Head Tax Families Society of Canada to become a non-profit society

Here's a message from my friends at the newly named Head Tax Families Society of Canada. 

B.C. Coalition of Head Tax Payers, Spouses and Descendants is
changing it's name to Head Tax Families Society of Canada and becoming
a non-profit society.

Attached please find petition to the Harper government for a head tax refund based on “one cerificate, one claim” principle.

Please assist us in petitioning the government by printing out the
petition form and having your friends and relatives sign the petition
and mail to the address at the bottom by no later than November 15th,
Thanking you in advance,
Harvey Lee
Head Tax Families Society of Canada.

There is a drive to continue the redress process for the Head Tax against Chineseimmigrants and the Exclusion Act. 

As concerned Canadian citizens we wanted the government to create the fairest redress possible: something that was win-win-win: for the government, for head tax payers and families, and the people of Canada. 

With coalitions, and community members from across Canada, from Victoria B.C on the Pacific Ocean to St. John's New Foundland in the Atlantic Ocean, from Inuvik, N.W.T. in the Arctic Circle to the Southern Ontario shores of Lake Erie – Canadians asked for redress. 

The Chinese Canadian National Council  proposed a 2 step process.  The first step was to immediately apologize for the racist head tax and provide a symbolic compensation package to surviving head tax payers and spouses, and community funding.  The second stage would be to address a package to surviving head tax payer descendants, where the original head tax payer or spouse is predeceased.

The Conservative Government followed through on step one, but has ignored step two.  They have only addressed the head tax payments of surviving head tax payers and spouses.  Anybody who died before the Conservatives came to power is “shit-out-of-luck.”  This is unfair.  This penalizes those who worked hard, and died early, because they had to pay off the eqivalent of two years salary, or the price of a house, just to be allowed entry into Canada, when any other race than Chinese could come in Free of Charge. 

When our representatives met with Jason Kenney, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister,  they told stories of the hardships, and introduced him to surviving head tax payers, spouses , sons and daughters.  Kenney honestly did not realize that the head tax payers “borrowed” the money to pay the head tax to come to Canada.  Kenney did not know that head tax payers worked many years and years to pay the borrowed money – sometimes to family and village members, sometimes to organizations.  But they worked hard and paid it off.  They were not affluent immigrants in 2005, who could easily pay a $1000 landing fee to come to Canada.

The pioneers paid $500 each from 1903, to 1923.  It was the equivalent of a two year salary, or a house – which would today be $100,000 or more!  That's how racist the head tax was.  It was meant to keep Chinese immigrants out of Canada, to keep Canada white, to keep Canada clean from the Asian peril, the Yellow Fever, the Chinese plague. 

If the government charges a tax and then decides it was incorrect, or a mistake – they give a tax refund, with interest.  In 1885, the Canadian government created the first Chinese head tax, charging $50.  When Chinese kept coming, the charge was raised to $100.  When Chinese kept coming, it was raised to $500 in 1903.  In 1923, the Canadian government decided that the Chinese Head Tax was not doing the job of keeping Chinese immigrants from coming to Canada, so they created the Chinese Exclusion Act. In 1947, after WW2, the Canadian government decided that the Chinese Exclusion Act was wrong, and rescinded it.  But they never gave an apology, nor refunded the head tax…. when repeatedly asked…. until June 22nd, 2006.

Today, the equivalent of $500 from 1903 with compound interest, would be between $200,000 to $300,000.  The Head Tax coalitions across Canada recommended a “symbolic compensation figure,” – not asking for full refund + compound interest.

One certificate – one payment.  It's fair and simple.

Not – one payment per certificate, if you or your spouse is still alive.  One person said that would be the equivalent of saying to First Nations people.  “We are sorry we stole your land, and put your people on reserves.  We will give compensation only to people who are still alive when it was done.  Too bad they all died
now, and couldn't live past 120 years to enjoy today..
… Please don't blame us, we only just formed the Government.”
(please see the 1967 speech by Chief Dan George on Canada Day, given at Empire Stadium in Vancouver). 

We know that generations have suffered in First Nations culture because of the move to reservations, and because of residential schools.  We know that generations have suffered because Japanese Canadians were interned and their property was confiscated.  And we know that generations of Chinese have suffered due to unfair racism, and economic disadvantage due to the Chinese Head Tax and Chinese Exclusion Act.  It is the descendants of the original head tax payers that carry on despite the adversity and continue to build and love this country called Canada.  We love Canada despite its racist history because we care for its future.

One certificate – One payment – It's only fair.

Please sign and circulate the attached petition.


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