Globe & Mail / Vancouver Sun – head tax stories on division in Chinese community???

Globe & Mail / Vancouver Sun – head tax stories on division in Chinese community???

Here are the latest media stories from the Globe & Mail, and Vancouver Sun.  Both stories emphasize a percieved division in the Chinese community regarding compensation.

But a recent announcement by Susan Eng of the Ontario Coaltion of Head Tax payers and families, clearly demonstrates that the previous division is now non-existent.  The National Congress of Chinese Canadians which signed the Nov. 25th Agreement -in -Principle for the ACE program of Acknowledgement, Commemoration and Education, now says they have ALWAYS asked for an apology, and are NOT opposed to individual  compensation for head tax payers and survivors.

So what's the fuss? 

Below are the audio links of tonight's Power Politics with Ping Tan
and Avvy Go:

Part (1): starts at 26:25

(2): starts at 00:00

(3): starts at 03:20

When being asked by Simon Li about
NCCC's most updated position on HT redress, Ping Tan expressed
that NCCC do not oppose to symbolic direct compensation to HT payers
and spouses. We should make this known to the government as well as other
media that even NCCC do not oppose to direct compensation now.

Globe and Mail – June 9th, 2006


head-tax compensation proves to be a thorny issue

It's not easy being sorry.

The governing federal Tories are finding that out as
they work to fulfill their campaign promise to apologize and compensate Chinese
Canadians for the head tax and Exclusion Act applied to Chinese immigrants long

Few would deny an apology is appropriate for these
racist policies. But what about the thorny issue of compensation?

Yes, in 1988, the Conservative government of Brian Mulroney paid out $21,000 each to an
estimated 14,000 Japanese Canadians for their wartime internment and the even
more shameful stripping of their homes and businesses.

Yet there is a major difference between what happened to the Japanese
and the 80,000 or so Chinese immigrants who paid the head tax. However wrong it
was to impose the hated $500 head tax on those wanting to come to Canada, no one forced the immigrants to make the journey. Those
who stayed in China
did not have to pay a cent.

The Japanese in Canada
had no such choice, nor, it should be pointed out, did Chinese families
separated by the heartless 1923 Exclusion Act that banned all immigration from China
until it was repealed in 1947.

Given all this, the issue of compensation is far from
cut and dried. If it is to be paid, should it go only to the handful of
head-tax payees still alive? Or to the many families of all
those who paid the tax?
And what about descendants of just those
families separated by the Exclusion Act?

Not helping the Harper government struggle through
these ticklish matters is division within the Chinese Canadian community
itself. Some groups remain opposed to individual compensation, while others,
particularly the activist Chinese Canadian National Council, wants
one payment for every head tax paid.

The government has promised a package before the end
of the month. Good luck.



Vancouver Sun – June 8th, 2006

PM vows apology
and quick redress for Chinese-Canadians: But MP warns that divisions might make
agreement difficult to reach

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper will
move this month to help Canadians reconcile with ethnic Chinese citizens who
have felt excluded from the country for more than a century due to old racist
immigration laws, Conservative MP Jason Kenney said Wednesday.

But Kenney said
the government, which will formally apologize in the House of Commons and
provide an unspecified redress package, has so far failed to bridge the huge
division among Chinese-Canadians over whether taxpayer-funded payments are

“It'll happen
before the house rises” for the summer break, which is scheduled to begin
no later than June 23, said Kenney, Harper's parliamentary secretary and one of
the MPs involved in negotiations on the package.

“I think this
will be an historic opportunity for reconciliation with elements of the Chinese
community that have really felt excluded now for over 100 years.”

acknowledged that two national groups, one in favour
of financial redress and one opposed, are still far apart on the issue of
financial redress.

“What we're
trying to do is come up with a consensus and, quite frankly, the Chinese
community has been quite polarized for a long time on how to redress the head
tax. It's a very difficult issue. There are groups that are miles apart on
this, so it's going to be difficult to come up with a consensus. But we're
doing our best.”

He noted that
Harper, during a recent visit to Vancouver,
said the redress would go to “direct” victims of the head tax and an
immigration ban aimed at limiting, then ending Chinese immigration between 1885
and 1947.

“It'll be a
package that I think gives honour to the memory of those
who were really victims of racist policies in the past,” Kenney told

declaration that he will limit redress payments has already sparked criticism,
but Kenney said cabinet is considering various options.

principle he said is 'those who are directly affected' and there's different
ways of interpreting that.”

The Chinese
Canadian National Council, a group that waged an aggressive and successful
campaign against the former Liberal government's refusal to provide redress,
has expressed concern about Harper's remarks.

groups are concerned that the government will exclude descendants and treat
widows substantially differently,” the CCNC said in a statement.

multiculturalism critic Sukh Dhaliwal
warned Wednesday that the government risks creating further divisions in Canada's
ethnic communities by singling out Chinese-Canadians for recognition while not
taking action on other racist incidents.

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