The Head Tax issue isn't going away….
I was interviewed by CBC Radio's Jackie Wong Sunday morning, only hours after I posted my blog article. Jackie informs me that: “There is a clip with comment from Sid and a voicer with you and Sid on
the head tax application deadline set to air on CBC radio news tomorrow
morning. Newscasts are on the hour, I believe.”
Sid Tan will be interviewed live on CBC Radio's Early Edition at 6:15am and CTV Canada
AM at 7:00am
Sid also writes that there is a mistake in the article below:
“There are 150 people in hopper for approval. How could anyone know how many eligible claimants have not
Take care. anon Sid
Time is up for victims of Chinese head tax to apply for sympathy
By Marco Morelli – THE CANADIAN PRESS
VANCOUVER _ With the deadline looming Monday, many Chinese Canadians
who were forced to pay Canada's controversial head tax in the early
1900s have not applied for a federal redress payment.
There could be up to 150 people who have not yet applied for the
$20,000 payment, said Victor Wong, executive director of the Chinese
Canadian National Council.
“We've been doing some outreach to try and get those people to
apply,'' Wong said.
It's taken a long time to get the word out to people, especially
because most of them are seniors or living in rural Canada, he said.
Sid Chow Tan, president of the Head Tax Families Society of Canada,
said he once had to physically take a woman down to get some of her
documents notorized to make sure her application would get approved.
Monday marks the application deadline for people looking to collect
the compensation payment promised to them by the federal government.
Wong said the council had spoken with the government to extend the
deadline for a few more months, but he is unsure if they will get
In 2006, Prime Minister Stephen Harper made an official apology to the
Chinese community for the injustice.
“For over six decades, these malicious measures, aimed solely at the
Chinese, were implemented with deliberation by the Canadian state,''
the prime minister said in his speech.
“This was a grave injustice and one we are morally obligated to
Since the announcement, over 650 living Chinese head-tax payers,
spouses and people who were in a relationship with a Chinese head-tax
payer have come forward across the country to claim the compensation.
Wong said he suspects there are many more applications as many as
150 already in progress.
Although the federal government has been offering the payments to
anyone who was an actual head-tax payer or a spouse, Wong said the
payments do not include another 3,000 families whose relatives have
“We are still pressing the government to include those families to
the redress announcement,'' he said.
Tan echoed Wong.
“While 82,000 Chinese paid the head tax, the federal government's
package provides no direct compensation to head-tax families without a
surviving head-tax payer or a surviving spouse of a head-tax payer,''
“The issue is closure with respect and dignity for Chinese head-tax
families and all Canadians.
“This begins when the government recognizes the redress is incomplete
and undertakes good-faith negotiations with representatives of
excluded head-tax families,'' Tan said.
In 1885, to restrict the immigration of Chinese people to Canada, the
federal government introduced a bill requiring a $50 payment from
anyone of Chinese origin entering the country.
In the early 1900s, the tax was increased to $500, the equivalent of
two years worth of wages for a Chinese labourer for the Canadian
Pacific Railway at the time.
Despite the head tax, over 82,000 Chinese people emigrated to Canada
between 1885 and 1923.
Then, in 1923, the federal government passed the Chinese Immigration
Act excluding all Chinese people from entering Canada until the act
was repealed in 1947.
Len Westerberg, spokesman for Heritage Canada, the civil servant in
charge of issuing the compensation, said the deadline is not going to
But “if someone was unable to apply for reasons beyond their control,
the Minister of Canadian Heritage can exercise her discretion and
accept an application received after the deadline,'' Westerberg said.
“Monday is only the deadline for receiving applications, so anything
that's in process will still be processed,'' he said.
Heritage Canada requires photo identification, proof of Canadian
citizenship, proof of permanent residency, a death certificate of a
tax victim for those applying on behalf of their spouse and a head-tax
certificate number to accompany an application form.