Head tax stories in Sing Tao and Ming Pao today...
What is going to happen with redress?
Both Sing Tao and Ming Pao have big stories on head tax today. Thank you to
Gabriel Yiu for translating.
apology event expected later this month with some details. Sing Tao's
front-page story is on BC & Ontario's request to meet with Kenney.
Ontario Coalition co-chair Yiu-Wah Lee and BC's Sid Tan were
interviewed in the article. The
story headline is “On how to redress, victim's descendants want to negotiate.”
“There is a worry about the issue becoming sidetracked. Kenney refused
and said it would divide the community”. In response to the requests,
Jason Kenney said he will not arrange the meeting with the redress
organization and he will not negotiate either. He said this matter has
been dragged too long, the Chinese community's view on this is too
diverse and there is no consensus to negotiate.
The Government's consistent position is to consult the Chinese
community comprehensively, finding consensus, and not negotiation.
Kenney said he respect Lee's opinion, but his government would not
repeat the mistake of the previous government, former government
negotiated with NCCC and it divided the Chinese community. Kenney
refused to say when he would inform related organization regarding
government redress package before announcing to the public, because the
government hasn't decide on details the redress arrangement.
Kenney said he doesn't worry their redress package couldn't satisfy
some demand and cause backlash from the Chinese community. He believes
their redress package would receive wide support from the community.
The story is consistent with what we have been hearing. The government's position is to
compensate head tax payers and their suriving spouses, if the payer is predeceased.
The BC Coalition, the Ontario Coalition and the Chinese Canadian National Council, plus
other groups across Canada, want to include descendants if the actual head tax payer is
predeceased (died before redress). This makes sense. It is like a tax refund to the person's
estate. If the head tax payer has already died, then compensation goes to their spouse, if
both are predeceased, it goes to their children, if they have died it goes to their grandchildren,.
BC Coalition has also been advancing One payment for One Certificate. This means an equal
payment for each certificate. This is fair. If head tax payers are pre-deceased, their spouses,
children or grandchildren should not have to suffer again. In many cases, the actual head tax
payers and their spouses and their children, worked long hours at low wages in order to pay
the monies initially loaned in order to pay the exhorbitant head tax.
I believe that many of the head tax payers lived shorter harder lives. I know that my
great-grandfather Ernest Lee, died while his youngest child was still a baby, leaving his wife
to care for fourteen children (all born in Canada). My mother's father, Sonny Mah, also
died early, leaving my grandmother (born in Canada), to care for 3 sons and 3 daughters,
the 3 youngest, still in their teens.