $300 Chinese Head Tax imposed 100 years ago today

Newfoundland considers apologizing for $300 Chinese Head Tax imposed 100 years ago today


A lot of people don't realize that Chinese immigrants to Newfoundland
paid $300 for a head tax from 1906 to 1949.  Newfoundland was its
own Dominion, a separate country from Canada, prior to 1949. 

The following is a story on CBC today.

Province considers apologizing for Chinese head tax

Last
updated May 10 2006 09:18 AM NDT
CBC News
Newfoundland and Labrador is considering apologizing for a head tax
once imposed on Chinese immigrants to the province.
Wednesday marks the 100th anniversary of the introduction of the $300
tax that was imposed on each Chinese person who immigrated to
Newfoundland.

John Ottenheimer says the province is considering whether to issue a formal apology for the Chinese head tax. (CBC)

John Ottenheimer says the province is considering whether to issue a formal apology for the Chinese head tax. (CBC)

More than 300 Chinese immigrants paid the tax before it was abolished
in 1949, when Newfoundland joined Confederation.
Gordon Jin, whose relatives were among the people forced to pay, says
it's time for the province to formally apologize for the tax.
“My grandfather was a head-tax payer – he came in 1911” said Jin.
“My father was a head-tax payer; he came in 1931. My uncle was a
head-tax payer as well, and my mom's older brother was a head-tax
payer.”
The federal government is already preparing to apologize for the head
tax it collected from about 81,000 Chinese immigrants to the country
between 1885 and 1923.

Provincial Minister for Intergovernmental Affairs John Ottenheimer said
the request sounds reasonable. Jin says it's not enough for Ottawa to
apologize. His relatives
paid the tax to Newfoundland, not to Canada, so the province should
apologize, he says.
“It seems to me that that's an issue that has some credibility,” said
Ottenheimer.
“I mean, we were a dominion prior to 1949 and this head tax was put in
place by Newfoundland prior to us joining Confederation.”
Ottenheimer said the provincial government is studying the issue. The
federal government will make its apology this summer.

CBC reporter Mark Quinn interviews Gordon Jin about the head tax imposed on Chinese immigrants to Newfoundland before 1949.

St.
John's Morning Show host Jeff Gilhooly speaks with Intergovernmental
Affairs Minister John Ottenheimer about whether the province should
apologize for a head tax once imposed on Chinese immigrants.

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