Canada Day in Chinatown: ceremonies + head tax redress march
Albert Woo, Todd Wong and Col. Howe
Lee hold certificates created by Chinese Canadian Military Museum,
recognizing Head Tax Apology by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the
Government of Canada – photo courtesy of Todd Wong
It was a bittersweet Canada Day in Chinatown on July 1st, Saturday.
The Chinese Cultural Centre courtyard was filled with formal ceremony
organized by the Chinese Benevolent Association, Chinese Cultural
Centre and the veterans of the Chinese Canadian Military Museum.
This was the first time I had attended Canada Day ceremonies in
Vancouver's Chinatown. Usually I have attended events at Canada
Place, Granville Island or North Vancouver. The cake only had
Chinese writing on it (so much for Canada's two official
languages). My Grand-Uncle Dan was part of the flag raising
ceremonial crew for the Chinese Canadian veterans, Unit 280.
The veterans raised the Canadian Flag, Chinese lions danced, Chinese
dancers from the Vancouver Academy of Dance performed. VIP's
included MLA Jenny Kwan and MP Libby Davies, as well as MP Ujjal Dosanjh, MLA Richard
Lee, city councillors George Chow and Elizabeth Ball.
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While outside the courtyard on Pender Street, leaders of the BC
Coalition of Head Tax Payers, Spouses and Descendants met with members
of the Chinese Community who were disatisfied with the Conservative
government's Chinese Head Tax redress package that failed to include
financial compensation to head tax descendants where the original head
tax payers and spouses were pre-deceased.
Harvey Lee and Cynthia Lee with head
tax descendant holding an actual head tax certificate, in front of the
Chinese Cultural Centre on Canada Day – photo Todd Wong
Here is a news article from CKNW
VANCOUVER/CKNW(AM980) – Canada Day is a day of
celebration for most Canadians, but some Chinese-Canadians were protesting
the Conservative government's deal for families of people who paid the
Chinese head tax.
Coalition of Head Tax Payers, Spouses and Descendents is angry at the
Conservative government. They say the feds redress agreement for the Chinese
head tax only affects families where the tax payer or spouse is still alive.
Organizer Sid Tan says the group held a walk in Vancouver Saturday to protest.
believe that all head tax familes are equal. That
is, the government should not be rewarded for dragging its feet for 22 years,
albeit saving tax payers a heck of a lot of money,” Tan said.
redress is expected to be complete July 1st, 2007.
Part of the 70+ crowd that marched in Chinatown, who are dissatisfied
with the Federal government's Chinese Head Tax Redress package – photo
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See more pictures from Head Tax Redress March in Chinatown on Canada Day
No One is Illegal group supporting Head Tax Redress March – Pasha (centre) with Sid Tan (right) – photo Todd Wong