Head Tax redress package…. a leak… what will Harper say?
Earlier today, Head Tax redress groups recieved information at that:
spouses will receive one-time compensation of between 15k to
If this is true, then there will be many dispointed people. Everybody is expecting an apology, but the “compensation” is substantially less than the $35,000 that head tax payer Charlie Quon would like, and less than the $20,000 that head tax redress groups see as a minimum. BC Coalition has been stating “One certificate – one payment.”
But hopefully, this is part of the 2 stage process that the Head Tax redress groups have been proposing all along. Stage one includes apology + immediate redress payment for surviving head tax payers + spouses. Stage two includes payments for descendants, to be negotiated over an 8 to 12 month process, acknowledging it will take time to register head tax certificates and prove direct lineage of descendants.
One certificate – one payment. I believe this is fair. It is like a tax refund. A symbolic tax refund, for the exremely racist legislation that was created to keep Chinese out of Canada, while letting any other race in. Very poor judgement on Canada's part, especially after seeking, inviting, recruiting, and hiring Chinese labourers to build the Canadian transcontinental railway at substantially lower wages than White labourers.
There are many head tax payers and spouses who have now died and gone to heaven. Some were buried with their certificates. Their children suffered the financial setbacks along with their parents. Their grandchildren too. My maternal great grand father Ernest Lee, and my maternal grandfather Sonny Mar both worked hard to pay the head tax, and they both died early leaving their widowed wives with children to look after.
Canada need to make the apology so that our country can move forward. To the many Canadians who say “no compensation – get over it” – I say that financial redress is important and part of the process. Accept it, share in the celebration, and get over it. The United Nations asked Canada in 2004 to make an apology and financial redress, following New Zealand's example.
If we do not make an apology and proper redress, then future generations of multi-racial Canadians, will all be head tax descendants of a Canada that did not want their ancestors, refused to make apology for deliberately racist legislation, and refused to make fair and honourable redress when head tax payers, spouses and descendants were still alive. This would be the legacy and the burden that we would leave to our grandchildren and their grandchildren. Or we can make a proper fair and honourable redress and move on to the healing of our country.