Dim Sum with Olivia Chow in Vancouver
Olivia Chow and Todd Wong (center) with Barry Morley (left) and Mary-Woo Sims (right) – photo Todd Wong Collection
Olivia Chow came to Vancouver, ditched husband Jack Layton, and attended Meena Wong's monthly Dim Sum networking lunch at Rich Ocean Restaurant. Actually, Jack Layton attended the Pride brunch, as Jack and Olivia attend Pride parades across Canada. Meena has known Layton and Chow from her time living in Toronto, and is now continuing to handle communications and community building in Vancouver's Chinese language community for the NDP. I've known Meena since 2002, when soon after arriving in Vancouver, she came to help volunteer for Asian Heritage Month events organized by explorASIAN.
Meena Wong and Olivia Chow addressing 40 people at Rich Ocean restaurant on Saturday- photo Todd Wong
The crowds came out to welcome Olivia to Vancouver. Libby Davies MP for Vancouver East, dropped in to say hello. COPE organizer Mel Lehan and his wife attended. Victor Wong, executive director of the Chinese Canadian National Council was in town. Sid Tan, Sean Gunn and Ron Mah of the Chinese Head Tax Families Society attended. Even Faye Leung dropped in. In all there were about 40 people.
I had a nice chat with Olivia. Meena had seated us at the same table. I knew she would be interested in hearing about the CBC documentary Generations: The Chan Legacy. And she was also very interested to learn more about Gung Haggis Fat Choy – which she would love to attend, if and when I bring my Robbie Burns Chinese New Year dinner to Toronto.
Olivia joins Vancouver's head tax descendants for a picture: standing: ??, Mary, Ron Mah, Olivia Chow, Sid Tan, Faye Leung, Todd Wong; sitting: Sid Wong, Sean Gunn, Victor Wong (executive director of Chinese Canadian National Council) + head tax redress supporter Mary-Woo Sims.
The federal NDP was the first national party to recognize the
importance of redress for Chinese Canadian head tax issue. Olivia
recognized that it was Margaret Mitchell who first brought the issue to
Canadian Parliament in 1984. Olivia also supported the calls for Chinese Head Tax redress, as head tax became an issue in the 2006 federal election. She also supports and inclusive redress that would honour every head tax equally, not just for the surviving head tax payers and their spouses, but also the head tax certificates that were left in the hands of the daughters, sons and grandchildren when the original head tax payers couldn't live to see the federal apology by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.